Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Heavenly Drama

Episode Resources

Learn more about the Esther: Trusting God's Plan Bible study.

Leslie Basham: If you feel like your life lacks meaning, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has a reminder for you.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God has placed you in a place for His kingdom purposes right now, and you say, “My circumstances are not to my liking.” God understands that, but He has a heavenly drama being played out, and you’re a player in it. He has purposes that are big and eternal, and we don’t, at this moment, know what those purposes are. We can’t see them. That’s why we have to trust that they are secure.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for Monday, July 1, 2019.

We live in such interesting times. Do you ever stop to wonder what purpose God has in setting you at this time in history? To help you surrender to Him and His plan, we’re going to bring you a message from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth from one of the True Woman conferences. The theme of this conference was “Now Is the Time.”

Nancy turned to the story of Esther, who was swept up into dramatic events in world history and had to ask, “What is the Lord doing in my life at this time?” Before we get to Nancy’s message on Esther, I want to tell you about a new resource to help you go even deeper in the story.

Revive Our Hearts has produced a series of Bible studies called Women of the Bible. And the latest study in this series has just been released. It’s called Esther: Trusting God’s Plan. We’d like to send you this six-week Bible study when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. To get your copy, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

And to go along with the study, I hope you’ll listen to the new season of the Women of the Bible podcast. Six new episodes are coming out in the coming weeks, exploring the story of Esther. So you could go through the new booklet, and then listen to this podcast as a discussion group. It’s all on video, too, if you’d rather watch. Here’s a short sample of what you’ll hear on the new podcast.

Carrie Gaul: Haman’s life is really just a small part. He’s being used by the Evil One in the Evil One’s plot to keep the Messiah from being born, right? A plot to destroy the Jewish people so that Christ cannot come—which we know is not going to happen, because nothing holds back the hand of God! But it just brings me so much hope, that right there in Esther chapter 3 really is the gospel: that Jesus came, that He came for you and I, and that He’s coming for all of the nations, for all people! He desires that none would perish, but that all would come to repentance!

Leslie: So you have a unique opportunity to study the book of Esther and consider how God may be calling you for such a time as this. Get all the information on the Women of the Bible podcast at ReviveOurHearts.com. Ok, let’s get to Nancy, walking us through the story of Esther.

Nancy: Let me ask you to turn in your Bible to the book of Esther. Now with our theme verse being, “Who knows that you have come into the kingdom for such a time as this,” you knew we had to get to Esther—right? You can’t talk about “now is the time” without taking a look at her life.

I’m going to touch on just some key points. We spent weeks and weeks, I don’t remember how many it was, on Revive Our Hearts, walking verse by verse through the book of Esther. It’s not really so much a series on Esther, because Esther is not the primary character in the book of Esther. The primary character is God, whose name is never mentioned in the book of Esther, but it’s a series on the providence of God in the darkest moments of our lives.

Just by way of a little bit of overview here, let me start in chapter 1, verse 1, to give us the setting of this story. Esther 1, verse 1. Let me ask if you would just stand as I read these four verses, as we give honor to the Word of God.

Now in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces, in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne in Susa, the capital, in the third year of his reign he gave a feast for all his officials and servants. The army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the provinces were before him, while he showed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness for many days, 180 days (vv. 1-4).

Thank you, you may be seated. We could go on, but this gives us just a brief glimpse at a situation. As you describe it, most people would say, “This is a place I would like to be.” We have here a picture of massive, opulent wealth, pomp, circumstance, influence. There’s a festive tone. There’s a gala celebration. There’s everything that your heart could desire. There’s authority, power, rule, money, feasting, parties, celebration, and it goes on and on. There’s no economic crisis here. You see just this splendid picture of the greatness of man. Ahasuerus is the king.

But in this story, as in all of life, and I want you to take this away with you as you go back to your world, there are always two stories going on at the same time. There are always two perspectives, two world views. There is the view, and then there’s the other view. There are two ways at looking at life. There’s the drama that you can see, and then there’s the drama behind the drama. There’s the plot underneath the plot.

The first plot, the first drama, is the visible one, the human drama, the plot on earth. It’s the kingdom of man, and that’s what we saw described in this first paragraph of the book of Esther. It’s the obvious story. It’s the story that takes place in the natural, physical realm, and it often seems to be impressive and powerful.

But you have to keep in mind that it’s not the ultimate story. There’s a story behind the story. You see, the kingdom of man is built on a foundation of self. It showcases the glory of man. That’s what Ahasuerus is doing. But the glory of man, as Scripture tells us, is fleeting; it’s frail. Ahasuerus was building for himself a house of cards, which is what most people in the world are doing today. The kingdom of man is destined to fail. It will crumble. When man builds his own economic system, it’s guaranteed that sooner or later it will crash.

I’m telling you what, it may not all collapse right now, but sooner or later it will, because the kingdom of man will not last. That’s the human plot, the human drama, the human story, but behind the human plot, there is a heavenly drama going on, an unseen story that is always going on in the unseen spiritual realm. It’s the kingdom, not of man, but of God, who is always moving, controlling all events on the earth, and fulfilling His eternal purposes.

Now in the book of Esther, we see the kingdom of man, we see the human drama as it plays out. Ahasuerus is a powerful king. He occupies the highest throne on earth at the time, but at the same time, unseen and not even named in the book of Esther, which I think is indicative of the fact that most people who are living out the human drama have no idea that there is a heavenly drama going on. They are oblivious to realities. You say, “Earth is reality.” No. Earth is a vapor. The reality is what is going on in heaven.

Well, Ahasuerus is on his high and lifted-up throne, thinking he is the king of the world, and God is on His holy throne in heaven, above all earthly kings. Ahasuerus was a godless, ruthless man. In our series on the book of Esther, we talk a lot more about what history tells us about this man. He thinks he runs the world, but the unseen hand of God is moving and working behind the circumstances to accomplish God’s purposes.

Now in chapter 1, most of you are familiar with the story, so I won’t go through all the details, but there’s the human drama in which Ahasuerus’ Queen, Queen Vashti, is deposed. She’s no longer the queen. Now fast forward four years, and you come to chapter 2. The king sets out to find a replacement for his queen. In the meantime, he’s had this amazing campaign in Greece. He comes back, and he remembers that he threw out his wife, so he decides he needs another one.

At this point in chapter 2, we’re introduced to a Jewish girl named Esther. Both her parents had died, and she was being raised by an older cousin named Mordecai. Through a whole series of circumstances, Esther is taken into the king’s harem, into the king’s palace, the king’s custody, and we have a long process that leads us to verse 17 of chapter 2.

The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he sat the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

So Esther is crowned the First Lady of Persia.

Now, thinking about the human drama, the kingdom of man, in some people’s eyes, this would have been considered a great honor for Esther, a boost for her self-esteem, an accomplishment that she could be proud of, a successful career path, if you will. She’s gone from a nobody to the queen in rapid succession. On the other hand, still thinking of the human drama, you could feel sorry for Esther because she’s not exactly living a life that most of us would envy. Her family had been carried away from their homeland as captives; she’d been orphaned; her “fate” was to marry. “Fate”—I’d put that in parenthesis, there’s no such thing as fate, but in the human drama, they don’t believe in providence, they believe in happenstance. From a human perspective, we could say, “She got a bum deal,” by having to marry a proud, unbelieving, angry, arrogant man.

You say, “Well, she’s the queen.” But she’s still married to that angry, arrogant, unbelieving man, and if you think about what happened to her predecessor, her position is not exactly secure. That’s the human drama, the kingdom of man.

Now behind that and above that, unseen, we have the heavenly drama being played out, the kingdom of God. In that drama, in that kingdom, it doesn’t really matter whether you think Esther is a success or she got a bum deal. The fact is, the story is not really about Esther’s success or her misfortune at all. There’s a bigger picture here. The story is about God and His agenda, His aims, His purposes. What is God up to? Esther, as with all of us, is just a player—not the star, but a player in God’s heavenly drama. Ultimately, it was God who put Esther in that position. This was about Him. She was placed in that palace by God for His kingdom purposes, which—remember this—at that point were totally unknown to her.

God has placed you in a place for His kingdom purposes right now, and you say, “My circumstances are not to my liking.” God understands that, but He has a heavenly drama being played out, and you’re a player in it. He has purposes that are big and eternal, and we don’t, at this moment, know what those purposes are. We can’t see them. That’s why we have to trust that they are secure.

So whether we win or lose the beauty contest, whether we’re popular or rejected, whether you get the job of your dreams or you lose your job, whether you’re financially prosperous, whether you have healthy children or children with special needs, whether you have a happy and healthy family background or a dysfunctional one, whether you have physical health or sickness; in the human drama, all these things matter a lot, but in the heavenly drama they matter not at all. In the kingdom of man, the question is, “How will the circumstance affect me? How will it fulfill my desires, my needs, my purposes?”

In the kingdom of God, the question is, “How does God want to use my position, my season of life, my place in life to fulfill His kingdom purposes in this world?” You see, there are no chance circumstances in our lives. There are no chance circumstances in this world. Even those details that seem trivial, that seem insignificant are a part of God’s divine plan and process. He is always at work. All we can see is here and now and this moment, but God sees the whole eternal span of the picture. That’s why we can trust Him.

In the human drama, some circumstances that we go through seem to make no sense at all. They seem unfair. Take, for example, in the story of Esther, the fact that Mordecai, Esther’s older cousin who has taken her under his wing, he’s a humble servant. He uncovers a plot to assassinate the king. He exposes the plot, and yet he goes unrewarded—for the moment . . . for the moment. You see, we grouse and whine and complain because we’re just looking at the moment. We need to step back and say, “Lord, You have a bigger picture, and that’s what I want to look at.”

So Mordecai goes unrewarded. On the other hand, Haman, who is this proud, vicious, hateful man, is promoted, and everybody bows to him. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? It’s just for the moment. God is going to right all wrongs. Wait on the Lord. Be patient, He will act. Now Mordecai, as you remember, refuses to bow, so Haman sets out to get vengeance. He gets the king to issue an edict to exterminate the Jews. Turn to chapter 3 in the story of Esther, and look at verse 13.

Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with instructions to destroy, to kill, and annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.

The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. [And the capital city], and the king and Haman sat down to drink [threw a party], but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion (vv. 13, 15).

Now here we have, you see the word confusion? In the human kingdom, the human drama, there is panic—there is panic! In the human drama in Susa, there was panic, but in the heavenly drama, in the heavenly kingdom, there is never an iota of panic—only plans, God’s plans, His wise and good eternal plans.

Move to chapter 4 and look at verse 3, Esther 4, verse 3.

And in every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree reached, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and many of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.

This, by the way is the appropriate response of the righteous when the wicked prevail. When God’s people are in jeopardy, over and over again in Scripture you see them turning to mourning, fasting, weeping, and lamenting. We have a National Day of Prayer in this nation, but before that was instituted in modern times during, what I believe was the Reagan Administration, if I’m not mistaken. Years ago, as in during the years of Abraham Lincoln, there were not days of prayer, there were days of humiliation, repentance, and prayer.

That’s the kind of days we need to call for today—humility, sackcloth, and ashes. Where are those kinds of responses in our day? How often do we see the mourning, the weeping, the fasting, the lamenting, the humility? The fact that we don’t see that kind of response today says to me that we’re not yet desperate enough. God has ways of making us desperate so we will cry out to Him, turn our hearts to Him.

Well, in the following verses, Esther hears about the turmoil and the unrest. Mordecai is sitting outside the palace gates. She hears that he’s dressed in sackcloth and ashes. She knows you’re not supposed to be sitting outside the king’s gate dressed that way, so she’s distressed. She doesn’t know what’s going on. She sends one of her attendants; she can’t go out herself. She sends Hathach, one of her attendants, to learn what this was and why it was. Hathach goes out to Mordecai in front of the king’s gate, and Mordecai tells him everything that has happened and the money that Haman has promised to give the king in order to exterminate the Jews.

Look at verse 8 of chapter 4. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and command her to go to the king to beg for his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people. And Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said.”

Mordecai is saying to Esther, “You’ve got to act. Now is the time.” Well, verse 10,

Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days”  (vv. 10–11).

She is saying, “You are sending me on a suicide mission. For me to go, this is a costly assignment. I could die.” Verse 12,

They told Mordecai what Esther had said. 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” (vv. 12–14).

Mordecai is saying, “God is not dependent on you. He doesn’t need you to accomplish His purposes. God will win with or without you and me. He can bring deliverance from other sources.” But Mordecai is saying, “There is a lot at stake—your life, your family’s lives, your people.”

And then that very familiar part at the end of verse 14, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Who knows, whether it was Esther then or us now, only God knows, and only time will tell, or eternity perhaps why God has sovereignly put you where you are right now at this moment in history. You have been given a role to play, and no one else can fill it.

You think, “I’m not a speaker. I don’t lead anything. I don’t have any interesting gifts or abilities.” I’m saying you have been called to the kingdom for such a time as this. You’re not here by accident. You’ve been given privileges, opportunities, a place in the kingdom—in the human kingdom—to be used to further God’s heavenly kingdom at this time.

Leslie: It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the latest crisis, the new controversy or news story. But Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is giving us an important reminder that God is at work in ways we can’t always see. Nancy’s been showing us this from the story of Esther. And I hope you’ll get to know this story even deeper by getting a new Bible study called Esther: Trusting God’s Plan. It’s part of the Women of the Bible series of studies from Revive Our Hearts.

We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. You can make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com. Or call and ask for the Esther study when you donate by phone. The number is 1–800–569–5959.

Tomorrow Nancy will lead us back into the powerful story of Esther.

Nancy: You may feel like a mere pawn on a chess board, being moved around. But never underestimate the power of God. Never underestimate the significance and the potential impact of your faith, of your prayers, of your faithfulness, of your obedience. The power of influence of one woman: an Esther, a Mary, a Sarah, a Ruth, a Deborah, who is filled with the Holy Spirit of God and says, "Yes, Lord, I'm available to fulfill your purposes." Don't think that your life cannot make a difference.

Leslie: Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you be God’s woman for such a time as this. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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