God Save the Queen

Read: Esther 4

And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (v. 14)

News of the death edict seems to have spread everywhere except inside the palace. Esther is oblivious to it when she sends to see why Mordecai is sitting outside the palace gates in sackcloth and ashes.

Mordecai does not mince words. The message he sends must have electrified Esther. Not only are her people condemned to die, but Mordecai seems to want her to accelerate her own death sentence by sending her to the king uninvited.

Mordecai’s response to her request for clarification has been quoted for more than two millennia. “Who knows?” he hints in verse fourteen. “Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for such a time as this.” If Esther had known the hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” she would surely have sung it then. And all of us could take heart from William Cowper’s wonderful words:

O fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

William Cowper, 1774

The chapter closes with Esther rising to the dangerous occasion to which God has called her. Wisely, she prepares with prayer. —Carol Bechtel

As you pray, in such a time as this, ask God for courage to hear his call clearly and to act according to his will.

About the Author

The Rev. Dr. Carol Bechtel is Professor of Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan where she has taught since 1994. Dr. Bechtel preaches and teaches widely and is a General Synod Professor of Theology in the Reformed Church in America. She served as President of the RCA’s General Synod and moderator of its General Synod Council. She also serves as the Executive Director of the American Waldensian Society. Her publications include a commentary on Esther for the Interpretation series, and several Bible study books and curricula.

She now lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband, Tom Mullens. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Her hobbies include singing, cooking, gardening, and the Celtic harp.