What time is it? What time is it for you personally, for your organisation, city or nation? For that matter, what time is it for the whole earth? What era is this in which we are living? It is easy to embrace generalised statements to answer this question, whether we hear them from the pulpit or from the media, but those statements don’t answer the question. I do not think that we have paid this question the attention it deserves. This is our time on earth. We didn’t choose it, but we can choose what to do with it, and that will require knowing what time it is. I love the very well known and often quoted verse Esther 4:14, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this.” We have attained royalty for such a time as this. But that still begs the question, what time is it?
The first part of Esther 4:14 is, perhaps, the more challenging piece of the verse, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish.” It is a challenge to act, to speak up. Add to that Esther’s royal status and we see that she has been granted a unique position at a critical time.
The same applies to us. We have attained an awareness of our status on earth and remaining silent is no longer an option. With the revelation of who we are beating inside of us, we must speak up. The eighteenth century British statesman Edmund Burke is credited with saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” This sentiment, whether from Esther or Edmund Burke, requires an understanding of the time in which we are alive.
So what time is it? The earth has been divided up into epochs and eras, more recently the agricultural age, followed by the industrial age and the information age. Understanding these eras will give us great insight into how individuals lived, behaved, and even caused the transition from one season to the next. These eras do not happen overnight; even the information age emerged gradually, although it has been the fastest moving age of them all.
The relationship between the information age and Esther 4:14 comes down to a choice to speak up or remain silent.
Remaining silent has huge implications because there are now more and more accessible voices speaking to us than ever before. What took a doctor many years to study can now be crudely accessed by a search on the internet. Options and opinions are more easily available to us than ever before. Even the word “research” has been somewhat diluted from the rigorous and painstaking reading, experimenting, investigating and traveling of the researchers of bygone eras.
Before we consider further the question of what time it is, it is helpful to review a particular characteristic of us as the generation that is alive. We are an identity and destiny generation. In recent years teaching related to identity has gained significant momentum. I doubt that there has been another period of time where identity has been so widely taught, received, experienced and encouraged. From the teachings of Derek Prince on blessings and curses to the present-day teachings of the Father heart of God, we have been given abundant access to discover our identity. In that process we have discovered that we are sons and daughters of the King of Kings; we have attained royalty.
As this experience of identity in Christ becomes more widespread it will actually begin to determine the time in which we live. When we carry the identity of a victim, we allow the times to determine what we do. Royal identity, on the other hand, influences the times and can even define or re-define it. 1 Chronicles 12:32 reads, “Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.” The sons of Issachar received their blessing over 400 years before the statement made in Chronicles. Identity endures. In those 400 years they were held in slavery, and even after all of that time they knew who they were.
An identity generation is also a destiny generation. If I am the firstborn to a King or Queen, I know that one day I will become King or Queen. That royal identity received at birth will determine the course of my life: what I do, how I behave, the training I receive, and so much more. We should be no different. Identity is the absolute key to our destiny. Jesus knew who He was, He knew why He was here, and He knew where He was going. Even God introduced himself to Moses by stating His identity, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’” (Exodus 3:14). The foundation of identity is our launchpad into our destiny and purpose.
Access to discovering our identity is not only foundational but essential in our complex world. Previous generations only had to look at their birth certificate to discover their family name and its link to their likely future occupation and destiny. In the absence of a birth certificate they simply followed their father to work and discovered what they would do with their lives. Our world is more complicated. Our search for purpose still begins with identity, knowing that we are sons and daughters and should be about our Father’s business. Even though our journey may take us on a more complex path every one of us needs to look at our “royal” birth certificates and follow our Father to work.
The passion to discover identity and destiny is not limited to the Christian world. One search on the internet will reveal the amount of interest and resources available related to the subject of destiny or life’s purpose. We are a generation that wants to know why we are alive, why we are on planet earth. More than ever before people have access to a myriad of resources for finding the answers to these questions. People are looking for help. If we remain silent, their help will come from another source.
It is time for us to know who we are. People who know who they are do things with their lives. I enjoy and understand the word play that we are human “beings” first and human “doings” after that. However, I prefer not to separate them even that far. Our being, and knowing what our being embraces in terms of identity, will lead to our doing. What you do with your life must never replace your identity, but it will be influenced by it.
Recent years have seen the rise of executive and life coaching provided in the workplace. Human resource and personnel management have taken on the needs of the whole person more and more. But as is clear from the sons of Issachar, there is more at stake than just making sure our people are satisfied. Identity married to knowing the times will lead to our destiny, it will lead to us knowing what to do.