Scripture

Esther 7

So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet, 2 and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

3 Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4 For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”

5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he—the man who has dared to do such a thing?”

6 Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!”

Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. 7 The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.

8 Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.

The king exclaimed, “Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”

As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.”

The king said, “Impale him on it!” 10 So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.

Reflection

Esther bravely stands her ground and becomes God’s agent of deliverance. As Haman is destroyed by the very thing he had made, I’m reminded of the words from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s mid-nineties hit “Why Walk When You Can Fly?” 

“In this world there's a whole lot of trouble baby

In this world there's a whole lot of pain

In this world there's a whole lot of trouble but

A whole lot of ground to gain

Why take when you could be giving?

Why watch as the world goes by?

It's a hard enough life to be living

Why walk when you can fly?”

While I’m not sure that Mary has a Kingdom of God mindset, she shares the truth about the reality of injustice and pain so prevalent in our world. Until Christ comes again, it will continue to appear like the wicked prosper. We’re reminded daily how our stories don’t always end like this part of Esther with the wicked being punished and lives being saved. Many live under the illusion that there are no consequences in life. Our world can sometimes trick us into believing this is the truth but it isn’t. Even though it appears, at times, that darkness prevails, it is but a momentary shadow. Jesus is coming on the clouds to establish peace and justice forever. No one will escape the righteous and merciful Judge who will sort us all out in the end. Nothing can stand against him. So let’s not walk through today tired and defeated. Let’s not walk through today discouraged by everything that’s wrong. Instead, let’s cast our cares upon the Lord and focus on everything that is right with Him! Why walk when we can fly?   

“Do you not know?

 Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

    the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

    and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary

    and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,

    and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord

    will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

 they will run and not grow weary,

 they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31). 

Prayer

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise (from Psalm 51).