GOD HAS PLACED YOU WHERE HE NEEDS YOUAugust 7th, 2013 by Rev. Ruel Camia
Posted under Worship
– I am absolutely convinced that God can use each one of us and the situation we presently find ourselves in to bring Him glory and bring us satisfaction.
– For some of you, today is a great day and everything about your life seems to be fitting together just the way you would like it to – for others, you would change almost everything about your life if you could.
– Each of us has a choice concerning what we will do in our present situation.
– We can make the most of it by allowing God to use us in the here and now.
– Or we can spend our days wishing for different circumstances than the ones we are presently experiencing.
– There is a girl named Esther that I’d like to tell you about today – and I believe that Esther would tell us that God needs us to fulfill His plan for our lives where we presently are.
– Maybe at some point God will lead us somewhere else, but for now we need to allow God to fulfill His purpose in our present circumstances, no matter what those circumstances might be.
– Let me give you an overview of Esther’s story by sharing with you three facts about her life and then we’ll see how she can bring us encouragement today.
1. Esther was placed in a different family
– When Esther was a young girl both of her parents died and she was adopted by her cousin – (Mordecai) had a beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother had died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter – Esther 2:7
– Fortunately for Esther, Mordecai was a godly man that loved Esther and raised her in a proper way – but the fact remains that Esther began life with the disadvantage of not having her own parents involved in her life.
2. Esther was placed in a different culture
– Esther was a Jewish girl who had been far removed from the customs of her people – she is now living in a culture that for the most part, does not acknowledge the God of Israel.
– The food is different, the customs are different, the laws are different.
– In fact, Esther’s displacement, depending on how old she was at the time of her parent’s death, was most likely an extreme culture shock.
– To go from the land of the Jews to the land of the Persians was a radical shift.
3. Esther was placed in a different position
– The King of Persia was looking for a new wife, so he sent his men out to collect the most beautiful virgins in his kingdom and place them in his harem.
– Esther was one of the virgins chosen, and the king chose Esther to be his Queen.
– Esther did not choose her family, or her culture, or her position.
– But she was where she was, and the circumstances of her life were the circum-stances of her life, whether she liked them or not.
– For most of us, we have a lot more choices than Esther, but one thing that we very much have in common with her should stand out to each of us.
– And that is that God will use our present situation to bring glory to Himself, if we allow Him to use who we are, and what we have, and who we can be, to His glory.
– Beginning today, we want to learn how to accept God’s placement in our lives.
– I want to get deeper into Esther’s story, but I think it would be helpful if I first gave you a list of the main players in it.
KING XERXES – King of Persia who made Esther his wife.
ESTHER – Cousin of Mordecai who was made Queen of Persia.
MORDECAI – Esther’s cousin who revealed a plot to kill the king, saving his life.
HAMAN – Prime minister of Persia , and all-around, no-good villain, who wanted to kill all of the Jewish people, because he hated Mordecai.
– Those are the four main players, and they all have an important role in this story.
– Now as we examine the story, we find out what…
Accepting God’s Placement Requires…
– Soon after Esther was made queen she was put in quite a predicament.
– Haman, who was the prime minister, convinced the king that he should wipe out the entire Jewish race from his kingdom.
– Up until this point Esther had not revealed to anyone that she was a Jew.
– But Mordecai got word to her that only she could have any chance to change the plans of the king.
– Esther sent this message to Mordecai (Esther 4:11 ).
– “The whole world knows that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him in more than a month.”
– In the ancient Persian culture, you had to be summoned by the king, even if you were his wife, or you could be put to death – Esther had a valid concern here.
– Mordecai sent back this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that you will escape there in the palace when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What’s more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?” – Esther 4:13-14
– This is a fascinating statement that Mordecai makes – he is saying to Esther, “You need to have the courage to do whatever it takes to make this thing happen, but if you don’t, God will find someone else who will. And furthermore, who knows but that God placed you here for this specific reason?”
– I think that we can learn a lot from that statement about our own situations.
– God wants us to have the courage to act when He calls us to act, but if we don’t, He’ll find someone who He can use to fulfill His plan.
– To take the initiative means to be willing to take the first step necessary.
– Esther was willing to do whatever it took to save her people.
– She said “Though it is against the law, I will go in and see the king. If I must die, I am willing to die” – Esther 4:16b
– There is always that first step to be taken in accepting God’s plan for us.
– Perhaps God is calling some of us today to take a greater stand for Him in our homes, in our places of employment, or in our schools.
– Maybe God calling some here this morning to take the initiative of boldly telling others about the love of Jesus Christ.
– Is it possible that God is trying to get into your head at this very moment and give you the impetus, the drive, the forward momentum to get you to realize that He can use you and He wants to use you, but you have to be willing to step out in faith?
– When I speak of awareness, I’m specifically referring to an awareness of God’s presence in each and every situation we find ourselves in.
– How do you know that God has not placed you in your current situation because He specifically has a role for you to fulfill with your life?
– Maybe you’re not in ideal circumstances right now – could it be that if you begin to look at your life as a servant in God’s hand you might begin to look at your situation differently?
– Could it be that God has placed you where you are because He expects you to be a missionary to the people that are in your midst?
– Mordecai reminded his dear cousin of the need for awareness.
– “Who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14b
– Esther was a human being just like us – she didn’t want to face the king and a possible death sentence, but Mordecai reminded her that she was in the right place at the right time for God to use her.
– What was he trying to tell her? That in every circumstance we must ask the question – how can God use me in this situation?
– I will never understand my role in this world until I begin to communicate with God through prayer.
– Some say that Esther is not a very theological book – I disagree with that.
– It is not a doctrinal treatise, and it doesn’t try to explain how God works in the universe, but it is a living example of God’s power working through an individual.
– Esther understood the need for God in her circumstances, so she called on the people to intercede on her behalf.
– Before approaching the king, Esther sent another message to Mordecai.
– “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same” – Esther 4:16a
– Esther understood that accepting God’s placement and moving into God’s plan requires a prayerful communication with the God who is leading us.
– The day finally came when Esther approached the king unannounced.
– He immediately held out his scepter to her, signifying that she was not in any danger and that he wanted her to approach him.
– Esther had a plan in mind that would allow her to fulfill God’s plan for her life.
– She invited both the king and his evil servant Haman to a banquet where she would make an important request of the king.
– Haman went home from receiving this invitation bragging to his wife and friends about how special he was – on his way out the door he ran into Mordecai who refused to bow down to him.
– Haman told his wife, “All this is meaningless as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate” – Esther 5:13
– So Haman’s wife and friends convinced him to build a gallows, 75 feet all, from which they could hang Mordecai.
– But there was one thing Haman didn’t know about – he didn’t know that Mordecai had once saved the King’s life.
– The night before the banquet the King couldn’t sleep and decided to read through the historical records of his kingdom.
– While reading he was reminded of Mordecai’s willingness to save his life and was informed by his servants that Mordecai had never received any reward.
– The next morning Haman showed up and the King sought his advice on how he should honor a man who has pleased him greatly.
– Haman believed that the king was referring to him and so he told the king should place the king’s own robes on such a man, put him on the king’s own horse, and lead him through the city with a prince to announce in the streets that this is how the king honors a man that pleases him.
– “Excellent!” the king said to Haman. “Hurry and get the robe and my horse, and do just as you have said for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the gate of the palace. Do not fail to carry out everything you have suggested” – Esther 6:10
– In addition, adding insult to injury, Haman himself was forced to lead Mordecai’s horse through the city and announce the king’s pleasure over Mordecai’s kind act.
– The next day Haman arrived at Esther’s banquet.
– The King asked Esther to make any request of him that she desired and he would give it to her – up to half of the entire kingdom.
– Esther replied (Esther 7:3) “If Your Majesty is pleased with me and wants to grant my request, my petition is that my life and the lives of my people be spared. For my people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us…”
– The King demanded to know who would dare to touch Esther or her people.
– (Esther 7:6) Esther replied, “This wicked Haman is our enemy.”
– Esther pointed out Haman for the wicked man that he was, the king was enraged and had Haman hung from the very gallows he had prepared for Esther’s cousin Mordecai.
– After Haman was hanged the King turned over Haman’s entire estate to Esther, who in turn gave it to Mordecai – the King took the signet ring that had been Haman’s sign of authority in the kingdom and also gave it to Mordecai.
– Now there is more to this story than I have time to go into today, but I want you to notice something about the necessity of planning for God’s work in your life.
– Esther knew that God was calling her to ask the King for freedom for the Jews – she knew that Haman was responsible and she had planned to tell the King.
– But look what God did! He used Esther and her plan to see His will done, but God added to her plan.
– God is the one that arranged all the circumstances of her life, and Haman’s life, and Mordecai’s life, and the king’s life so that everything would work together for His glory.
– Now what does that have to do with us? Let me tell you – it means that God can take your plan and your willingness to act upon His calling, and use it for His glory.
– The circumstances you find yourself in today are not yours alone.
– God is in this thing with you, and if you will begin to allow Him to work in your present situation, great results will not be very far down the road.
–For a period of time you may not understand God’s planning and purpose for your life – that’s okay!
– Esther certainly didn’t understand everything that God had in mind.
– God doesn’t call us to understand everything about the circumstances that we’re in, He simply calls us to be faithful to Him and His will.
– If you don’t have it all figured out, join the club! Don’t sweat it – just do the things you know that God is calling you to do and watch what happens.
– When you realize God’s purpose for your life you will feel empowered.
– When Esther began to work according to God’s purpose her trepidation turned into triumph.
– You will never know what it is like to be truly empowered until you begin to allow God’s power to flow through your life.
– How do you begin that process? Simply by walking in the direction that God is calling you to.
– Taking a risk is easier when you know that God is in control.
– I don’t think Esther would tell us that taking a risk is every easy, but the more we believe that God is in control of the situation, the easier it becomes.
– I hope that every one us gathered here this morning knows that God is looking at us right now – that He knows the exact circumstances that we find ourselves in today – and that He can use those circumstances for His glory and our gain.
– It’s not a matter of can God use my circumstances, but will I let Him use my circumstances for His greater purpose?
– I’m willing to say to God today “Yes, you can use me today however you will.”
– How about you?