5 On the third day Esther put her royal robes on. She stood in the inner courtyard of the palace. It was in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall. He was facing the entrance. 2 He saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard. He was pleased with her. So he reached out toward her the gold rod that was in his hand. Then Esther approached him. She touched the tip of the rod. 3 The king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What do you want? I’ll give it to you. I’ll even give you up to half of my kingdom.” 4 Esther replied, “King Xerxes, if it pleases you, come to a big dinner today. I’ve prepared it for you. Please have Haman come with you.” 5 “Bring Haman at once,” the king said to his servants. “Then we’ll do what Esther asks.” So the king and Haman went to the big dinner Esther had prepared. 6 As they were drinking wine, the king asked Esther the same question again. He said, “What do you want? I’ll give it to you. What do you want me to do for you? I’ll even give you up to half of my kingdom.” 7 Esther replied, “Here is what I want. Here is my appeal to you. 8 I hope you will show me your favor. I hope you will be pleased to give me what I want. And I hope you will be pleased to listen to my appeal. If you are, I’d like you and Haman to come tomorrow to the big dinner I’ll prepare for you. Then I’ll answer your question.” 9 That day Haman was happy. So he left the palace in a good mood. But then he saw Mordecai at the palace gate. He noticed that Mordecai didn’t stand up when he walked by. In fact, Mordecai didn’t have any respect for him at all. So he burned with anger against him. 10 But Haman was able to control himself. He went on home. Haman called his friends and his wife Zeresh together. 11 He bragged to them about how rich he was. He talked about how many sons he had. He spoke about all of the ways the king had honored him. He bragged about how the king had given him a higher position than any of the other nobles and officials had. 12 “And that’s not all!” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to come with the king to the big dinner she gave. Now she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 “But even all of that doesn’t satisfy me. I won’t be satisfied as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the palace gate.” 14 Haman’s wife Zeresh and all of his friends spoke up. They said to him, “Get a pole. In the morning, ask the king to have Mordecai put to death. Have the pole stuck through his body. Set it up at a place where it will be 75 feet above the ground. Everyone will be able to see it there. Then go to the dinner with the king. Have a good time.” Haman was delighted with that suggestion. So he got the pole ready.
Esther puts on her royal robes – takes a deep breath and goes before the king without being called. She puts on 2 banquets for the king and also invites Haman. Haman is so buzzed that he alone has been invited along with the king that he can’t wait to get home and tell his wife and all his friends how wonderful he is! The only buzz-kill is Mordecai, who still won’t bow to him. And so another plan is hatched to kill Mordecai even sooner than the first plan.
I can’t imagine the fear and courage it took for Esther to present herself before the king – knowing it could be instant death. It’s one thing to wait for death to come – as had been decreed – it’s another to step into it in advance. Contrast for me is the picture of another King – Jesus – who we will all stand before – where I don’t have to wait in fear of a golden rod, & if I will find favour or not – but where I can come freely, in perfect confidence and peace of full acceptance, joy & freedom into the presence of the King.
Thank you Father for the courage & sacrifice of Jesus that now allows me to stand in your presence without fear, in perfect acceptance.
Written by Suzie Hodgson