Opportunity and Circumstance

The circumstance in which Esther acquired the position of queen was unique and unusual for us today. It happened that when King Ahasuerus’ heart was merry with wine, he commanded his eunuchs to bring in his wife, Queen Vashti with her royal crown, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was fair to behold (1:10-11). Queen Vashti refused the King’s order and was severely punished with divorce. That’s when Esther comes in the picture. After it was all over, King Ahasuerus remembered his wife and the sentence decreed against her. He then was advised to appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins and let the maiden who pleases him be queen in place of Vashti. When Esther’s turn came, she pleases the king because she required nothing but what the king’s attendant suggested. That was pleasing to the king and Esther was chosen for the position of queen (chapter 2).

She kept from revealing her nationality as suggested by Mordecai, for some reason. I suppose being a captive Jew was not a good thing to reveal in those days and place. After the celebration of the new queen, when a feast was given her, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, an enemy of the Jews above all the princes who were with him. His hatred for the Jews, especially for Mordecai for not bowing to him, caused him to write a decree to destroy all those who did not keep the king’s laws to be destroyed. That, of course, was directed to the Jewish people. The king authorized it with his signet ring the decree to destroy the Jews who lived in the province and beyond. Aware of Haman’s plan, Mordecai rent his clothes and put on sackcloth with ashes and went out into the midst of the city and cried with a loud and bitter cry. He came and stood before the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. When Esther became aware of his behavior, she pleaded with him to change his clothes and sent him new garments to do so, but he refused. He knew something that Queen Esther didn’t. He sent her Haman’s decree to destroy the Jews and asked her to plead with the king for the lives of her people. Now Esther found herself between breaking the king’s law and being killed as a result, for the sake of saving her lives of her people, or do nothing about it and be safe, at least for a while (Esther 3-4).

Mordecai, however, let her know that her life was just as in danger as the rest of the Jews. He pleaded with her saying, If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?  (Esther 3-4).  What to do at that moment was a question that she had to answer her cousin, Mordecai. She however, decided to lean on prayer and fasting for the solution of the problem.  A wise idea she was compensated for. For three days she and her maids with her and the Jews fasted day and night, they ate neither food, nor drink. (Esther 4:15-17).

The warning Mordecai gave Esther resounded deeply in her soul. She now understood that her position of queen was for the purpose to save her people. So she decided that it was going to be her life for the lives of her people. On the third day of the fast she dressed on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace opposite his throne. That was the moment of either acceptance or punishment toward her. She was ready to die for her people. “If I die, I die.”

The opportunity rose for her in circumstance not expected. From captivity to queen, she was elevated above all. Not in a million years did she expect persecution in that position. Her waiting at the inner court of the king’s palace brought her hope, when he showed her favor by holding out to her his golden scepter. I am sure she took a deep breath of relief (Esther 5).

She invited the king and Haman to dinner without revealing her reason for standing in his presence, until the second invitation when the king asked her, what is your petition, Queen Esther? She then said, If I have found favor in your sight, O king and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition and my people at my request. For we are sold, I and my people to destroyed, slain, and wiped out of existence! But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I would have held my tongue, for out affliction is not to be compared with the damage this will do to the king. Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, Who is he, and where is he who dares presume in his heart to do that? And Esther said, An adversary and an enemy, even this wicked Haman. Haman was hanged on the gallows he had made for Mordecai (Esther 5-7).

The uncertainty of circumstances did not keep Queen Esther from risking her life for the lives of her people. A timely opportunity was presented to her when the cries of many in desperation depended on her. Who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion? (5:14b). Esther’s opportunity involved many people. Had her turned her head the other way, disaster would had come even to her.

Opportunity and circumstances walk hand in hand and many times good can come out of even bad circumstances if our focus is on others, and not on ourselves. Women who have been raped suffered circumstance that will affect them for the rest of their lives. When that experience leads to “non-wanted pregnancy,” then opportunity steps in either to save the life of their child, or have him aborted and killed. Their life for the life of their child is the focus of the decision they must make.  Only by supernatural strength can a woman live with the memory of her circumstance she would rather forget. The sacrificial decision to keep the child alive in her womb requires an unconditional love- a love that can only come from above. God’s creation will always be God’s creation in His eyes no matter the circumstance in which it happened. He will always be for the decision of the life of the unborn child, and not for the destruction of him, for God has plans for every life that is conceived (Ps. 139). A woman that makes the decision to give life to her child is a woman who has agreed with God’s plan. How many “non-wanted babies” whose mothers gave them the chance to live have become great servants of God and are influencing and touching many lives today? Many we do not know and a few that we know are standing tall confirming that life comes from God.

Opportunities in good or bad circumstances are always available to be taken; lives of others and even our own future depend on them. Make the most of the opportunities that come to you as a wise and sensible person, understanding the purpose of God’s will for your life that will affect others in good or bad circumstance.

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