The Ways Of The Heart

Esther’s Request to the King

1 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

“If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”

“Bring Haman at once,” the king said, “so that we may do what Esther asks.”

So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.”

Haman’s Rage Against Mordecai

Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.

Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.”

14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits,[a] and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.” This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up.

What was the verse that caught your attention today? Why?

In the first 8 verses we see Esther preparing to talk to the king about the decree that was made by Haman to kill all the Jews. I love how the Lord makes the kings heart so soft towards Esther. “Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you.” He absolutely did not have to treat Esther in this way, but the Lord orchestrated this all so beautifully.

Now, let’s look at a heart that is not so soft, Haman. His heart is one of hatred and bitterness, we see that in verses 9-14. Let’s look at what our application says about this section: “Haman was so consumed with hatred toward Mordecai that he could not even enjoy the honor of being invited to Esther’s party. Hebrews 12:15 warns us to watch out ‘that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many’. Don’t let hatred and its resulting bitterness build in your heart. Like Haman, you will find it backfiring against you.” And to make it worse, his closest people to him, agreed with how he was acting, in fact they encouraged him to kill Mordecai. To me this a reflection not just of our hearts not hanging onto bitterness, but also a way for us to look at who we are surrounding ourselves with… is it people that are going to guide you when your heart isn’t in the right place to keep going, or is it people who will gently tell you the truth and encourage you? Have you ever had an experience that you could relate to Haman?

Heavenly Father, Lord, thank you for showing us these different people, with totally different hearts. We see Esther preparing to fight for her people, we see the king have a soft heart towards her and we see Haman, an evil man who’s heart is full of hatred. Convict us Lord when our hearts are starting to look like Haman’s; when we are holding onto to bitterness or hatred; help us to move forward in that. Guide our hearts Lord, allow the spirit the lead us. Help us Lord to reflect Esther and to have a desire to fight; to stand up for what is right. We continue our prayer God that you allow the spirit within us to lead us and guide us each and every day. We pray for a community around us that encourages us, reminds us of what is right and gently shares the truth with us; we need those people and we pray you open our hearts to receive them. It’s in your mighty name we pray, AMEN!

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