Is not every day of our lives in reality, such a time as this? God is in control of time, and when He is in control of us, as Corrie ten Boom was so fond of quoting “My times are in His hands” (Psalms 31:15). Is this true? Do I believe it? If I believe it with my head, then it is only true in theory. When I believe it with my heart, then I have moved from believing in God to believing God. How does it move from my head to my heart? Only by walking through “times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9).
Even though God is not necessarily spoken of directly in the book of Esther, His essence is all over the book. “One of the most important evidences of Providence in the book of Esther is time” (Beth Moore, p. 128). Because God’s timing is absolutely perfect, we see His behind-the-scenes providence moving in and out of the pages of this story and it can be none other than our great God, orchestrating the spectacular events frozen in the moments of time in these lives. We see Him hidden, for example, behind the mentions of the “third day,” a hidden picture of Christ throughout the Tanach. In the Jewish Midrash commentaries, the “third day” meant God would put them in dire distress for two days and on the third day they are relieved. Consider the use of this “third day” throughout Scripture. Genesis 22:4; Jonah in the belly of the whale for three days; Hosea 6:2; Ex. 19:11; and many other instances, all reflect this hidden meaning of some type of deliverance on the third day. In the New Testament, the third day comes to fulfillment in Christ, who suffered death and hell until the “third day” when He was raised up victorious—and we, believers, were raised up with Him on that same third day and “seated in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
God’s timing is critical to the story in Esther. The decree to have all the Jews in Persia annihilated was written up by Haman on the eve of Passover, the anniversary of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt centuries earlier. Satan was defeated by the shed blood of the lamb’s covering on the doorposts of those Jews and his retaliation shows up again and again. We see his malignant hatred of the Jews in his protégés Pharaoh, Haman, Herod, Hitler and now in our current day the name changes once again—ironically back in Persia—to Ahmadinejad. The name changes throughout history, but the character does not—it is none other than Satan, operating through his servants and his plan has never changed since the judgment was placed upon him in the garden—the “seed of the woman” Christ Jesus, a Jew, would crush his head. It wouldn’t surprise me if this same scenario which has played out down the years in history, has fallen on the anniversary of this very crucial feast day of Passover..
Esther was faced with a decision: Keep silent while listening to the wails and mourning of her people throughout the land of Persia and face her own death with them the following year; or face death immediately by coming into the presence of the King without being summoned.
“If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
Timing was critical to her decision to approach her husband the king, whether she knew it or not. With her famously quoted words, “If I perish, I perish,” she had surrendered herself; she had crucified her flesh and resigned herself to death, and in that surrender, God was now in full control of her decisions and the timing of those decisions. How often in my life have events been kicked into action the moment I surrendered my own agenda and my own life to Him? What does God’s perfect timing look like in my life? Can I trace it backwards and find every season of my life to be in His perfect time? “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11).
Eccl. 3: 1, 7 remind us that there is a “time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” In this season and activity in Esther’s life, on the “third day” she put on her royal robes. She determined in her heart after a distressing two days of fasting and prayer, to approach the king. When she finally approached this king she did not dress seductively to appeal to his flesh. She did not come as a common beggar. She dressed in her royal robes—she dressed as his queen. She was not his mistress, she was his Queen! She had on her royal robes—she had the right to be there. We are King Jesus’ Bride—His Queen! We have an approachable King. Heb. 4:16 tells us to “come boldly to the throne of grace,” how is this possible? Because we are His Queen—we are wearing His royal robes of His righteousness.
She approached meekly, humbly, but boldly, and then she reached out, and touched the tip of the King’s golden scepter. Beth Moore quotes commentator Karen Jobes’ beautiful insight into this perfectly timed moment in history “The Cross-shaped scepter has been held out to us, but we have to touch it.” This frozen moment in time is a picture of Christ, holding out to the world His cross-shaped scepter, but we must touch it. The cross must touch us personally and throughout our growth into the deeper life in Christ, we touch it again and again every time we choose to be crucified to some part of our flesh and to put on our royal robes and walk into the next level of our growth. We are instantly saved the first time we reach out and touch the cross-shaped scepter (Ephesians 2:8), but we are continually “being saved” through the process of dying to self and living in Christ; that is called “sanctification.”
Waiting. Don’t think for a moment that the two days of fasting and preparation for Esther was a walk in the park. The wait was agonizing. But in the waiting, God was not inactive. “Whenever He calls on us to wait—something is up” (Beth Moore). This means everything to me personally right now. For two years I have been waiting for an answer from God concerning a painful family matter. At times it has felt that He has forgotten or has not heard. Two years—the irony does not escape me now.
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary,They shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).
“He will renew your strength. Waiting is exhausting. “Our strength will be depleted when we are waiting on an event! When we wait on the Lord, our strength will be renewed” (Beth Moore). That insight from Beth Moore was a fresh water revelation to me! I become exhausted in waiting when I am focusing on the event for which I am waiting! Only when my focus is on Jesus, will my strength be renewed!
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry (Habakkuk 2:3).
The vision is for an appointed time (Hebrew: “a fixed time or season; specifically, a festival”).
Wait (Hebrew: “entrench yourself”) for it!
Though it tarry, (Hebrew: “lingers”) it will come!
Because it will surely come, it will not tarry (Hebrew: “be late”).
God is never late!