Called For This Crisis Hour!
By Arthur Wallis
It was an hour of crisis. A situation had arisen in which the destiny of the elect nation seemed to hang in the balance. Ahasuerus, the despotic monarch of Persia, had consented to sign a decree at the request of Haman, the adversary of God's people, that on a certain day all Jews throughout his vast domain were to be slain. It seemed that certain judgment was about to overwhelm God's people, and that the lamp of Israel would be quenched forever.
But in the wondrous providences of God a Hebrew orphan girl had been brought into a unique relationship with the king. Ahasuerus had chosen Esther as his bride, set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen (Esth. 2:17). God had so ordained that she should come to the kingdom for such a time, that out of desperate weakness His people might be made strong. He had determined that through Esther He would make the wrath of man to praise Him, so that in an hour of impending judgment and calamity there might arise relief and deliverance to the captive daughter of Zion.
In This Crisis Hour!
It is such an hour of crisis today! Satan, the "Haman" of the people of God, knows that his time is short. From within and from without he is making a last desperate bid to overwhelm the church. Materialism, Mohamedanism, Romanism, Humanism and Spiritism are making rapid advances. If figures issued are reliable, the increasing world population is swallowing up the efforts of the church to evangelize to a finish by preaching the Gospel to every creature….
It must be obvious to every thoughtful mind that the situation is desperate. Time is running out. World events are moving fast. The nations are lining up for the last great conflagration. Only revival, a last great sweep of the Holy Spirit can meet the need. This is indeed the hour of crisis, and "who knoweth whether thou are not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
The Call to Intercede
“Charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him, for her people" (Esth. 4:8). Thus Mordecai, Esther's guardian, answered the messenger whom she had sent. She was to use her unique relationship with the king for the deliverance of her people. She was to "go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him" who alone could alter the situation.
A breach had been made in the defenses of God's people, and the enemy was about to rush in for the kill. But there was one who had the ear of the king, who could therefore stand in the gap, and turn the tide of calamity that would engulf both her and her people.
Like Esther, many of God's people today are oblivious of the breaches in our defenses that leave us wide open to the enemy. They look upon the Mordecais of today who foresee the perils, as pessimists. Like Esther, they would like to take from these realists the sackcloth of their gloomy outlook, and clothe them with the bright garments of their own wishful thinking (4:4). The church needs to be awakened to the perils of the hour and the possibilities of revival!
Down the years God has ever looked in the hour of crisis for intercessors. Sometimes He has looked in vain. Has He to say to His people today what He said long ago through Ezekiel: "Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the fence for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord" (Ezek. 13:5)?
The Word of God, the need of the church, the plight of the world, the possibility of revival, the shortness of the time, would unitedly urge us "to go in unto the King." God forbid that He should have to say of His people today: "I sought for a man among them, that should make up the fence, and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none" (Ezek. 22:30).
Today God is seeking for a man, a woman. Will you be that one? "Who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
The Challenge to Sacrifice
"All…know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law for him, that he be put to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden scepter that he may live" (Esth. 4:11). Mordecai was in fact urging the young queen to take her life in her hands by going into the presence of the king unbidden. He was in fact asking her to cast aside all thought of self-preservation, and to be willing to sacrifice herself for the life of her people. A desperate situation demanded desperate measures.
Is not the situation desperate today? Where are those who are willing to sacrifice themselves that they may go "up into the gaps… to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord?" Where are those who will put their lives in jeopardy that they may "turn back the battle at the gate?"
God is looking for the intercessor who will live the life of crucifixion, laying down his life daily for the cause of Christ. Such was a saintly woman who lived in the West Country and who passed away but a few years ago. Although in failing health she had a clear vision of the need of revival and a great prayer burden for it. Her sister declared that she probably hastened her end by her agonizing in prayer for the windows of heaven to be opened.
Such are the Esthers who turn the tide for God. Paul said of himself, "I hold not my life of any account, as dear unto myself, so that I may finish my course" (Acts 20:24), and of Epaphroditus, "for the work of Christ he came nigh unto death, hazarding his life" (Phil. 2:30). Who follows in their train?
The Issues at Stake
"Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house…For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house shall perish" (Esth. 4:13-14). In the face of the sacrifice she was being called upon to make Esther hesitated. She was counting the cost.
The reply of Mordecai, however, set forth with unmistakable frankness the issues at stake. Esther might refuse the call to intercede, trusting to her relationship with the king to save her skin if the worst happened. In a word Mordecai shatters such a thought. "Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape." To hold her peace at such a time would not bring disaster to her people, but to herself.
God would certainly deliver His people. He was not shut up to Esther or anyone else. If she failed in this hour of desperate need and of great opportunity, if she shirked the issue, relief and deliverance would arise to the Jews from some other quarter, but she and her house would perish.
Many are convinced that God is going to revive His people. There is scriptural ground for that conviction. The Lord is now calling for intercessors. If we fail, God will bring relief and deliverance form some other quarter. "For the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" (Isa. 14:27).
We must, however, face the consequences of our refusal. Sometimes the issue is not one of "Revival or Judgment" but of "Revival and Judgment." The very tide of blessing may sweep away those who will not obey, or will not believe.
It was so in the siege of Samaria. Elisha brought the promise of imminent deliverance, declaring that on the morrow fine flour and barley would be sold at normal prices in the gate of Samaria. The king's captain replied, "Behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, might this thing be?" (2 Kgs. 7:2). Said Elijah, "Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof," and so it came to pass. In the stampede for food he was trodden to death. Relief and deliverance came to the people, but he perished in his unbelief.
It is a major tragedy when a soul lives to see revival, but not to partake of it, because of disobedience or unbelief.
Do we believe? We cannot have a true expectation of revival while refusing the call to intercede. Our apathy denies our belief. The solid and practical proof of faith in this matter is a readiness to lose our lives in this ministry of intercession, that we may find them in revival. To fail to do so when God calls is to bring upon ourselves a curse instead of a blessing.
Deborah and Barak in their song of victory over the hosts of Sisera, praised God "For that the leaders took the lead in Israel, for that the people offered themselves willingly" (Judg. 5:2); but they also pronounced an anathema upon the inhabitants of Meroz because they failed to do so. It was an hour of crisis and of opportunity, but they refused "to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord." "Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty" (v. 23).
It is a grievous thing to stand aloof in pride, or to hold back in fear or unbelief, when the Spirit of God is moving. The Lord will surely require it. Shall we then hold our peace, or shall we go in unto the King?
The Solemn Resolve
"So will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish" (Esth. 4:16). Moved by the desperate need, awed but not intimidated by the peril involved, convinced that she had come to the kingdom for this very hour, the young queen came to this solemn resolve to lay herself upon the altar of sacrifice, to stand in the gap in the hour of crisis, to go in unto the king, and if she perished, she perished. She had faced the challenge, counted the cost, and had thus come to a steadfast determination to deliver her people by her intercession, or die in the attempt.
She went in unto the king. He held out to her the golden scepter, thus accepting her person. He said, "What wilt thou, queen Esther? And what is thy request?" She prevailed with the king for her people. She reversed the situation, and so turned the day of distress into the day of deliverance, and the day of judgment into the day of revival.
When the breaches were wide, and the wrath of God ready to sweep us to hell, the Son of God stood up in the gap, and interposed His precious body to save His people from their sins. He is Himself the guarantee of God's willingness to send the revival so desperately needed, for "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things" (Rom. 8:32) – revival among them.
The appalling need of this hour is only matched by its unique opportunity to afford a display of the power and glory of God. Many a faithful intercessor of the past has desired to see the things which we are about to see, and has not seen them. In His matchless grace, God has brought us to the kingdom for such a time as this. The Saviour calls us to follow His steps in the pathway of intercession.
Shall we – dare we disappoint Him?
Brethren, let us arise!
He who died for us is watching
From the skies –
Watching till His royal banner
Floateth far and wide,
Till He seeth of His travail –
– A. J. Janvrin
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations for ever and ever. Amen" (Eph. 3:20-21).
– Reprinted from In The Day Of Thy Power by Arthur Wallis, by permission of Cityhill Publishing, 4600 Christian Fellowship Road, Columbia, MO 65203, U.S.A.