Scripture

Esther 5:1-8

1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

3 Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

4 “If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”

5 “Bring Haman at once,” the king said, “so that we may do what Esther asks.”

So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. 6 As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

7 Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: 8 If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.”

Reflection

Esther fasted and prepared for this moment. She stands in the inner court where her life hangs in the balance. The golden scepter is extended which is the sign revoking the death sentence. To appear in the king’s inner court without being summoned is to forfeit your life unless the king extends his scepter. Xerxes is pleased to see Esther and offers her whatever she wishes up to half of the entire kingdom. It would seem now is as good of time as any to petition the king to save her people. How does she know if she’ll ever get another opportunity? Can you think of a time when you were waiting for an opportunity and as soon as the window opened you jumped in and tood advantage? In hindsight, was that the right time? Did you go about it the right way? 

Esther trusts how God has prepared her for this time. She also knows her opponent well. Throwing another banquet and feeding the bottomless appetites and vanities of Haman and Xerxes is a crucial first step before Esther answers the king’s question concerning her heart’s desire. Some plans take time. We shouldn’t always jump at the first opportunity. Before we can sing a new song or change careers or finish important work, we need to prepare by patiently waiting for the Lord who lifts us out of the chaos we’re prone to swim in and sets our feet upon the rock. As with Esther, he gives us a firm place to stand even in the midst of enemies. It’s really hard to do the right thing in the midst of opposition. Our surroundings seem to work against us. There is a simple lyric in a worship song that poignantly speaks the truth of God when we have battles to fight. “It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You.” I pray that’s a promise you can stand on today.

If you’d like to start your day with a song of worship, here is the aforementioned song.     

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).