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. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the sceptre.Then the king asked, ‘What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.’‘If it pleases the king,’ replied Esther, ‘let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.’‘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.” NIV

For many years, upon re-reading this passage, it has caused me to think about our standing before God in Christ. As we come to Him, dressed in’’royal robes’’ of righteousness which He Himself has provided, He is ‘’pleased’’ with us. He welcomes us into His intimate presence, and we may approach Him. Furthermore, He is so generous in His offers to us. Think about the many, and varied, promises God makes in His Word to those who seek Him in prayer. True, there are also conditions to be fulfilled by us, but our great King of all kings is more than generous – even more so than this pagan king.  Our God is a prayer-answering God, and the very tone and atmosphere of today’s reading is intended to show us that the fasting and prayer were effective. This was a remarkable answer.

‘Thus having had power with God and prevailed, like Jacob, she had power with men too. He that will lose his life for God shall save it, or find it in a better life…

God can turn the hearts of men, of great men, of those that act most arbitrarily, which way he pleases towards us. Esther feared that she should perish, but was promised that she should have what she might ask for, though it were the half of the kingdom. Note, God in his providence often prevents the fears, and outdoes the hopes, of his people, especially when they venture in his cause. Let us from this story infer, as our Saviour does from the parable of the unjust judge, an encouragement to pray always to our God, and not faint, Lu. 18:6-8. Hear what this haughty king says (What is thy petition, and what is thy request? It shall be granted thee), and say shall not God hear and answer the prayers of his own elect, that cry day and night to him? Esther came to a proud imperious man; we come to the God of love and grace. She was not called; we are: the Spirit says, Come, and the bride says, Come. She had a law against her; we have a promise, many a promise, in favour of us: Ask, and it shall be given you. She had no friend to introduce her, or intercede for her, while on the contrary he that was then the king’s favourite was her enemy; but we have an advocate with the Father, in whom he is well pleased. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.’ Matthew Henry.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the many encouragements to our faith in your Word. Please teach us to pray, and forgive our prayer-lessness.