Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Study of the Book of Esther: Week Three, Day One

Week Three: From the Top of Mount Drama

Bible Verse: Esther replied, "This is my request and deepest wish." -Esther 5:7

Day One: Esther's Request

     Yesterday we read about Esther and Mordecai discussing the king's order to have the Jewish people eliminated. Remember that this is really Haman's plan and that the king is actually an unwitting pawn in the plan. But Esther and Mordecai have a plan. Esther will approach the king and plead for their lives. As Esther said at the end of chapter 4 though, this is a risky plan. It could result in her death if the king is unhappy with her decision to come before him uncalled.
     Read Esther 5:1-8. How much time passed between the conversation between Esther and Mordecai and the actual beginning of their plan (5:1)?

What did Esther do before entering the inner court (5:1)?

Where was the king sitting when she entered (5:1)?

How did the king react when he saw her (5:2)?

Reflection: Has there ever been a time where you were scared to do something big?

     On Saturday, I got to go to a writer's workshop where I listened to all sorts of speakers and experts in the publishing world talk on various topics. While I was there, I also had the amazing opportunity to share my book idea with a literary agent. This is a seriously awesome thing but also very scary! What if she hated me? What if she hated my idea? What if she laughed at my very serious idea? I was so nervous and scared all week leading up to that pitch time! But I had to do what Esther did. If you look at her process, you'll see that she talked to God (very likely during her time of fasting) and asked others to do the same on her behalf. And when the time came to execute the plan, she took it one step at a time. She made sure she looked her best so that she felt her most confident. Then she put one foot in front of the other and trusted God to take care of her along the way, which He absolutely did- for me and for her.

What does the king say to Esther after she touches his scepter (5:3)?

What does Esther tell him (5:4)?

How does the king respond to the invitation (5:5)?

What question does the king ask of Esther at the banquet (5:6)?

What answer does she give him (5:7-8)?

Reflection: Why do you suppose Esther asked the king to two banquets rather than just making her real request from the beginning?

     When I read this through the first time, I thought maybe Esther just lost her nerve and was using a delay tactic so she wouldn't have to share her real request quite yet. But I was wrong. Think back to how we were introduced to this king. What was he doing in chapter 1? He was throwing a huge party! This king loved a good banquet and Esther knew that! So what's the real reason Esther didn't share her real request right away? It's called knowing your man.
     When I have something really upsetting or tough to tell Shaun that will need his attention when he gets home, I send him a text or give him a quick call or even send an email letting him know what's going on. I know that my man needs time to think on the big things. He can't just spit out an answer because I want one right here and right now. He needs the time. So knowing that, I give it to him.
     And Esther knew that if she wanted to make a big request of the king, she was going to need to soften him up with a good banquet or two first. She knew that if she went into that inner court and just blurted everything out that it wouldn't have ended well for her. She also knew that there was great value in how she said what she had to say. She took the time to pray about it, to think it through, and then to carefully execute her plan.

Personal Reflection: Thinking about your most recent conflict, how would things have been different if you had prayed through it first and then approached it with a clear mind? Or, if you already approached your conflict in this way, can you see how badly it could have gone if you hadn't done these things?

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