A Game of Chess Begins – Who Wins?

A Game of Chess Begins – Who Wins?

WEEK 34:

Esther 5:1-14 1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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. 7 Then answered Esther, and said, My petition and my request is; 8 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. 9 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. 10 Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. 11 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. 12 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. 13 Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate. 14 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.        

Chapter 5 tells us that the king not only held out the golden sceptre to save her life, he also said that he would grant anything she asked of him, even to half the kingdom (verses 2-3). She invited the king and Haman to a banquet that day. At that banquet, she told the king that she would inform him of her desire at another banquet the next day, and she again asked that Haman should be invited to hear her request (verses 7-8).

FAVOUR!!! Esther puts off her mourning cloths after three days and three nights of fasting, and she went to the king’s inner court of the king’s house. Upon seeing her, the king immediately puts forth the golden sceptre in his hands…………and Esther obtained favour in his sight (Esther 5:2).

The king knows the fact that Esther approached him without being called into his presence – whatever she required of him must be of the utmost importance. She had lived in the palace long enough to know that you just don’t go into the king’s presence uninvited unless perhaps you are tired of life and you want to end it all. The king does not beat around the bush. He asks her immediately – what wilt thou, queen Esther? And what is thy request? It shall be given thee to the half of the kingdom (Esther 5:3). The king is not holding back here. Whatever Esther wants shall be granted onto her – even up to the half of his kingdom.

I am of the opinion that Esther knew the king would extend the golden sceptre to her. How do I know? I believe that during her three days and three nights of seeking the LORD God diligently, no eating, no drinking – she must have heard from the LORD. Esther – take it one step at a time. Don’t just rush in and tell the king about that evil Haman. WAIT – until I direct you of what to say and when to say it. I believe the LORD spoke to Esther’s heart and also told her to prepare a banquet before she goes to meet the king. If Esther was going to lose her life, why would she prepare a banquet for the king and Haman before the king stretched out the golden sceptre? It is my belief that the LORD is again working behind the scenes, and He spoke to heart to tell her to prepare a banquet first before going to the king. I wouldn’t put it pass the LORD speaking to king Ahasuerus heart too, and ordering him to put forth the golden spectre. Remember – it’s God’s turn on the Chess board right now. Haman has made a number of moves thus far. God is moving around the pawns; the king; the queen; the bishops – all the Chess pieces are in the LORD’s hand.

Proverbs 21:1: The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.

Having already prepared the banquet, Esther’s reply to the king was straightforward. She wanted the king and Haman to dine with her at the banquet she had prepared. The king agrees, and he summons Haman. Think about this for a moment. Esther is knowingly dining and eating and drinking with a man whom she knows wants her dead. No doubt she had to make polite talk at the banquet. Personally, I would have been squirming. It would have taken all that I had not to blurt out there and then in front of the king how Haman wanted her people dead……..including her. What restraint Esther exhibited. This could only come from God. To have such a calm demeanour – to be feasting with your adversary.

James 1:5: If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God; that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth nit, and it shall be given him.

This wisdom that Esther demonstrated was a Godly kind of wisdom. Her life has been spared, and she has been granted the opportunity to have a banquet with the king and Haman. The king has already asked her what her petition was (Esther 5:3). She has told him. She wants them to attend a banquet that she has already prepared. How did Esther know that the king was going to ask her the same question again? Monarchs are busy people. They don’t really have that much time. He was a king of 127 provinces. Why did Esther take that risk believing that the king would ask her a second time “what is thy petition”? (Esther 5:6). Could God have just moved His king on the Chess board? Did God put it in the king’s heart to ask Esther a second time? I think so!

Prayer AND fasting is so powerful. Humbling yourself before the LORD. Seeking His face. Asking Him. Petitioning Him. Denying your flesh what you crave for the most regularly – food and drink. Esther and her people humbled themselves before the LORD for 72 hours. There is no way that the LORD would not hear their cry, their sorrow, and their heartfelt emotions. He would come through for them. I believe the LORD granted Esther extra doses of wisdom; meekness and patience. How else would she be able to contain herself without blurting out Haman’s evil intention on her and her people? It had to be God. God’s timing is so important. This was not the time to inform the king. The LORD had other moves to make on the Chess board. Thank goodness Esther had an obedient spirit, and she did not rush ahead of God. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Neither are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8). This was not the time to give God a helping hand – thinking we know best. It is so important never to rush ahead of God. In obedience to the LORD’s directive, Esther requests the presence of the king and Haman the next day – another banquet (Esther 5:8).

Haman cannot contain himself. He is full of joy. It’s all about me; me; me. I; I; I. He goes home bragging that he was the only one whom queen Esther invited along to a banquet in the presence of the king, and she has also invited him the following day. Haman exalts himself in front of his wife and his close friends. He was still a little miffed though, because Mordecai still refused to bow down before him. Then his wife Zeresh comes up with a brain wave. Why not have a gallows made of fifty cubits high, and tomorrow speak to the king and ask him if he would mind you hanging Mordecai on it – then you can go dancing merrily off to the banquet. Oh what a grand idea Haman thinks. Sounds good to me. There and then, Haman orders that a gallows of 50 cubits be erected against tomorrow.

About the gallows. Adam Clark writes: “A pointed stick is set upright in the groin and the culprit is taken; placed on the sharp point and then pulled down by his legs till the steak that went in at the fundament pierces through the body and comes through the neck. The culprit lives a considerable time in excruciating agony and they don’t die quietly once they are impaled on these gallows”.

Haman has just moved his Bishop. It’s the LORD’s turn now.

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