Providence and Opportunity
Esther 4:14
For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place…

: —God's providential purpose; man's present opportunity; that is how I read the lesson of this marvellous history. A purpose clearly written on the face of events and to be readily deciphered from their grouping. Moses at the Red Sea heard a voice telling him to stretch his rod over the sea, that a way might be made for the ransomed to pass over. Now we have no voice; but circumstances gather about us, the rod is thrust into our hand, and we miss our deliverance if we do not see that we must wave the rod. We are not in intellectual and religious infancy. We ought to be able to discover without any warning voice what God's purpose is, and what our opportunity is worth.

I. AS TO LIFE ITSELF, HUMAN EXISTENCE; ENTRY UPON IT IS A COMING TO A KINGDOM. Living now, we are conditioned by the time and circumstances of to-day. Our days have fallen on a time different from all that have gone before, unique in this particular, if in nothing else — the power of public opinion. In former days but one man here and there seemed to have a kingdom to enter upon, a few men swayed the nations, a few men seemed to be inspired to deeds which raised them into leaders of the people. But now the rulers in name are the ruled in fact. The government is governed and the people control everything. It is a great thing to live now. Literature and science pour their wealth out before us. By these things we have the chance of being better men in some directions of thought and of exerting a mightier influence in the world than our fathers could exert. Some men might just as well have lived hundreds of years ago, for any appreciation they seem to have of the privileges and demands of the time. No time is like another in all its details. We have to make it what it shall be. By the impulse of an earnest life, by the influence of holy character, by brief words spoken and little deeds done according to our opportunity, must we do something to mould that public opinion which is omnipotent.

II. AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE COME TO A KINGDOM. Christianity has always presented two aspects, the offensive and the defensive. In the old days of national warfare, when ships were made of wood, rough-wrought cannon and shot were sufficient means of attack. But with the iron-plating has necessarily come improvement in the means of destruction. As the ship becomes more exposed to the danger of improved appliances she must be more scientifically defended. We sometimes smile as we see the way in which truth used to be asserted and defended. We now see that truth is its own best defence.

(J. Jones.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

WEB: For if you remain silent now, then relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Who knows if you haven't come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

Providence and Human Agency
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