Revive Our Hearts Podcast

For Such a Time as This

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss says that like the biblical character Queen Esther, God has a specific purpose for your life.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I don’t care how old you are, what season of life you are. You say, “I’m not this big, great speaker. I don’t have a radio program.”

You don’t need a radio program. God has given you children and grandchildren that I can’t reach. But you can, because God put you here for such a time as this.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Monday, June 16.

If you’ve ever felt like “a nobody,” you’re not alone. The solution isn’t to talk to yourself and convince yourself how special you are. The solution is to discover how special you are to God.

I hope you will discover that as Nancy continues in a series called Esther: God’s Woman at God’s Time.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Today we come to the two most famous verses in the book of Esther. The phrase “For such a time as this”—you’ve heard that phrase. We associate that with Esther. That phrase comes from this passage in chapter 4.

Just to give us a little reminder of where we are and to reset the scene here, the Jewish people are in great trouble. The decree has been sent out that they should all be annihilated. Mordecai is in the public square weeping. The people are fasting and weeping.

Esther has sent a messenger Hathach, one of the eunuchs, to find out what is going on. Mordecai has sent a message back to Esther, “You need to speak to the king and plead for the lives of your people.” Esther has sent a message back saying, “I’ll die. No one can approach the king without being invited to come. My life is at stake. There’s no way I can do this. I’m helpless to do anything about this.”

“Then Mordecai,” verse 13 (and this is where we pick up in chapter 4)

Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (verses 13-14).

He said, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews.” Mordecai reminds Esther that she too is a Jew and that if the Jewish people perish she will perish too, that her life is at risk whether she does or doesn’t go into the king.

It is a reminder to us as believers that we cannot separate our identity as individual believers from that of the whole Body of Christ. We are in this together. If God’s people are in trouble, we’re in trouble. I’m in trouble. You’re in trouble. If other’s people’s marriages or their kids are in trouble, that should concern us. We can’t just isolate ourselves in our evangelical churches or our homeschool environments and think that we will remain unaffected by what’s going on in the rest of the Body of Christ.

You are one with all other believers throughout the entire world. We ought to sink or swim together. If you try to live to yourself you will experience the consequences.

Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish (verse 14).

Mordecai knows the covenant promises of God to His people going back to Abraham. I think he believes that God will send deliverance from some means, from some quarter, from some place. He trusts that it will be through the king and that it will be upon Esther’s intervention. But he knows that deliverance will come with or without Esther.

It’s an expression of faith. He says, “Relief and deliverance will come. God is not going to allow His people to be wiped out. God will not forget His covenant with Abraham. With or without you, God will prevail.”

That reminds us that God doesn’t need us. God doesn’t need me to accomplish His purposes in this world. God doesn’t need you. He can fulfill His purposes with our without us. We’re not indispensable. God can send someone else to reach your neighborhood, someone else to reach your kid’s friends from broken homes, someone else to win your unbelieving mate to faith in Christ. God can send someone else to create a hunger and a thirst in your church for revival.

If we waste the opportunities God gives us, He will do it without us. His kingdom will come. His will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. But if we waste and squander those opportunities, those who come behind us (I think) will hold us in dishonor. In some way we will reap consequences even though the people of God will be delivered.

We can all look back and see wasted opportunities to be involved in furthering the kingdom of Christ in this world. We had a chance to share Christ with that friend but we never did it before they went out into a Christless eternity. We kept silent.

We had a chance to train our kids in the ways of God, but we were too consumed with sports and music lessons and homework. Now those kids are grown, and they don’t have a heart and a hunger for God.

You had a chance to love and serve your mate, but you were too consumed with your job, your happiness, your desire to be served. Now he’s left. He’s married to another woman.

If you keep silent, relief and deliverance will rise, but you and your father’s house will perish”  (verse 14).

You see there is a time when silence is not golden. “If you keep silent at this time . . .”

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us, “For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven. . . . A time to keep silence and a time to speak” (verses 1 and 7).

It’s important that we learn the difference, that we discern when it’s time to speak and when it’s time to be silent. Our natural tendency—am I right about this?—is to speak when we should be silent and to be silent when we should speak. We get it mixed up.

It takes wisdom. It takes discernment to know the difference. It takes self control to be quiet when it’s time to be quiet. It takes courage to speak when it’s time to speak, to do the right thing at the right time.

“If you keep silent at this time . . .” I’ve meditated on that phrase as I’ve been studying this whole book and preparing for this series. I just think about a lot of the things that are going on today in the church, where it’s easier to just be silent. You don’t want to make waves—you don’t want to rock the boat.

I picked up a well-known Christian magazine, a women’s magazine, while I was preparing for this. The cover feature article is about a well- known Christian entertainer defending divorce and in a way that was kind of subtle.

But it was a featured article—someone who is still being widely used in the Christian world defending why they got their divorce and now “having a ministry” encouraging divorced people not to repent, and not really saying that divorce is okay, but saying if you’re the victim then there is hope—it’s a very mixed message.

I thought, “Who can even address this today?” I mean, that’s the whole way of the church. That’s the way the church thinks today. If you open your mouth, you’re going to get chewed up and spit out. I mean, that’s the way you feel.

I went into this ministry of Revive Our Hearts knowing there were some things we had to speak about and knowing that if I did (on women’s issues, on the woman’s role and things we said earlier in this series about women and submission to authority and to their husband) knowing that if I said some of those things that I would be like a salmon swimming upstream against the current in the church all my life.

I’m not a warrior at heart. I don’t like making waves. I would much rather be silent and just do it right myself, just make right choices and love God and love people. But you don’t love people if you keep silent when it’s time to speak.

This phrase “If you keep silent at this time,” came to my mind as I was in a conversation recently with a mom who, without thinking, had her children reading the series of Harry Potter books. As I was listening, I knew: Here’s a mom who loves her kids, who wants to train them in God’s ways, who’s committed to being a godly parent, but who had not thought through and did not understand some of the issues involved in that kind of reading material and the affect that it has on children.

I realize that as I’m saying this, I’m speaking to some Harry Potter fans. I understand that you may not understand what the issues are. But there are some clear biblical issues involved here.

Everything in me wanted to just be silent, to say, “I don’t want to wreck a friendship here. I don’t want to stir waves. It’s not my kids. I’m not responsible for her kids.” The phrase kept coming to mind: “If you keep silent at this time.” I’m thinking, “Do I love this mom and other moms like her? Do I really care about how their kids turn out?” Well, yes I do, and God gave me the grace—graciously, kindly, compassionately. I didn’t attack her. I just asked some questions.

Here’s a mom who is now thinking about this and maybe making some different decisions. I’m not responsible for how she decides. I’m not responsible for how she raises her children. But I am responsible—and so are you—to speak the truth about the Word of God and not to be silent when lives can be at stake.

I was picturing what these young minds might be thinking down the road that is not biblical and perhaps could jeopardize their soul. I couldn’t be silent. I didn’t have to be ugly. I could be gracious, but I could not be silent.

There are other things that we can’t be silent about. This issue of women disrespecting their husbands, of broken relationships, of bitterness and anger and hatred. We can’t be silent when we have friends who are living in the throes of bitterness. We can’t be silent in this sexually permissive era with our young people and our Christians in our churches, who don’t know what’s wrong with sleeping together. We can’t be silent.

God’s not asking you to speak about everything. But He is asking us to recognize when He has put us in a position to make a difference and to do something about it—even when it doesn’t seem possible, even when it doesn’t seem prudent.

Moms, your daughter may not be your best friend when she’s fourteen and you’re saying to her, “I cannot be silent about this. This is not a right relationship. This is not a healthy influence. This is not modest clothing.”

God didn’t ask you to be her best friend at that moment. But if you are silent and you let her and you let your family just drift and flow with the culture—I’m telling you the time will come when you will be weeping not over repentance and humility but out of shame and reproach and frustration because your child is now a woman and is reaping the consequences of those choices.

Moms you cannot be silent. God’s not asking you to be shrews. He’s not asking you to be God in your kid’s lives, but to represent the truth to your children, to your friends, and in our culture.

Let me take us back for a moment, to this whole subject of the providence of God. “Who knows but that you have come to this kingdom, this place, for such a time as this?”

Mordecai is saying there is in the providence of God a meeting up of you and this position, this place and this time. It’s all come together, and it’s not by chance. It’s not by chance that you are where you are today at this time, at this place. The providence of God—it’s always at work even when you can’t see it.

The providence of God is always perfectly timed. God is never in a hurry, and He’s never late. Some of you are waiting for God to move, and you’re thinking, “It feels late to me. How come He’s not doing anything?” He is doing something. He is moving. He’s at work, and His timing is perfect. In the providence of God, there is no such thing as an accident. There’s no such thing as chance. There’s no such thing as luck. In the providence of God, God is always in charge.

In chapters 1 and 2 of Esther, it looks like Xerxes is in charge. In chapters 3 and 4 it looks Haman is in charge. They think they are. But even when they appear to be in charge, God is still in charge. In the providence of God, because all these other things are true, there is never ever any need for panic, for fear, for worry, or for doubt.

Now do we do those things? Yes. Do we have any reason to do those things? Humanly speaking, yes. But if we understand and believe and grasp and embrace the providence of God, we will recognize that there is never any good cause, any justified cause, for fear or for panic.

As you think about your life and the providence of God, think about what God has given you: the privileges, the blessings, salvation. When a billion people or more on this planet have never heard the name of Jesus, it’s in God’s providence that you came to hear the Gospel—that you were brought to faith in Christ, that you have a knowledge of God’s Word.

The abilities you have, the influence you have, the material resources you have—those are all gifts and a stewardship from God in His providence. God entrusted those experiences, those opportunities, those blessings to you as a steward so that you will serve Him and use them to further His kingdom here on earth.

All those blessings we enjoy. They’re not for our happiness, not for our satisfaction, not for our pleasure. They’re for God’s glory for such a time as this. The home you were born into, the opportunities that you’ve had, the culture that you live in, the era that you live in—it’s all according to the providence of God and for the purposes of God and His kingdom.

You are not in the position you are in by accident. “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom,” the kingdom where God has placed you, the set of circumstances where God has placed you, even if you are where you are, as a result of having messed up in life. In God’s providence as you are repentant and broken, God has a place and a purpose for you here and now in His kingdom.

It’s an amazing thing how God’s providence can overrule the losses and the failures caused by our sins. I don’t mean by that to minimize sin in any sense. I’m just saying, “Where would we be if God didn’t redeem hopeless, helpless messes?” That’s what we are apart from Christ. God has put you here for a purpose not just to take up space, to wile your life away. God has a job with your name on it, a purpose, and an intent.

You may think, “I’m not a queen. I’m not in the palace. I don’t have any position of great influence. It’s all I can do to survive homeschooling these kids. I’m just trying to keep my head above water.”

I’m telling you, that’s your kingdom. God has put you there in that home, for such a time as this, with an incredible opportunity that no one else has been given to nurture those children to be followers of Jesus Christ. That’s a big job for such a time as this.

You say, “I’m just a clerk in a store. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have kids.” God put you in that store. That’s your kingdom for such a time as this to represent Him, to represent His kingdom.

You say, “I’m retired. I’m widowed. My kids are scattered across the country. There’s no purpose; there’s no use for my life.” God put you there in that place. That little apartment, that retirement home, that’s your kingdom for such a time as this.

What can you do? You can pray. You can intercede. You can encourage pastors. You can encourage young moms, other widows, with notes, with prayers. God’s got a purpose for you, and it’s not just to wile your life away.

One of the things I so appreciate about my upbringing is that my dad had a vision for his seven children—for us kids to fulfill the purpose that God had for our lives whatever that might be. My dad didn’t know what it was, but he wanted us to fulfill that.

He gave us a vision that we could be used by God, that God had a purpose for our lives. It was individual, it was special, it was for us and we were to fulfill that purpose. He gave me a vision, long before I ever heard of Revive Our Hearts, long before I was doing conferences, long before we started a radio program. God entrusted through my parents to me, a vision that my life had been brought to God’s kingdom for such a time as this.

I have believed for years and years, since I was a little girl, that God put me here in this world, in this country, in this place, and now in this ministry of Revive Our Hearts for such a time as this.

Is it hard? Yes, sometimes it’s very hard. Is it lonely? Yes, sometimes it’s very lonely. Sometimes you think, “Am I the only person on the planet who’s concerned about these issues, who carries these things on my heart?”

But that’s not what it’s about. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. Do I feel overwhelmed sometimes with the tide of evil and what it’s going to take to overcome that? Yes, I do.

But it’s not about how I feel. I don’t care how old you are, what season of life you are. You say, “I’m not this big, great speaker. I don’t have a radio program.” You don’t need a radio program. God’s given you children and grandchildren that I can’t reach. But you can because God put you here for such a time as this.

I’ve been put here in this place. You’ve been put in your place. I’ve been put here at this time. You’ve been put here at this time for such a time as this to bring God glory. Don’t say—don’t think, “I don’t have anything to offer. My life doesn’t really count.”

Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “Though you be no better than a mere cipher [that’s a zero], yet the Lord can make something of you. Set one before a zero and it is a ten immediately. Let two or three zeros combine to serve the Lord and if the Lord heads them these nothings become tens of thousands. Who knows what you can do?”

God chooses and uses nobodies. He infuses them with His grace and His power and He uses them in mighty ways:

  • A little shepherd boy becomes the psalmist king of Israel and through him comes the Messiah.
  • A Moabite widow becomes an ancestress of the Savior.
  • A redeemed harlot becomes instrumental in the children of Israel conquering the city of Jericho.
  • An orphan girl in a foreign land becomes a queen who saves the lives of millions of Jews.
  • A teenage virgin gives birth to the Savior of the world.

Who would have thought it? Who could have planned it? Who but God? Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Leslie Basham: I hope you’ll continue figuring out the purposes God has for you in your unique situation. Stay with us all week, as Nancy Leigh DeMoss continues this practical study of the book of Esther.

She’ll be right back, but let me mention thousands of women have made plans to find out the purpose God has for them, their unique purpose as women. They’re already signed up for True Woman ’08, the conference in the Chicago area October 9-11.

I hope you’ll be there too, hearing from solid speakers like Dr. John Piper, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Mary Kassian, Joni Eareckson Tada and many others. You’ll attend workshops tailored to your interests and season of life. You’ll enjoy the worship of Keith and Kristyn Getty, and you’ll be challenged to live as a counter-cultural woman, showing the world what a true woman really is. Get details on True Woman ’08 by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com.

A few minutes ago, Nancy invited you to write and tell us what you think about the program and this series. You can send us an email, by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. Throughout the series, Esther: God’s Woman at God’s Time, Nancy’s been talking about trusting God’s providence. Does that mean you should just sit back and do nothing? Be back tomorrow to hear more about that. Here’s Nancy to wrap things up.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: My earnest prayer is that you will not just hear what I’ve said but that you will receive it and that God will cause these words to penetrate deep into the heart and the soul of every listener.

Would you just take a moment and agree with God about what He has said to us from His Word? Say, “Lord, thank You, for Your providence in my life. Thank You for where You’ve put me as hard a place as it may be. Thank You for the kingdom You’ve put me into—my upbringing, my family, my roots, my background—and the place where you have me now. Thank You, that You have put me there for such a time as this.”

Then, ask the Lord to help you be faithful in fulfilling that purpose, whatever it may be, to give you courage and faith to cling to Him, to be His instrument in this time and in this place.

Lord, our prayer is that You will be glorified through our lives in every place where you find us, for such a time as this. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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