A Day’s Journey – Queen Esther
“If I perish I perish,” (Esther 4:16). Formidable words spoken by a woman who rose from humble beginnings to become King Ahasuerus’ queen; ruler of one hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia. At that time there were Jews living in the provinces who’d been taken away from Jerusalem and forced into captivity. But this did not break their resolve and they were still God’s chosen people. King Ahasuerus also known as Xerxes, was ruler of a vast rich kingdom exuding splendour and great wealth. After a plot on his life was thwarted by Mordecai – a Jew and cousin to Queen Esther, King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, an enemy of the Jews, to a position of great power over all the other princes and dignitaries; second only to the King himself.
And while others bowed and paid homage to Haman, Mordecai refused. And this angered Haman to such an extent that he sought to take the most unimaginable revenge on not just one man, but on a nation – genocide. But unbeknown to Haman, these were no ordinary people. These were God’s chosen people, so no it was not possible to destroy, kill or annihilate them as was his intention.
By this time, Queen Esther had reigned for approximately five years with King Ahasuerus, who had been on the throne for twelve years. So, Haman obtaining permission from the king passed a royal decree to destroy the Jews. But the king had been misinformed. Haman had accused the Jews of refusing to keep the king’s laws, and during those days the king’s laws were absolute and could not be broken, not even by the king himself.
Mordecai discovered Haman’s plans and began expressing his grief outside the palace walls. This came to the attention of Queen Esther who sent one of the eunuchs attending her to go and find out what was troubling Mordecai. On his return, Hathach the eunuch, revealed Haman’s plans to her with a request from Mordecai for her to go before the king and try to stop the slaughter of the Jewish people. But Queen Esther was concerned for her life. According to the law it was not permitted to go before the king if he had not summoned you, and even the queen was bound by this law. Anyone who went into the king’s inner court without being summoned by him would be put to death, unless the king held out his golden sceptre to save that person’s life, [Esther 4].
So how did a humble Jewish woman save a nation all by herself, without ever leaving the confines of her palace; without an army or weapons and more importantly without any casualties or collateral damage?
Here’s how Queen Esther saved the Jewish people from certain destruction. She prepared both physically and spiritually. She did not believe in herself, or the influence she might have on the king; but she did believe in the power and might of Jehovah God! She sent instructions to all the Jewish people to fast with her for a single purpose – their delivery from certain death. They were to go without food or water for three days and nights: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” [Esther 4:16]. Learn more on the essence of fasting and prayer in: The Best Journey Ever: A Simple Guide Through Christianity – release date 31st March 2021.
And so Esther, her maids and all the Jewish people in the land, fasted and prayed for three days and nights, and on day three Esther prepared herself physically by putting on her royal robes to enter the king’s inner court. The king not only held out the golden sceptre to Queen Esther but he was willing to give her whatever she wanted up to half of his kingdom. But Queen Esther didn’t rush in with her requests, she prepared the king for what she was about to ask of him by displaying great patience. She prepared a private banquet for the king and Haman with choice foods and drinks but did not ask anything of him on that day. Instead she invited them both to dine with her again the following day. For while Queen Esther waited patiently for the right time to present her request to the king, God was working silently in the background. It was in that twenty-four hour period that God’s intervention turned everything around for Queen Esther and the Jewish people.
While we work in the foreground, God works silently in the background! When God makes things happen in your life it is never a coincidence, it is always intentional. To say a lot happened that night is an understatement! King Ahasuerus was troubled in his spirit and could not sleep. This is God working in the midnight hours. You have to ask yourself why the king would suddenly feel restless, unable to sleep, requesting the book of records to be brought to him in the night hours while he was in bed. This was a revelation that God revealed to the king leading him to the truth about the plot on his life. That in fact it was Mordecai who discovered the plot and who should have been rewarded.
And while King Ahasuerus is coming to the realisation that Mordecai – a Jew, saved his life; Haman with his wife and friends are plotting Mordecai’s downfall. They built a gallows with the intention of hanging Mordecai the very next day before Queen Esther’s banquet. But as the series of events unfold, God’s plans for His people reaches its zenith when King Ahasuerus rises the next morning with the intention of bestowing great honour on Mordecai for saving his life. And Haman also rises but with sinister intentions to gain the king’s permission to hang Mordecai from the gallows he had built! But the king approaches Haman asking him what he should do to show great honour to a special man. Haman thinking that the king wanted to honour him advised King Ahasuerus to place royal robes on the person to be honoured. He continues advising the king to place the man on a royal horse displaying the royal crest, and let one of the king’s most important dignitaries lead him through the streets proclaiming that the king is giving this man the greatest honour possible. And so it was. This greatest honour to be placed on a Jew was devised by the greatest enemy of the Jewish people – Haman.
At this point Queen Esther has not yet revealed anything to the king about the plight of the Jews, but the three days and nights of fasting has already mobilised God’s power and might in the protection of His people. So Queen Esther waits patiently for the the King and Haman to arrive at her private banquet on the second day, before asking the king to spare her life and the life of her people. Now neither the king nor Haman were aware that Queen Esther was a Jew; and the king was greatly angered by the revelation that someone would have the audacity to try to kill his queen.
And as the events unfold, King Ahasuerus gave the order for Haman to be hung on the very gallows he built to hang Mordecai. Mordecai is then promoted to Haman’s position and given permission by the king to send out a new decree to counteract the one sent out by Haman. For the law passed by Haman could not be retracted, so a new law had to be sent through the provinces giving the Jews permission to defend themselves from the imminent attacks.
And so it was that Esther also called Hadassah, rose from humble beginnings, became queen to a vast kingdom, saved the Jewish people and lived her day in the fullness and blessings of the Lord. Where ever you are, what ever your circumstances you can fulfil your destiny, just like Queen Esther… as long as God is in it with you. Remember we do all things through His power and His might and not ours!
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The Book of Esther