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Point of Reference

    by Fred Price

For Times Such As These
Date Posted: January 7, 2005

Two easily overlooked verses of scripture recently attracted my attention as a result of their potential to speak to our time and circumstances. That being characteristic of all scripture, these two seemingly out-of- the-way verses spoke more powerfully to me because of their unexpectedness. One comes from the Israeli history book of Chronicles which relates David's predicament in having left the King's court for the freedom and protection of the wilderness; somewhat inadvertently attracting other disillusioned, dis-affected men to his banner. Many of these men of valor and principle were inspired by David's response to his circumstances and identified with his vision and calling to rule in Israel.

Chapter 12 lists the thousands of fighting men who volunteered for service in David's cause, while verse 32 includes a seemingly inconsequential number of men from the tribe of Isaacher. 200 men whom the Chronicler described as understanding the times, as a result knowing what should be done. By far the smallest in number, they probably exerted a larger than expected influence by virtue of their unique qualifications to lead by command and example. Not inspired to support David by emotions alone, their decisions could be depended on to be well-reasoned and their choices well-made; volunteering their services fully determined to face the consequences of their actions.

These men fully understood what was involved in their commitment, not merely acquainting themselves with surface issues but making it a point to be personally informed – knowing clearly the nature and character of the situation and people they aligned themselves with; as a result fully appreciating the significance of their decisions and involvement. "Men…, who understood the times and knew…" what should be done. 1 Chronicles 12:32

The other verse, while somewhat more readily recognized, is often passed over and not applied to our own time and circumstances. It concerns Esther and her role in saving Israel from the evil designs of Haman. It also speaks, at least in part, to the question of fairness. How much can one person be expected to do, endure or sacrifice to be an effective child of God. Esther's life had not been easy. Orphaned as a young girl, taken captive and exiled as a result of Israel's fall to the Persians, she was later chosen for her beauty as a member of the King's harem and then married to him – now she is expected to confront him and his top aid on behalf of the beleaguered Jewish people.

Yet difficulties may come as a way of preparation; training and developing in us the ability to withstand further hardship, enabling us to accomplish much in spite of our circumstances. The value of personal character can never be overstated and is virtually never developed absent trying situations. Like faith, it can't be increased without being tested – stretched. By this time, after all Esther had experienced, she should have had an abundance of both. Thus her uncle's challenge: 'You may be convinced that your safety can be had through silence, but consider that your elevated position may be the result of a plan to put you in a place of influence – not as recompense for past difficulties but to be in this place at this time for this purpose!' "…for such a time as this…" Esther 4:14

How we endure difficulty and respond to opportunity do not go unnoticed by God. "His eyes are on the ways of men; he sees their every step." Job 34:21 "…and he examines all his paths." Proverbs 5:21 "…reward(ing) everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve." Jeremiah 32:19 (see also Proverbs 15:3) In fact, God is actively involved in supporting those people who choose to serve him; often disappointed at the lack of resolve and involvement on the part of his "chosen" people. (John 4:35; Matthew 9:37; Galatians 6:9,10) "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." 2 Chronicles 16:9 As, "…the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." 1 Peter 3:12

This realization should give us the confidence and ability to, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men (and women) of courage; be strong. Do(ing) everything in love." 1 Corinthians 16:13 Men and women raised up by God for times such as these – who understand the times and know what should be done.

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Biography Information:

Fred Price - married (48 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.

Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker.  He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today.  Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.  

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