September 28, 2021
Pat Tipton Clergy
Lebanon/Old Union UMC
Esther 5:1-14 NIV
5 On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.
3 Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”
4 “If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”
5 “Bring Haman at once,” the king said, “so that we may do what Esther asks.”
So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. 6 As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”
7 Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: 8 If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill 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.”
Haman’s Rage Against Mordecai
9 Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.
Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.”
14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits,[a] and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.” This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up.
Esther is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Even though she was part of the remnant of Jews who stayed in Persia, she was still willing to lay down her own life to save her people. In the beginning of this chapter we find Esther putting on her royal robes and proceeding to the inner court in front of the King’s hall. One would not think this as something strange since she was the Queen of Persia. The problem is she had not had an audience with the King in over a month. She must wait for him to summon her before approaching him or she would lose her life. It so happens that the King was pleased with her when he saw her. He held out his golden scepter so Esther approached and touched the tip of his scepter. Then the King asked her what was her request? Even up to half the kingdom she could have. She told the King if it pleased him, she would like him and Haman to attend a banquet she had prepared for them that day. The King had Haman summoned and they went to Esther’s banquet. He asked again what her request was. She replied, “my petition and my request is this: If the King and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for you; then I will answer your question. Haman left that day in high spirits, but when he saw Mordecai at the King’s gate and observed that he neither stood up nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against him. He managed to restrain himself and go home. He gathered his friends and wife together as he began bragging about all his wealth, sons, and all the ways the King had elevated him above all the other nobles. He even went on to brag that he was the only other person besides the King that Queen Esther had invited to her banquet. He told them that even with all this he had no satisfaction as long as he saw the Jew, Mordecai sitting at the King’s gate. His wife and friends suggested he have a pole/ gallows built that was 75 feet high and have the King impale Mordecai on it. Then go with the King to the banquet and enjoy himself. This suggestion pleased him so he ordered it done.
As the chapter comes to an end we see a lot of hatred and bitterness. Hatred and bitterness are like weeds with long roots that grow in the heart and corrupt all life. Haman is a very good example of hatred and bitterness. He was so consumed with anger for Mordecai that he could not enjoy the honor of being invited to the Queen’s banquet. Hebrews 12:15 warns us to watch out “that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Do not be like Haman and let bitterness build in your heart. Like Haman we will find it backfiring against us. If just the mere mention of someone’s name provokes you to anger confess that anger as sin. Haman’s wife and friends were as arrogant as he was, suggesting that he build a gallows 75 feet tall. It was probably built on the city wall or some prominent building.
They wanted to make sure that all the people in the city saw Mordecai’s death. They also wanted to make sure the people were reminded of the consequences of disobeying Haman. Ironically, this same pole that Haman had built for Mordecai allowed the people to see his death instead. Don’t let bitterness and hate take away your joy and life. Don’t be choked to death by that weed. Instead bloom like the beautiful flower you are where God has planted you.
Dear Lord we thank you for this day and for life. We ask that you take away any seeds of hatred or bitterness that might be growing in our lives and replace them with seed that will grow into beautiful flowers that share your love. In Jesus name Amen