January 14, 2017

A Time to Speak or Be Silent?

Esther 3:5-6; 4:1-5:8

Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

—  Esther 4:14

Esther faced a difficult choice. Was this a time to speak or not? She may have been reminded of the wisdom teaching about “a time for everything”: “a time to weep and a time to laugh . . . a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak” (see Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). How do you know when it is the right time to do one or the other?

It’s a question of understanding the time you live in, of recognizing signs of trouble in your community. Sometimes silence can be golden in a time of conflict, but at other times it can be very cowardly.

Mordecai discerned signs of a catastrophe, and Esther, being in the right place at this time, decided not to be silent. With fasting and prayer, she knew her life and times were in God’s hands. She would make use of her position as the king’s favorite to invite him and Haman to a banquet, hoping she’d survive her unbidden entrance to the king’s court. Her lavish dinners would help her get close to the enemy. She would wait for the right time to say what needed to be said.

Esther exercised a patient, cal­culating wisdom to undo Haman’s plans—the kind of wisdom Christ exercised on the cross, where, though he gave up his life, he triumphed over and embarrassed all of God’s enemies (Colossians 2:15), saving us from the destruction of sin and death. What an amazing Savior!

Thank you, heavenly Father, that at the right time you sent Jesus to exercise the wisdom of the cross and save us. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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