Greg's Blog

Coincidence or Providence?

by Greg Laurie on Apr 28, 2018

There are certain laws that never change. There is the law of gravity, discovered by Isaac Newton. It basically says that things tend to fall downward. Or, as it is often stated, what goes up must come down. Someone may say they don’t believe in the law of gravity, but that doesn’t change it. It’s always in play.

Then there is the second law of thermodynamics, which effectively says that all things are breaking down.

There is also the biblical law of sowing and reaping, described in Galatians 6:7–8: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (NIV). The more modern version of the law of sowing and reaping might be: “What goes around comes around.” There’s no getting around this law; it’s always in play.

We see the law of sowing and reaping on display in the book of Esther. Xerxes, the king of Persia, was married to a beautiful queen named Vashti. He decided to throw a big feast, and in a drunken stupor, thought it would be a great idea to parade Vashti around for everyone to admire. He told her to come in wearing her crown, and most biblical commentators believe the text implies that is all he wanted her to wear.

Vashti refused, which created an incident in the kingdom. His advisers said, in effect, “You can’t let her get away with that, because if she does, then our wives will say, ‘Vashti stood up to the king, and I’ll stand up to you.’” So Vashti was out.

Xerxes needed a new queen, so they essentially held a beauty contest for women from all around the kingdom. They really didn’t have a choice whether to participate. Among them was a young girl named Hadassah, also known as Esther. She was being raised by her godly older cousin, Mordecai, because Esther’s parents had died. She was summoned into the presence of the king, and Esther won the contest and became the new queen of Persia.

If this were a fairy tale, it would have ended there with the words, “And they lived happily ever after.” But the story was just getting started. God was putting the right people in the right place at the right time.

The villain in the story, Haman, was the prime minister. He wanted a law that would eradicate and exterminate the Jewish people. Haman was angry that Esther’s cousin Mordecai refused to bow to him when everyone else did. He was so incensed by this that he decided he wanted Mordecai dead.

But if that weren’t bad enough, he wanted Mordecai’s entire race, the Jewish people, put to death, too. Haman was clever. He knew how to manipulate the king, so he went to Xerxes and basically told him, “These Jewish people aren’t doing what you want them to do. I’m thinking we ought to confiscate their wealth and wipe all of them out.”

The king, completely oblivious to the fact that Queen Esther was a Jew, agreed to Haman’s plan and signed it into law.

Esther hadn’t told the king she was Jewish because Mordecai told her not to. The fact is that if she had told Xerxes, it’s entirely possible that she wouldn’t be the queen. Whether Esther was right or wrong in doing this, I will tell you this much: when the moment came for something to be done, Esther rallied big time.

Understand the situation. The law had been signed, and an edict was issued that said if you were a Jew, you’d be killed in one year. Everyone was aware of this – everyone except Esther.

Amazingly, Esther was oblivious to what was happening in the kingdom. She was living in the lap of luxury, unaware of the plight of her people. Mordecai wanted to get her attention, but there was no way to communicate with her. So he stood outside the palace in public view, hoping that Esther would see him.

Someone came to Esther and told her that her cousin was standing outside, dressed in sackcloth and ashes. So Esther had clean clothes sent out to him, but Mordecai refused them. Later he sent this message to her: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 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 4:13–14 NIV)

Allow me to loosely paraphrase: “Esther, check it out. Your people are going to die. If you don’t do something, you’re going to die, too. Did it ever dawn on you for a moment that God has put you where you are for a reason? Maybe this is the reason you’re there – for such a time as this.”

The same can be true in our lives. Sometimes we’re unhappy with where we are in life. We’re unhappy with our job. We’re unhappy with our spouse. We’re unhappy with our neighbors. We’re unhappy with our circumstances. We’re unhappy with this. We’re unhappy with that. But has it ever dawned on you that God has put you where you are for such a time as this? You’re not there by coincidence; you’re there by providence. What may seem like the worst thing may one day turn into the best thing. And if it’s not the best thing, you will see how God can even work through calamity in your life.

Esther was willing to put her life on the line for her people. She said, in effect, “I’m going to lay my life down, and if I die, I die.” As it turned out, she lived.

Think about the way you live your life, because every small decision ultimately builds up to a bigger result.

It has been summed up this way: Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny. What have you been sowing lately?

Even if you’ve messed up, if you can correct your course and do what is right, that can make a real difference. You will reap what you sow.

Taken from my weekly column at World Net Daily.

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