Welcome to week 12 of our Esther series – we are nearing the last few weeks now and we can sense the story is starting to pick up pace! This week Esther’s plan has been put into action, and this is what she does:
“If the king regards me with favour and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfil 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.”
I think there are three key parts to her plan to save herself and her people:
It was mentioned this week about how powerful the King was, that he clearly didn’t always make considered and well thought out decisions and that he could be quite rash in his reactions. So Esther is wise in her approach to the King, after being allowed to approach him. She talks with respect and honour, and uses flattery to ensure that she is well regarded by him. If she uses the wrong words here then everything would be over for her and her people – she cannot afford to make a mistake. And so to read this out loud it sounds so over the top to me! But I guess if you were in front of someone who had the power to take your life there and then, you would be extra sure that you said the right thing, wouldn’t you?
Who can resist a good meal? With a fully belly the King was much more likely to regard her request favourably, and Esther would be able to request and prepare for him everything she knew he liked. I asked our Facebook Community what they would cook in a banquet that would save their lives, and roast lamb, lasagne, pancakes and sticky toffee pudding were some of the options suggested (and I very much approve of all of those!!!). You would definitely choose the best things, the richest ingredients or the dishes that the king really enjoys. We were reminded of the phrase “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!”, and although this is just a saying , there is some truth in that enjoying a good meal puts you in a better mood, and that being hungry makes people agitated and more easily annoyed. So Esther is once again wise in her approach and making sure everything is on her side and that the king is in a good mood when she asks.
How often as women do we want to rush in and fix things, get things sorted straight away or just blurt out whatever we are thinking? But Esther has the wisdom again to take her time with this. Yes, she could ask him there and then in his throne room, but Esther is not to be rushed. If she is patient then the circumstances surrounding her asking will be better, and not just out of the blue. The answer is more likely to yes. Just as with the praying and fasting, Esther takes her time. What decisions are you rushing to be made when you should have a bit of patience in making them?
I think also there is a bit of Esther that wants to spend some more time with the King so he remembers just why he fell in love with her. Although he is favourable to her in the throne room, after a long time apart she would be wanting to spend some more time with him and remember what he was like too.
plan to succeed
Esther clearly had a plan in mind – whether that was one she had thought up or one that God had revealed to her through her prayer and fasting period, we don’t know. She didn’t just rush in and see what happened, but it using techniques to try to ensure she gets the outcome that both she and the whole Jewish nation need. Maybe this is something we need to consider in our own lives – we need to plan to succeed and not just wing things all the time!
We skip over a large section of the story (so do skim read Chapter 5 and 6 if you have time) to get to this verse next week:
“Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favour with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life-this is my petition. And spare my people-this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.” Esther 7:3-4
Please do join me at 8pm on Monday evening for a Facebook Live discussion to start the week off, and share your thoughts in our Facebook Group.