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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Inspired by . . . a second banquet

This past year has been one with many postponements. Many of us have been repeatedly disappointed and disillusioned when things haven't worked out as we hoped. Some of these postponements are and have even been potentially dangerous to you or to those whom you love.

The book of Esther has one big postponement that I've always stumbled over as I've read through the text. Esther's uncle, Mordecai makes it clear that deliverance for the Jews will come no matter what Esther does but that she just might be Queen, "for such a time as this." After prayer and fasting, Esther decides to act. In the famous scene, she approaches the king and he extends his scepter to her, telling her he will grant to her any request, up to half his kingdom. Esther request that he and the evil Haman join her that day at a banquet she has prepared. The king does so in all haste.

Yet, after the feast, "over the wine," when the king asks again what her request of him is, rather than tell him, Esther invites the king and Haman to yet another banquet the next day!

I admit, as the reader, I am impatient with Esther's delay. Perhaps the Jews waiting for deliverance were getting impatient as well. After all, it seems like there is a lot of "banqueting" going on! But when reading the scripture through again this morning, God spoke to my heart.

We don't know why Esther delayed making her request to the king at that first banquet. Perhaps her heart failed her and she needed another night in prayer. This was, after all, no small request. Or perhaps God Himself impressed upon her to delay. The scripture doesn't tell us. But what we do know is that two things happened in between the first banquet and the second banquet.

In Haman's malice toward Mordecai, he had erected gallows, 75ft high. At the same time, the king, who couldn't sleep that night, was reading a chronicle of memorial events and was reminded how Mordecai had saved his life.

Although the book of Esther never mentions God by name, it is easy to see His hand at work in all these things. The next day when Esther finally brings her request to the king, to spare the lives of her and her people, and exposes Haman's role in the plot, the king is so enraged he has to step into the garden to contain himself.

We know how the account ends. Haman is hanged on the very gallows that he set up for Mordecai and Haman's plot against the Jews is thwarted.

In the same way, we may not know or understand why some of the things in our lives are being delayed. In some cases, it may even appear as though the enemy is winning.

But that is not so, Beloved.

God doesn't always clearly stamp His name on everything. It is not always obvious to us that He is at work. This is where our faith comes into play. We trust the Truth, even when we cannot see it. We trust God and the promises He has made to us in the scriptures. We trust that He is working all things together for good... not necessarily what we think of as good, but His good, according to His purposes.

In other words, even if things don't work out the way WE want them to or according to OUR timeline, God is using them to advance His kingdom and His purpose. And as hard as it may be, we can rest solidly in the comfort of this Truth. Because God is for us. He loves us and His ways are always true and right and just.


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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June