The Promise of Enlargement & Deliverance 

adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 12 March 2010 

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). 

The book of Esther, like Ezra and Nehemiah, is known as a post-exilic historical book. However, unlike Ezra and Nehemiah, the events in Esther actually happened in Babylon. In fact, in terms of chronology, the book of Esther overlaps with the second half of the book of Ezra— in between the rebuilding of temple and Ezra’s own return to Jerusalem. 

The Persian king on the throne during Esther’s days was Ahasuerus or Xerxes I. The king on the throne when the temple was completed was Darius I, the father of Ahasuerus; and the king when Ezra returned was Artexerxes I, the son of Ahasuerus. 

The story of Esther begins with king Ahasuerus becoming disenchanted with his queen, Vashti. He deposed the queen, and soon an elaborate process of choosing another queen begun. 

Eventually, by the providence of God, Esther was chosen and crowned as queen. Esther and her cousin Mordecai were both in Babylon because their parents had been carried into exile together with the Jewish king Jehoichin by King Nebuchednezzar. When Esther’s parents died, it was Mordecai, her older cousin, who looked after her. And it was Mordecai who encouraged Esther to participate in the selection process for the queen. 

We don’t know what Mordecai’s motive in so advising Esther was, but we do know that God had a higher plan for her when He raised her up to be queen. 

For soon, Mordecai incurred the wrath of a high-ranking officer by the name of Haman by refusing to bow down to him. Haman was so angry that he sought to exterminate all the Jews from the kingdom of Ahasuerus. Ahasuerus quite foolishly agreed to his plan and signed into law the massacre of the Jews on an appointed day, and had the decree published in haste. 

Now, when news of the king’s decree reached the ears of Mordecai, he was deeply grieved. He tore off his clothes and put on sackcloth as he went about his official duties at the king’s gate. Mordecai was not the only one in turmoil, for as the news spread throughout the provinces, the Jews mourned, and wept and fasted and put on sackcloth. It seemed that everyone knew what was going on except Esther, who was sheltered in the palace. 

But when she got wind of Mordecai wearing the sackcloth at the king’s gate, she was immediately alarmed. It was illegal to do so, and he could be executed for that. 

So Esther sent her chamberlains with raiment for Mordecai and to ask him what was going on with him. Mordecai refused the gift and instead conveyed to Esther concerning the planned massacre and to request her to supplicate with the king. 

But as it turned out, the king had not called for Esther for a month; and it is was a law of the Medes and Persians that if anyone approached the king without being called, he or she can be executed immediately unless the king holds out his golden sceptre. 

So, rightly or wrongly, Esther’s immediate reaction was to suggest to Mordecai that she could not help. 

This was when Modecai replied with the words of our text: 

13 Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. 14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14). 

The rest is well-known history. Esther successfully entreated the king. Haman was executed; and the table of persecution against the Jews was turned. The Jews were allowed not only to defend themselves, but to kill all their enemies. 

In any case, in this study, the Lord helping us, we want to consider briefly God’s implied promise upon which Mordecai declared to Esther: 

14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place…

, you will realise, is not stating a promise. He is asserting his hope upon an implied promise. Or, to put it in another way, He is not merely making an empty prediction, but in fact claiming faith upon what he perceives to be the promise of God. 

Let’s consider this hope and/or promise under three heads: (1) What is this promise about? (2) What is the basis of this hope? And (3) What is the relevance of this promise to us. 

1. What is this Promise About? 

Mordecai, it appears, was sure that the Lord has promised enlargement and deliverance. 

We are familiar with the idea of deliverance (hl;X;h'). To be delivered is to be freed from bondage or from judgement or destruction. The Jews were sold to be massacred. Mordecai was sure that the LORD would grant them deliverance. 

I don’t think he was saying that the Jews would all be spared, otherwise, he would not have suggested that if deliverance come from another source, then Esther and his father’s family would be destroyed. 

So Mordecai was thinking of how the Lord will arise to help His people so that there will not be complete destruction. God would spare a remnant, if not a majority. 

But what about enlargement? Well, the word translated ‘enlargement’ (jw"r,) may also be translated as ‘space.’ When Jacob was preparing to meet with his brother Esau, he prepared several droves of livestock as present for his brother. He told his servants, “Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove” (Gen 32:16). The word translated ‘space’ is the word that is translated ‘enlargement’ in our text. 

So when Mordecai used the word, he must be thinking of how the Jews were being hemmed in, oppressed and suffocated. The word for space is also related to breathing. God would see to it that His people would again have freedom to live and worship Him freely. 

But now the question is… 

2. What is the Basis of this Hope? 

We spoke of Mordecai’s hope as being founded upon an implied promise. The reason we call it an implied promise is that in the first place, Mordecai does not state any promise that has already been declared. In the second place, there isn’t a distinct and direct statement of promise in the Old Testament that we can refer to as the basis of Mordecai’s hope. 

What then is the basis of Mordecai’s hope? Well, the basis is simply that God has chosen Israel to His people and He has promised to be their God. This idea is expressed beautifully in Deuteronomy 7:6-9— 

“6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Dt 7:6-9). 

Notice how Moses uses the same basis of the covenant love of the Lord to speak of why the LORD delivered Israel out of Egyptian bondage. This therefore, is the same basis for Modercai’s hope of deliverance and enlargement for the Lord’s people in Babylon.

Modercai was sure that this would happen because it did not depend on the obedience of God’s people, but upon the eternal, unchanging love of the Lord for His people. 

But take careful note that this promise is not a blanket promise that the whole nation of Israel would be preserved. Why do we say that? We say that because the promise is not really for the physical seed of Abraham, but for Christ! 

This exactly what the apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:16— 

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal 3:16). 

the question is immediately asked: What about the descendants of Abraham? What of the Lord’s promise to love and preserve the nation of Israel such as what we read in Deuteronomy 7? 

Well, take a look at Deuteronomy 7 again. Do you notice in verse 9— 

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” 

Now, if you think about it, what Moses is saying is that the Lord will not keep His covenant and mercy with every Israelite, isn’t it? Not every Israelite, after all, loves God and keeps His commandments. “They are not all Israel, which are of Israel” says Paul (Rom 9:6). What then? Is this covenant promise of God a conditional rather than a unilateral, unconditional promise? 

No, not at all! The covenant is unilateral and unconditional, for Christ is the mediator of the covenant who fulfilled all the conditions. How then do we reconcile this apparent contradiction (that God will keep His promise only for those who love Him and keep His commandments)? Well, the simple answer is that God’s covenant is not with the descendants of Abraham per se, but for the elect descendants of Abraham! 

It pleased God that for a season, under the old covenant, the elect of Christ would mostly be found amongst the physical descendants of Abraham. And these, God would preserve. He would give the Holy Spirit to enable them to love Him and to respond to His love. These are those that God would keep His covenant with. These are His actual covenant people. 

When Modercai spoke of his confidence that the LORD would grant deliverance and enlargement, he was expressing the promise of God that He would preserve His remnant. His church would never be snuffed out. If Esther refused to help in that dire situation God’s people were in, she and her family could be cut off, but God’s promise would remain firm and true. 

A remnant would be preserved. A remnant of faithful Jews would thrive and prosper until the birth of the Messiah. 

But now, what is the relevance of this promise of enlargement and deliverance to us? 

3. What is the Relevance of the Promise? 

Well, I have already hinted on its relevance when we considered the basis of Mordecai’s hope. 

Remember that this promise is not for Israel as a nation. It is a promise for the church in which the elect of Christ would be nurtured in their pilgrim journey on earth. Today the church is no longer Jewish. Most of the Jewish branches have been cut off. Gentile branches have been grafted in. The body of the seed of Abraham are mostly gentile today. So the promise is for us. 

But take careful note that this is not a promise for the individual, but for the church as a whole! This is a promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. This is a promise that God will always have a remnant who are faithful to Him. This is the promise that He who has begun a good work in us (as the body of Christ) will perform His work until the day of His revelation. 

Now, I know that some of us may find promises to the church as a whole quite irrelevant. What is that to me, you may ask? Well, the answer is: It may not be to you directly, but then you do not live in a vacuum by yourself. You are part of the body of Christ and you are united to all believers by your union to Christ. Are you not concerned of what will happen to the church? And besides, if you have children, would you not be concerned that your children will have a church to worship in that fears God and keeps His commandments? 

The promise of deliverance and enlargement addresses this concern in the face of all that are antagonistic towards Christ and His church. 


Beloved brethren, youths and children, have you ever wondered what is going to happen to the church of Christ? 

The world is changing. More and more people seem to be strongly antagonistic towards Christianity. And many Christians are being drawn away from faithfulness towards the Lord by worldliness and pragmatism. And this is not just in liberal and Charismatic Churches. It is happening in conservative churches, including fundamental and Reformed churches. Fundamental churches are emphasising too much on fighting errors and too little on building the families. The laws of God are neglected while many external dos and don’ts are enforced. Reformed Churches, on the other hand tend to be too relaxed about external dos and don’ts and the result is that worldliness is making inroads into the hearts of our youths through the language and entertainment of the world. 

Sometimes, I get disheartened when I think of what will happen in the next generation. I get saddened just by looking at the Facebook entries of our young people; some of them are too young to have an account, but have created one by lying about their age. 

Oh what is going to happen to the next generation? Brethren, were it not that the Lord has given us hope, we may as well pack up and cease to fight. Thank God that there is hope. Thank God that deliverance and enlargement will come to His church. 

The Lord has promised. We will labour on and pray on the basis of His promise. The Lord will hear our cries and deliver our children and youths that the church will serve Him with freedom and joy. Amen. Ω