The words quoted in our title above were spoken by Mordecai to the queen of the Medo-Persian Empire. That woman, of course, was his cousin, a lovely woman by the name of Hadassah, better known to Bible students as Esther (Esther 2:7).
What is the background and setting of Mordecai’s statement to Esther? Esther had become queen of the mighty Medo-Persian Empire after the king, Ahasuerus (known in history as “Xerxes”), had removed the former queen, Vashti. A man in the king’s service by the name of Haman “sought to destroy all the Jews” (Esther 3:6). Haman was able to persuade the king to sign a decree which called for all the Jews in his kingdom to be put to death on a certain day (3:8-14).
When Mordecai learned of the king’s decree, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and “cried out with a loud and bitter cry” (4:1). Why was Mordecai so distraught? Because he was a Jew, just as Queen Hadassah was. Because of her high position of authority, he turned to cousin Hadassah for help. Surely there was something which she could do to save the Jews from being slaughtered.
After Mordecai informed Esther of Haman’s plot to exterminate the Jews, he sent this message as a follow up, appealing to her to take action on behalf of her people:
Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
In summary, Mordecai’s reasoning went like this: (1) Esther, if you do not do something, by law you will be killed just like the rest of the Jews; (2) Esther, if you do not do something, then the Jews still will be delivered – by someone other than you; (3) Esther, maybe you have been elevated to the position of queen just for this occasion.
Are you aware that in the book of Esther, there is no reference to God? It is true – the words “Lord” and “God” are nowhere to be found in this book, nor is there any mention of prayer or worship. Interesting. Yet, we can see the providence of God at work in the events that are recorded. In the word “providence,” note the word “provide.” God’s providence is His care, providing for, His children in a non-miraculous way. In Psalm 55:22 it is written, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” God sustains and cares for His people.
What was Esther’s response to Mordecai’s passionate appeal? She told him, “I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish I perish” (4:16). What courage! She knew that there was a risk involved, because if the king did not raise his scepter to receive a visitor, that meant death for the one seen as an intruder (4:11). For the good of others, Esther was willing to go before the king, demonstrating a spirit of self-sacrifice.
We are convinced that when Mordecai said to his cousin, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this,” he was referring to the providence of God. He knew the danger in which the Jews found themselves, but he also believed that they would be delivered. As queen, Esther definitely had “come to the kingdom.” Of all the Jews, she was the one who was in the most influential position. Maybe, cousin Esther, the Lord has raised you up to be a blessing to His people, just like He raised up Joseph in Egypt and He raised up Daniel in the governments of the Babylonians and Medo-Persians. Our God can do great things through His servants!
We are reminded of Paul’s statement to Philemon, whose runaway slave, Onesimus, had been converted, and Paul was ready to send him back to Philemon, now not just a slave, but a beloved brother. What did Paul say about the developments in Onesimus’ life? “For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever” (Philemon 15). “Perhaps,” said Paul, this all happened for a reason – providence.
Brethren, the church needs members like Mordecai – people who are convinced that God is in control of things and who are ready to exhort others to take action.
Brother or sister, ask yourself: “Have I come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” The situations that you have in your life, maybe the Lord has arranged those blessings for you to be right where you are at this time. How are you using your abilities? How are you using your financial power? How are you using your time and influence? Maybe it is time for you to stand up, step out, and walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7) to take on some new work for the Lord.
Vashti was “out” as queen, replaced by Esther. Mordecai would not bow before Haman, so he hated all the Jews. Haman persuaded the king to sign a Jew-killing decree. Esther, uninvited, went before the king and revealed Haman’s plot. Haman was hanged, Mordecai and Esther were given authority to write a new decree which granted the Jews the right to defend themselves, and, in the end, the Jews were saved. How? By God – His action taken through Esther. Yes, Esther had come to the kingdom for such a time as that, and like Mary, she did what she could when she could do it (Mark 14:8).
— Roger D. Campbell