We are on Esther Chapter 5 of our bible study. This is the sixth installment on a bible study series on the book of Esther.
Esther 5:1-8, (NIV)
Esther’s Request to the King
5 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.”
I’ve read the story of Esther many times. Yet, on this read, something stood out to me that I had not noticed before.
“On the third day…” I’ve seen that elsewhere in scripture.
We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen–by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
Esther and her people fasted food and drink for three days. They prayed for mercy. They died to their human, earthly, flesh-filled needs and they resurrected their souls.
I believe that what Esther and the Jews did restored them to a right position with God. They were down on their faces in abject worship. They were finally in a place to receive a revival. A fresh breath of life from the very lips of God.
Is there something you’ve been hoping for? Praying for? We serve a God of resurrection. Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead so that we could live an eternity in His presence.
And before Christ ascended into heaven, he walked the earth – the here and now (not eternity) so that we could have the hope of resurrected lives in this life. We stand to be restored to Him, revived by Him and resurrected even in these earthly bodies in our day-to-day lives. Esther was. The Jews of Persia were. So can you and I, and so can our entire nation if we will just submit ourselves in prayer.
I can’t just pray asking God to deliver this, or do that… I am in the wrong position if I do. I have to ask him to change me, so that I can serve His will; carry out His desires. And if I’m not ready to do that, I start by praying that He changes my heart so that what I want will match up with what He wants for my life. He wants me to follow Him. I need to surrender to all that is in me, and my selfish flesh, and secure His cup, so that when my heart is empty, He is the only one that fills it.
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…
Who is sitting on the royal throne? Is it the king of Persia? Yes.
But Who is truly sitting on the Throne?
Revelation 4 (NIV), The Throne in Heaven
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass,clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Esther’s appeal was not to an earthly king, but a heavenly one. Who else could change the heart of a man who cared more about protocol than his own wife (remember Vashti)?
Esther and the Jews of Persia had captured the mercy of a loving God and He was pleased.
Esther so walks in the power of the spirit that even though she may have been weakened by her fast or food and drink she manages to orchastrate a banquet for the king that same evening. She also follows the Lord’s leading by not revealing Hamen’s wicked scheme during the first banquet. Esther no longer relies on her own timing but on God’s timing and she feels led to host a second banquet.
How I wish I could walk in such wisdom every day. I am a work in progress. But what these verses have reminded me is that I serve a King of new resurrected life. I need a fresh resurrection every day.
What areas of your walk need a fresh breath of life from the very lips of God? Has Esther’s example been a reminder of which King we serve? In what areas of your life do you need to surrender? Make a plan to set aside time for prayer and reflection. Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.
I pray Hosea 6:2 for you. That you are fully restored to Him and experiencing life in His presence.
In His Grip,
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Images are from the movie “One Night with the King”. The movie plays out in elaborate detail the drama of the story of Esther. It’s fun to watch and a great catalyst for discussing the story of Esther.
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