For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
The odds were not stacked in her favour. As an orphaned, exiled, young and secretly Jewish female, she faced daunting obstacles to her confidence, culture and sense of allegiance. Nevertheless, a chance win of a national beauty contest had thrust upon her the prestigious yet precarious title of Queen. She need only consider her predecessor’s fate to recognize the limits to her influence and the high cost of disfavour attached to her royal position.
It would have been easy for Esther to ignore or dismiss her husband’s executive orders – orders that were rooted in his prime minister’s jealousy and steeped in hatred, bigotry, arrogance and injustice. The proposed genocide threatened to annihilate generations, creating national terror, chaos and confusion as the unmerited ethnic cleansing played itself out.
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But still, even as she learned the details of her husband’s astonishing edict, the known vulnerabilities inherent in her spousal, legal, royal, religious, cultural and gender status tempted her to huddle in silent, self-protective helplessness. After all, she reasoned, the orders didn’t necessarily impact her directly. If she simply kept her head down and focused on her daily duties, surely she would be spared this great injustice…
Thankfully Queen Esther received and acted on wise counsel. She was reminded that eventually these orders could and would not only jeopardize her family, her religion and her race, but also her own life. Doing nothing was not an option. Her eventual decision to stand up. speak up and speak out against injustice changed world history and shaped her people’s destiny.
As leaders who are Christ-followers we are being bombarded by lawless policies, false ideologies, misguided directives and “alternative facts” that threaten the foundation of our religious theology, social responsibilities and ethical sensibilities. We too may be inclined to huddle in silent, self-protective helplessness, shocked and speechless while injustices erode the very fabric of our countries, our corporations, our churches, our communities, and our constitutions. We may be tempted to believe that we need not concern ourselves with these matters as they do not impact us directly. But as Mordecai warned, ultimately there is a very real and personal price that must be paid.
Centuries later Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, an American Baptist minister who became a leader in the American Civil Rights movement, echoed the advice of Mordecai as he cautioned:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Beloved, God has called you to your position of leadership precisely “for such a time as this”. Her legendary courage, wisdom, grace, patience and strategic thinking are the very same traits needed in Christ-followers who have been entrusted with leadership today. Even though the odds may appear to be stacked against you, God may be calling you to hold a banquet, a banner, a stranger or a child as part of your stance for social justice. In light of the times, I urge you to commit to spending focused and consistent time praying, fasting, and seeking God’s unique instructions to you so that in these days of uncertainty you can live, lead and love from a sure place of justice.