As English philosopher Edmund Burke once allegedly said “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing.” A sad statement to be sure and we have seen that demonstrated amply throughout history in the cases of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Rwanda, Bosnia, etc. and those are just examples in the 20th century. The human heart is naturally evil and without God’s intervention, we would consume each other and all of creation with it.
So what does God need in order to bring glory to Himself and to “save the day?” If we look at Scripture, it seems that all God requires is the faithfulness of one individual. To save the human race from complete extinction, Noah spent almost 100 years building an ark without any water to be seen. To bring Messiah into the world, God told one man to leave everything familiar to him and move to a strange land and began the Hebrew nation (Abraham). To redeem Israel out of slavery, God used one man, Moses, to humble the most powerful man on Earth in Pharaoh. Gideon delivered Israel out of the hands of the Midianites with a vastly reduced army. Then of course, through the faithfulness of one Man, the entire human race was given the opportunity to gain eternal life and be spared from a fiery hell through His sacrificial death and resurrection. Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson starred in a movie in the 1990’s called “A Few Good Men” in which some in the U.S. army risked their own careers and exposed a scandal about the murder of a solider. God doesn’t even need a few but just one man with a willing heart.
Such a man can be found in Persia under King Ahasuerus. Mordechai, a devoutly observant Jew, overheard a plot to assassinate the king and probably risked his own life to report it. The plot was foiled and the king had a debt to pay. When Mordechai refused to bow down and pay homage to Haman, the king’s prime minister, Haman flew into a rage and satanically plotted to destroy all the Jews in the land (a bit of an overreaction one would think) . He cast lots (a lot is translated pur – thus the name of the festival Purim) to determine the date of the impending genocide. Mordechai told his cousin, Queen Esther of the plan and although she initially felt there was nothing she could do, Mordechai admonished her for her lack of faith and used the famous line “And who knows if you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Esth 4:14). Esther responded in faith as well and went to the king with the plot risking her own life since she wasn’t summoned first for if a subject wasn’t summoned and the king failed to extend his scepter to indicate acceptance, the law said that person was to be executed. Haman’s plot was exposed, he was executed and once again, God delivered His people.
One interesting note is that the book of Esther never mentions the name of God nor the words pray, worship, faith, etc. In fact, there is not one direct reference to God at all, yet we can see His divine hand orchestrating things throughout the entire story. All it took was for one man and woman to act in faith and once again, the nation of Israel was spared impending extinction.
In order for God to accomplish much, He uses very little, thus retaining the glory for Himself. He even chooses “the foolish things of this world to shame the wise.” (1Cor 1:27). Twelve disciples turned the world upside down. The question is what can God use you for? Only a step of faith can tell.