TAKING UP “THE CHARGE” 11.03.20
What is meant by “taking up the charge”? What does it mean to be given a “charge”?
A “charge” involves the taking of responsibility, being entrusted with an assignment. It may be passed on by/from a previous leader, or it may simply be assigned from above, from someone in a higher level of authority, or from God Almighty, HIMSELF, as in: “If you will walk in My ways and keep My charge, then you will judge My House and watch over My courts and I will give you a place to walk among these standing here” (Zech.3:7). From this, we see a depiction of the concept of being given a “charge.” Alternate wordings of this passage, for instance use the phrase, “perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts” (NAS). The central thrust is that of taking over the command, as a General in the Army, or passing the torch, as from coach to athlete, teacher to student, employer to employee, etc.
Although there are many Biblical characters to choose from, by which this concept could be exemplified, STUDY CORNER will select Esther, since we have just posted an article on PURIM, and Esther conveniently comes to mind.
Somewhat differently from the way in which the mantle was passed on from Moses to Joshua and from Elijah to Elisha, Esther was directly given a special covering and assigned the special task of taking up the charge on behalf of all her people, the Jews, in the various areas known to them in/from/ surrounding Persia at that time. Upon Mordecai’s suggestion that Esther was in a unique position to do so, and that her life would not be spared if this edict went forth, Esther agreed to step up to the plate/take up the charge, and intercede on behalf of the Jewish population.
She wasted no time once she realized the seriousness of the situation. She requested her assistants to join her in a fast before she confronted the King. “Taking up the charge” involves tackling whatever it is that needs to be done, just as Esther did when she made the decision to: “go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” “Taking up the charge” does require a willingness to take whatever risk is involved.
She was willing to take that risk. Courageously, she approached the King, and “So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter” (Es.5:2). With boldness, she invited the King, and his right-hand-man, Haman, to “come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him” (Es.5:4). It was accepted.
Esther persevered. She hosted a second banquet, occurring after the edict designed to annihilate the Jewish population in Persia, for which Haman had elicited King Ahasuerus’ approval to. This was a second major risk, as she revealed her Jewish identity by doing so. In a spirit of humility, accompanied by considerable boldness, Esther requested that the King reverse the decree which would have her people exterminated. She said: “If I have found favour in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated”(Es.7:3,4).
Esther made a final petition when she approached the King yet again:
3 “Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews.
4 And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king,
5 and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces.
6 For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?”
7 Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “Indeed, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows because he tried to lay his hand on the Jews.
8 You yourselves write a decree concerning the Jews, as you please, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s signet ring; for whatever is written in the king’s name and sealed with the king’s signet ring no one can revoke.” (Es.8:3-8).
Esther, by this point, was completely aware that she had been brought forward “for such a time as this”
(Es.4:14), and was not about to shirk her responsibility.
When Paul was passing on the torch to Timothy, he instructed him: “I solemnly charge you— proclaim the Word! Be ready when it is convenient or inconvenient” (2 Tim.4:1,2).This indicates that being asked to take up the charge (whether directly by God Himself, or by a spiritual leader), it is not necessarily going to occur at one’s convenience or preference.
God’s people need to be prepared to deal with situations of conflict, false teachings, and backsliding: “Confront, rebuke, encourage—with complete patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not put up with sound instruction, but they will pile up for themselves teachers in keeping with their own desires, to have their ears tickled” (2 Tim.4:2,3). Paul instructs Timothy: “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy my son, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you, so that by them you fight the good fight.” Paul knew his time was approaching the end, and he needed Timothy to be ready to take over and carry on; in the same way, men and women now must be ready to step up to the plate and take over whatever they have seen their mentors, leaders, teachers do, and perhaps beyond what they may have had to do.
Taking up the “charge” invariably involves some level of risk, courage, and boldness, although not always to this degree. As these last days of the end times play out, there will be increasing needs, and calls upon God’s people to take up the charge in a variety of ways that in all probability will involve high levels of risk which are not necessarily known at this time. God’s people need to anticipate this, and make preparation for this by ensuring their relationship (with God the Father/Son/Holy Spirit) is in right standing.
2 Tim. 4:1-5
1 Tim. 1:18
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