Have you ever heard that expression?—that ‘the tables have turned’? I tried to find out just exactly where it came from; and I found all kinds of different explanations. Some have said that it came from the world of chess—that, when one player gains a sudden victory over another player, the side of victory has shifted; and it’s said that the chess table had ‘turned’. Others have said that it came from the playing of cards—that one player is dealt a hand that puts him at an advantage; and that the situation at the table has ‘turned’. Some folks (who, if you ask me, had probably seen too many old movies) say that it came from those occasions when there was deceit and treachery at the dinner table—that when someone poisons the drink of an enemy, and when their back is turned and the enemy switches drinks, it is said that he had turned the tables on his would be assassin.
With all that said, I think we would all agree this expression simply implies that a favorable shift took place and we find this to be true for God’s people in the story we find in the book of Esther (7-9). In a nut shell, God’s people was literally headed to the slaughter, but God used a young beautiful and courageous woman name Esther to deliver His people from Haman’s diabolical plot!
In my opinion, the tables turned for Mordecai and the Jews when Esther made a conscious decision to step-out and step-up by faith. This is what she said, “After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish” (Esth 4:16). With this declaration, the pliant and obedient Esther became a woman of action.
The purpose of the Book of Esther is to demonstrate to Jews living in exile that it is possible to achieve success in the country of one’s exile without giving up one’s identity as a Jew.
Similarly, in the wake of the melting pot we as Christians face in our nation today, the Book of Esther solidifies that we don’t have to succumb to the perils that we know are lurking; in fact, Christians can thrive as Christians because we serve a God who is able to turn some tables (although the danger we may live in is also clearly acknowledged)!!