Soul And Spirit

Chapter 4 ends with Esther standing outside the palace door, wondering if the king would invite her to enter or if she would die.

Esther 5:1-4. “ 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. 2: 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 sceptre. 3: 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. 4: 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.”

Here’s a neat thing. She went to see the king on the third day, dressed in her royal robes that indicated her position in the kingdom. Throughout Scripture the third day is always the day of resurrection, the beginning of new life. When the believers are called to be with King Jesus, we’ll be welcomed with open arms. We’ll be dressed in royal robes of pure white that symbolize perfect redemption and we’ll be carrying palm branches that symbolize joy, peace and victory. Revelation 7:9: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”

When Esther came in all her beauty, the king was ready to grant her desires immediately.

She surrendered her will and approached the king. She could have been rejected but was accepted without punishment or reservation.

It’s a beautiful picture of the fact that the Holy Spirit always approaches us on the basis of a risen life, and when the Holy Spirit bids you surrender your will on any particular point, he doesn't punish you. He welcomes you with loving grace.

Verses 5-8. “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. 6: 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. 7: Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is; 8: 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 tomorrow as the king hath said.”

The banquet was ready and Haman was told to come. When the king asked what she wanted and promised again that he would fulfill any wish she had, Esther just said that she would tell him the next day at a second banquet.

She had come to ask the king to somehow stop this planned annihilation of the Jews that had been ordered in the king’s name by Haman.

There is no definate explanation in Scripture why Esther didn’t confront Haman in front of the king at the first banquet. Maybe she was afraid the king might side with Haman or she may of had second thoughts about telling the king that she was a Jew.

There are a couple of possible reasons suggested in this account as to why she didn’t force the issue and we can make application of them to situations in the life of the believer.

First, God is never content with a decision that’s based on emotions alone. We have seen that Haman can influence the king as easily as Esther can. If decisions are based on emotions only, they’ll shift back and forth whichever way the wind blows.

Some Christians are like that but that isn’t what God wants. God frequently delays His response in order to give us time to think the matter through, to let our understanding catch up with our faith and then He gives us a definite answer.

If we are going to grow in grace we need to be lead by faith and not by our emotions. By God’s grace, we’ll gain understanding of His will for us is in every situation. John 8:32 "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,"

A second possible reason for Esther’s delay shows up in the next verses of this chapter. Haman’s influence on the king had to be dealt with. Remember, in our lives, Haman pictures Satan and his influence on our lives that has to be dealt with.

Verses 9-14. “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. 10: Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. 11: 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. 12: 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. 13: Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate. 14: Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and tomorrow 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 was excited at the turn of events and his supposed good fortune but Mordecai, the Jew, was still a thorn in his side because he refused to bow down to him. That made him so angry that he couldn’t really enjoy his good fortune.

He called his family and friends together and started boasting. He had amassed a fortune. He boasted of his large family. He had been recognized for his importance in the kingdom by no less than the queen and he wanted to remind everybody he was a high ranking official in the Persian government. He topped it off by telling them that he was to be the honored guest at a private banquet with the king and queen. But one sour note remained, Mordecai.

Haman's wife, Zeresh, and all his friends suggested he build a gallows 50 cubits
(75 feet) high and hang Mordecai on it. If he could accomplish this before the banquet, there would be nothing left to bother him when he went to the feast.

Pressure from his wife and friends forced him to show his hand. His wanted to do away with Mordecai’s influence on Esther and the king.

This pictures Satan versus the Holy Spirit.

This gallows was probably a stake that the victim would be impaled on. It was built very high so the person on the stake would be visible from all directions to prove Haman’s power. With Mordecai gone, Haman thought there wouldn’t be any organized opposition from the Jews, and he would be rid of the ancient enemies of the Agagites forever. The situation between Haman and Mordecai was coming to a head real fast. Remember, Haman was next to the king in power and Mordecai was only one of many city judges that sat in the gate of the palace.

Things were looking bad for Mordecai and all God’s people including Esther but God was at work behind even such a hateful act as building a gallows to hang a man just because he was a Jew. God was going to use that gallows, but not to hang Mordecai.

At times we may see God’s timing as delay but He was using the time to give the flesh an opportunity to grow puffed up with a sense of its own importance and to come out in an arrogant way that even surprises and shocks us when we see how rotten and evil the flesh is. When we’re involved, that’s when we realize it’s our enemy. Proverbs says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall," (Proverbs 16:18).

At times, the Holy Spirit has to make us realize what is going on in our hearts to expose a problem that is there. Things that come from our sinful nature, (the Haman in us), are self-centered and feed on pride, and pride always blinds us to the truth.

I read about a nurse who was working in a hospital and something happened that upset her, and she exploded and verbally abused a patient. Her supervisor happened to hear what she said and called her in and said, "I didn't realize you were this kind of a person." She said, "Oh, this wasn't really me. It was simply that I was under a lot of pressure at the time and what he said triggered my reaction. I'm not really like that."

Her supervisor said, "If you were carrying a glass full of water down the hall and I bumped your arm, what would spill out?" She said, "whatever was in the glass.” He said, "Exactly. The only thing that can spill out is what is in the glass already!"

This is what Jesus meant when He said, in Matthew 15:11; “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

There are hateful things down inside us (the Haman in us) and as long as they remain, there is no way we can live our lives for Christ.

Sometimes the kindest thing God can do is allow us to be in a situation where we get so puffed up with pride that we act in some way that shocks even us. That’s when we see what’s inside us and can deal with it according to the blueprint God has designed for us.

God has stated that, in the unsaved state, there’s something in each of us that would very willingly put Jesus Christ to death again if we could. Our sin is the enemy that put Jesus Christ on the cross, and sinful man would do it again if he had the chance. God, in His grace, shows us what we really are. When we recognizing what we are in honest, realistic terms, then God has a plan for taking care of it. Our moment of victory comes when we recognize and accept Christ as our Savior and not as our enemy.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to the cross of Calvary to shed His blood and die for our sins. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4: And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

God has always required a blood sacrifice for sin. In Hebrews it states that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins, and only the sinless blood of Jesus Christ could save us from our sins. If you acknowledge your sins and accept the forgiveness God offers through the shed blood of His Son, you’ll be saved from hell for eternity.

In Chapter 6, God’s plan to save the Jews in the Persian Kingdom from certain annihilation is revealed.