January 19, 2017

Courting the King’s Favor

Esther 7:1-7

If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life. . . . And spare my people.

—  Esther 7:3

Haman, who enjoyed the king’s favor as his most powerful official, was thrilled with the invitation to dine again with Queen Esther and the king. But in the past day he had also endured the shame of publicly honoring his enemy Mordecai, who had also found favor with the king (Esther 6). Soon Haman would have an even greater surprise.

This man who was plotting to destroy all the Jews in Persia had no idea that Queen Esther was also a Jew and a relative of Mordecai. What’s more, if anyone had the king’s favor, it was Esther, and she used her position shrewdly to advocate for her people. “If I and my people were only sold as slaves, I would not have disturbed you,” she tells the king, in effect, “but this vile Haman wants to annihilate us.” As the king’s favor turns to rage against him, Haman knows his only chance is to beg Esther for his life.

Xerxes’ terrible power could snuff out Haman’s life. As such, the king of Persia would be God’s instrument against this enemy of the Jews.

Fearing a king’s power is smart, even wise. But fearing the God who has power over body and soul is wiser (Matthew 10:28).

On the night before Jesus died for our sake, he broke bread and poured wine, saying, “This is my body . . . [and] my blood . . . for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-29). Come to the banquet that King Jesus has prepared for all who seek his favor.

For the favor you have given me, Lord, I thank you with body and soul. In Christ’s name, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!