Tombstone_courthouse_gallows 

RISK

The fate of all Israel is in the hands of Esther.  She must risk a death sentence to make a petition for her people against the death penalty advised by Haman.  She had obtained the prayer and fasting of the nation for her deliverance.  Now she prepared to present herself favorably before the king in his private court.

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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  Esther 5:1-5

Esther went all out with her best royal garments, and won favor from the king.  She observed the ritual of submission in touching the royal scepter.  The king was in love with a beautiful and supportive wife, and he was ready to give her wealth and power.  He recognized that a good wife is his better half, and that half of his kingdom really was hers by right.  But Esther was not going to push for power and wealth, presenting only a modest request.  She knew that she could wait on the Lord for the right time to make a greater request.

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.  Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is;  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 to morrow as the king hath said.  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.  Esther 5:6-9

Again the king expects Esther to seek the things that he treasures of the material world.  Haman is a witness with a full stomach and Esther only asks for him to attend another banquet.  After a great meal, he is willing to come back for more, and he leaves with joy at the good times coming to him.  Then he sees that Jew who has rejected the laws of Persia.  Mordecai cannot bow to man if he is to please God, so he is breaking a law of Persia.  Haman changes instantly from joy to hatred. 

Now this still happens today.  Don’t we see drivers who fail to signal turns or block the traffic lanes?  No matter that they are old and feeble; we want to have our perfect traffic world.  And young drivers racing over the speed limit earn wrath from the very people who did the exact same behavior in their youth.  Why do we let the “Accuser of the Brethren” take us on an instant trip from joy to hatred?  Should I lose the joy of walking my dog because one old goat screams about the dog taking a few steps on his lawn?  Or is the joy of the Lord unconditional?  Well, Haman had no such source of lasting joy.

Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife.  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.  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.  Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.  Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow 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. Esther 5:10-14

Haman is cooling off by telling his friends and family how good he has it.  It sounds like Facebook, grand dad is telling us all about his wonderful grandchildren and the joy of retirement life.  To top the good life off, he has favor with the king and queen…but

it all pales at the insult of one uppity Jew.   His whole life is soured by one thorn in his flesh, one obnoxious religious freak! 

I remember a children’s teacher who saw one of our young men serving as the youth pastor.  He was unable to forgive the young man’s past misbehavior in classes even now that he had turned to serve the Lord.  He was so angry about the past that he missed the joy of today.

Haman gets some advice to build a gallows and to ask the king to hang Mordecai on it.  His wife and friends seem ready to guide him as Jezebel guided Ahab…straight to Hell. 

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