Read Esther 4 -- 7
In Today's Reading:
Fasting among the Jews; Esther's banquet for Haman and the king; Haman forced to honor Mordecai; Haman executed
About five years after Esther became queen, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman above all the officials in his kingdom. Everyone was expected to bow down to him, but Mordecai refused. Because of this, Haman craftily arranged for a decree to be proclaimed that all Jews were to be killed. Upon learning this, Mordecai sent a messenger to Esther, urging her to go before the king and ask him to spare the Jews (Esther 4:8). No one knew that Esther was a Jew because Mordecai previously had forbidden her to reveal her nationality. Esther was fearful and reminded him that Persian law stated that anyone who approached the king uninvited could be put to death. The risk was real, for she had not been called to see the king for more than a month (4:11). Esther could easily have reasoned: "If the king has lost interest in me or has discovered that I am a Jew, how could I favorably influence him?" But Esther believed that the risk of losing her prestigious position as queen, as Vashti had done, or even her own life, was not as important as doing what she could to save her people.
After three days of fasting, queen Esther walked into the inner court of the palace and waited to see if she would face life or death. The king extended his scepter to welcome her. Ignoring his offer of up to half his kingdom, Esther requested only that the king and Haman attend a banquet that she would prepare for them (5:4).
The king and an overjoyed Haman accepted. Then, at a second banquet, when the king again asked Esther for her request, he was shocked to hear her pleading for the lives of her people, as well as her own life. She told him how Haman had cleverly arranged for the murder of all the Jews (7:3-6). Angrily, the king commanded: "Hang him!" So they hanged Haman on the 75-foot-high gallows which he had prepared to hang Mordecai (7:9-10).
In God's eternal plan, each of us has been born "for such a time as this." Esther is an encouragement to all of us to use whatever talents, position, popularity, or wealth we have been blessed with to tell a lost world that our King gave His life to save them from the eternal torment of hell (Matthew 22:13-14; 24:50-51; 25:30).
By Esther, whose death was demanded by others although she was innocent. She went before the king's court willing to die for her people (Esther 3:6-14; 4:16). Jesus also was innocent and His death was demanded by others (Mark 15:13-14). He was taken before rulers and was willing to die for His people — and He did die for them and for all mankind (Luke 23:8; John 10:17-18; I John 2:2).
4:1 rent = tore, as an act of grief and mourning; 6:13 be of the seed of the Jews = is of Jewish origin; 7:4 countervail = justify, compensate, or make up for; 7:5 that durst = who dares to.
Pray for Youth With A Mission and Ron Boehme · The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Thomas & Mary Beaghen · BPM Staff: Charity Ryan · Government Officials: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Del. Eleanor Norton (DC) · Country: Finland (5 million) in northern Europe · Major languages: Finnish and Swedish · Religious freedom · 91% Protestant; 1% Eastern Orthodox; 1% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Unite with others in prayer; God will bring your request to pass (Matthew 18:19-20).
Optional Reading: Galatians 2
Memory Verse for the Week: II Timothy 3:16