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The Scriptorium

A Contrast of Character

God at work in and through Esther. Esther 5.1-14

Return from Exile: Esther 1-5 (6)

Pray Psalm 64.1-4.
Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation;
Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
And bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words,
That they may shoot in secret at the blameless;
Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.

Sing Psalm 64.1-4.
(Gordon: My Jesus, I Love Thee)
O Lord, hear my voice; Savior, listen to me!
Preserve me from dread of my adversary.
Conceal me from all the counsel of my foes,
from all of my tumult and all of my woes.

Their tongues, like a sword they have sharpened with shame.
Their most bitter words now like arrows they aim.
They shoot from concealment at those who are Yours.
They shoot without fear for they know no remorse.

Read and meditate on Esther 5.1-14.

1. What was Esther’s request?

2. How did Haman react to Mordecai?

What a contrast of character is presented in Esther and Haman! Esther denied herself, knowing her action might lead to her death (4.10, 11). She denied her own interest to care for the wellbeing of others, her people. God honored her courage and humility by turning the king’s heart favorably toward her and granting her an audience with the king (5. 1-3; cf. Prov. 21.1). Rather than blurt out her concern, she made herself a servant to the king and Haman, biding her time to reveal her true purpose (vv. 3-8).

Haman, on the other hand, was all about himself. Even Mordecai’s refusal to “stand or tremble” before him, though it irritated him greatly, did not deflate his over-inflated ego (vv. 9-11). So determined to revenge himself against Mordecai was he that he decided to bypass his original plan and just ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on gallows for all to see (vv. 12-14).

Courageous or cowardly. Servant or scoundrel. Self-denying or self-serving. Thinking of others or thinking only of self. These choices face us every day. Fools and narcissists will always have creeps and cronies to egg them on (v. 14). Courageous and humble servants often must proceed alone. Except, as they trust in the Lord, they are never alone. Let your character be like Esther’s. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
“Now it happened on the third day…” (Esth. 5.1).

Just as Jesus rose victorious on the third day (Jn. 2.20, 21; Matt. 28.1; Mk. 16.2; Lk. 24.1; Jn. 20.1), so Esther arose after three days of fasting to proceed with her life. She dressed appropriately for the occasion by putting on her royal robes and set out on her mission. She went to the inner court of the king’s palace, across from his house. And he “just happened to be” sitting on his throne facing the inner court. And he saw her. (How many popular songs have been written about just such a moment!)

But this scene should also cause us to reflect on the promises we have about approaching the royal throne of God. We are to put on the righteous clothing of Jesus Christ (Rom. 13.14; Phil. 3.9; Rev. 3.18), to cover our sin, dressed appropriately for the occasion, as we stand before God to entreat His favor. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4.14-16). God has held out the entrance scepter to us (Esth. 5.2).

And then King Ahasuerus invited her into his chambers. And he spoke. “What do you wish, Queen Esther?” (Esth. 5.3). He welcomed her in and called her by name. In His grace, God similarly speaks to us: “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you…and He who formed you: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine” (Is. 43.1).

“…the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Prov. 15.8).
“…He loves him who follows righteousness” (Prov. 15.9).
“…He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Prov. 15.29).
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” (Jn. 15.16).
“…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” (Eph. 1.4).

Because of Jesus, we can step into God’s Presence.
Because of grace, we are welcomed.
Because of love, He chose us and knows us by name.
Only He knows why…but amazingly, we are His.

For reflection
1. How should a believer deal with the fear of men?

2. How can you tell when you are becoming more self-centered than others-centered? What should you do then?

3. Where does courage come from? What can you do to become a more courageous person?

Esther having had power with God, and prevailing, like Jacob, had power with men too. He that will lose his life for God, shall save it, or find it in a better life. The king encouraged her. Let us from this be encouraged to pray always to our God, and not to faint.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Esther 5.1-8

Pray Psalm 64.5-10.
Pray for the enemies of God, the Gospel, and the Church, that their efforts to persecute our fellow Christians will come to naught, and that God will be glorified as our enemies are brought low. Pray for their salvation.

Sing Psalm 64.5-10.
(Gordon: My Jesus, I Love Thee)
They plot wicked ways and lay snares secretly.
Their purpose is evil: they do harm to me.
Injustice and schemes of great evil they keep.
The thoughts and the hearts of my enemies are deep.

But God will His arrows against them let fly
to wound and convict them and humble their pride.
They stumble and falter, their tongues He will break,
and all who observe them, their heads they will shake.

Then all men will fear and declare of the Lord
His works and the power of His almighty Word.
The righteous rejoice in the Lord’s gracious ways.
And shelter beneath Him and offer Him praise.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Two books can help us understand our own captivity and lead us to seek revival and renewal in the Lord. The Church Captive asks us to consider the ways the Church today has become captive to the world. And Revived! can help us find the way to renewal. Learn more and order your free copies by clicking here and here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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