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Friday, September 13, 2013

Esther Bible Series- Chapter 5

Esther Chapter Five

Esther Chapter Five

Esther 5:1-2

Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the scepter.

There is so much symbolism in these two verses that I can’t help but get excited when I read them! I feel like a layer of scripture has been lifted to reveal the depth of God’s plan for man. I knew that there was symbolism in this story, but in these two verses alone there are three things to note:

A. Esther’s royal robe
B. The inner court
C. The golden scepter

(A) After fasting for three days, Esther approached the king in her “royal robe.”

In chapter one, we talked about a robe of righteousness that is imputed to us through faith in Jesus Christ. When we come to the throne of God, we cannot approach Him on our own merit as all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. ~ Isaiah 61:10, KJV

(B) Now let’s talk about “the inner court.”

The Old Testament Tabernacle as described in Exodus, was divided into three parts. There was an outer court surrounded by a wall, with a gate to enter in. Within that area was a tent known as the tabernacle. It consisted of two areas: the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies--a veil dividing one area from the other.

What we know from scripture is that the priests entered the Holy Place to make sacrifices, but the high priest—and only the high priest entered the Holy of Holies — once every year. This was known as “the day of atonement.”

Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people. ~ Hebrews 9:6-7, KJV

If anybody other than the high priest entered the holy of holies, he would have been put to death. Here the king’s inner court signifies the Holy of Holies. Esther knew that entrance to the room was punishable by death, unless she was invited there by the king himself. I can't help but be reminded of our relationship with God. It is only by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ that believers are united with God and invited to sit by His throne:

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:16

(C) The third thing we should look at is the golden scepter.

This represents the grace of God on those who believe. It’s through faith in Jesus Christ that we have access to the throne and peace with God.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. ~ Ephesians 2:8, KJV

Take a look at the following verses to see how well they are reflected in the story of Esther:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Hebrews 10:19-22, KJV

You see? I told you that those two verses were packed with symbolism. I’m excited to read more!

Esther 5:3-5

Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? And what is thy request? It shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom. And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him. Then the king said, Cause Haman to make haste, that he may do as Esther hath said. So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Here we see that Esther had a chance to save herself and gain riches, but rather than seeking his riches, she continued with the plan of salvation. She invited both the king and Haman to a banquet of wine. This is a wonderful example of how we can approach God in our prayer life. Unfortunately many believers use prayer in hopes of material gain, rather than pleading for salvation of the lost, and offering service to the King. This is not to say that we shouldn’t ask God to supply our needs - we should, but we must keep our focus in check since so many people are lost.

Consider your own prayer life.
1. Do you pray for unsaved people often, or do your prayers tend to be self centered?

Esther 5:6-8

And the king said unto Esther at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? even to the half of the kingdom it shall be performed. Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is; if I have found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my petition, and to perform my request, let the king and Haman come to the banquet that I shall prepare for them, and I will do to morrow as the king hath said.

Again the king offers Esther whatever she desires, and again Ether delays her request by inviting Haman and the king to a second banquet. Scripture doesn’t tell us why she delayed her request, but because all things worked out better than planned, I believe that it was a matter of God’s divine timing.

It could be that she had full intention of making her request known that night, but God has a way of changing our plans according to His wisdom. Either way, it is evident that His mighty hand was at work in her life.

Consider your life.

1. Have you seen evidence of God’s timing?

2. Do you wait upon the Lord, or do you tend to rush in to situations?

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31, KJV

Esther 5:9

Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.

The greater one’s ego, the harder he falls. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. ~ Proverbs 16:18, KJV

Matthew Henry’s Commentary says:
Self-admirers and self-flatterers are really self-deceivers. Haman, the higher he is lifted up, the more impatient he is of contempt, and the more enraged at it. The affront from Mordecai spoiled all. A slight affront, which a humble man would scarcely notice, will torment a proud man, even to madness, and will mar all his comforts.

Carefully examine your life to see where you may be driven by pride. It feels good to hang onto pride at the time, but the end it leads to destruction.

1. Are there situations in your life that you need to change so that you are handling them with humility?

Esther 5:10-14

Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king. Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate. Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.

Haman has everything he could possibly want, but because one thing is out of place--one thing isn’t going his way, he is angry. “Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.”

Remember how I said in chapter three that Haman and Mordecai represent the flesh at war with the spirit in a believer’s life? Here we see a strong example of that fleshy nature in the form of greed. Haman’s greed is a polar opposite to Esther’s desire for life.

We are warned against greed in scripture, while we are instructed to be content:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. ~ 1 Timothy 6:69, KJV

1. What things can you thank God for today?

Look for ways to be content and avoid the pitfalls of lust that lead to destruction.

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