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, 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 5:9-14 NIV)
Queen Esther gathered her courage, and approached the king unannounced. The king was pleased and invited her, and asked her what she wanted. She invited the king and Haman to a banquet. At the banquet, the king asked Esther what she wanted a second time. The king was in a generous mood, and was ready to hear her request. Queen Esther invited the king and Haman back for a second banquet the following evening.
So why did Esther pass up two opportunities to speak to the king about her wish? Did she lose her courage? Was she scared to bring up the subject? Or was she following the Lord’s leading, waiting for the right time to make her request known?
Having fasted and prayed for three days, Esther was more than likely following the Lord’s direction and waiting for the right time to make her request known to the king. While the king appeared unbelievably generous, offering Esther up to half his kingdom, his offer was not to be taken literally, but rather directionally, showing his intent be kind to her request.
Esther knew the huge impact that her request would have on the king and Haman, and the ramifications on her life if the king disagreed or refused to grant her petition. So she waited for the right time before making her request known.
Esther knew the king was a proud man, and what she was about to ask him to do would make him take back his decree (actually over-rule himself) to repeal the order to annihilate all the Jews in Persia. This would be seen as a sign of weakness to the king, his enemies, and the people in his kingdom.
Esther also knew that the king would feel betrayed or lied to when Esther told him of her Jewish heritage. She likely put off the question or charmed her way through any previous attempts the king made to find out her background.
Esther also knew that this would have a huge financial impact on the king’s wealth and fortunes. Haman had promised a minimum of 2/3rd of a year’s income to the king as a result of the plunder of the Jewish people.
Finally, Esther knew that she was taking on the second most powerful person (Haman) in Persia, and the king would not be easily swayed to take action against his trusted noble.
So, Esther waited patiently for the Lord to let her know when to finally ask the king her request. And as it turns out, God, in His Divine Providence, had a couple more items to finish before He was ready to have Esther reveal her ask.
As we wind down chapter 5, we see Haman’s ego in full bloom, and the smallness of his character revealed. Haman is on cloud nine, having been invited to dinner with the king and queen. But when Haman sees Mordecai refusing to bow down to him, instead of focusing on all the positives of his life, he pours all his energy into the one negative of his day – Mordecai. Haman goes home and complains to his wife and friends. They suggest Haman build a gallows 75 feet high and hang Mordecai on it, for all to see. Haman loves the idea, and orders it built that very night.
What is our focus on each day? The goodness of God, and His love for us, or a negative circumstance that comes our way? May we always focus on God’s goodness and the joy He gives as we follow Him.