June 13, 2004
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, Haman was promoted above all the princes that were with him (Esther 3:1-7). When his decree was proclaimed that all Jews would be destroyed, Mordecai urged Esther that she should go in to the king, to make supplication to him, and to make request before him for her people (4:8).No one knew that Esther was a Jew because Mordecai 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 come in to the king these thirty days (4:11). Esther could easily have reasoned: "If the king has lost interest in me or even 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 Vashti had done, or even losing her own life, was not as important as doing what she could to save her people.
After three days of fasting, queen Esther stood in the inner court of the king's house (5:1) and waited to see if she would face life or death The king welcomed her and offered to grant her request. She replied: If it seem good to the king, let the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him (5:4). The king accepted and then, at a second banquet, he again asked Esther what her request might be. He was shocked to hear her pleading for her own life: O king . . . let my life be given me . . . For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed. . . . The adversary (foe) and enemy is this wicked Haman (7:3-6). Angrily, the king said, Hang him. . . . So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai (7:9-10).
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. Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My (the Lord Jesus Christ's) sake and the Gospel's, the same shall save it (Mark 8:35).
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 (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.
Government Officials: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Del. Eleanor Norton (DC) · Country: Egypt (67 million) in northeastern Africa · Major languages: Arabic and English · Christians are not permitted to evangelize Muslims · 82% Muslim; 16% Coptic; .6% Protestant; .6% Roman Catholic
Prayer Suggestion: Have faith in God's Word (John 4:49-53).
Optional Reading: Galatians 2
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 1:17