SPEAK UP when YOU get a CHANCE
May 23 Bible Reading: Esther Chapters 7-10
Then Queen Esther answered and said, "If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. Had we been sold as male and female slaves, I would have held my tongue, although the enemy could never compensate for the king's loss." (Esther 7:3-4)
If there is one thing to note in the book of Esther, it is to appreciate the courage of the young Jewish orphan girl Esther, who chose to speak up even at the risk of losing her life. The first time she petitioned King Ahasuerus was during a thirty-day period when everyone in the kingdom was prohibited from entering the inner chamber of the king, especially those who were not invited. This included Esther who was also not given access for an audience with the king (4:11). During her first petition, this is what Esther had requested: "If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him." (5:4)
When the king and the special invitee Haman came to the first banquet that Esther had prepared, this was her second petition: "My petition and request is this: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said" (5:7-8). It appears that Esther wanted to build suspense and anxiety in the mind of the king, so that he would be ready to comprehend and agree to her real request that she would make at the opportune moment.
In fact, Esther’s second banquet turned out to have ramifications that would shake the entire kingdom, starting with Haman’s house. At the king’s request, she finally made her appeal in the form of a third petition. She asked for her own life and the lives of her people, who had been sentenced to death. If they had only been sold as slaves she would have held her peace, “although the enemy could never compensate for the king's loss” (v. 4). By losing the Jews, their king would lose a tremendous resource for money and taxes. However, the plight of the entire Jewish community was now at stake as a result of which she was compelled to speak now!
The drama of the scene was heightened by Esther’s slow unveiling of her petition for her own life and she requested that her people be spared. Thus, Esther’s carefully prepared speech had a dramatic effect on the king. She had aroused more than his curiosity, and now the king was angry. The life of his own dear queen was in danger because of a plot by one of his trusted men. The phrase “dare presume in his heart” (7:5) reflects the depths of the king’s passion. Esther had finally exposed the culprit, who was none other than the wicked Haman, and now the king could act swiftly and administer justice.
Even after Haman was hanged, Esther spoke again to the king multiple times: first, requesting him to revoke the letters written by Haman for eliminating the Jews everywhere (8:3-6); and second, requesting him to allow Haman's ten sons be hanged on the gallows (9:13). All this happened because Esther spoke up when she got a chance: “when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows” (9:25).
Thus, Esther revealed her nationality (2:10, 20), her danger, and the presence of an enemy in the palace to the king boldly. In the similar manner, we should also speak up when we get a chance – whether it is with sharing the gospel or, speaking out against injustice or, speaking out against the wrong policies and atrocities imposed by civic authorities. When we go through such difficult times, God will give us the wisdom we need when we ask for it by faith (James 1:5-6). God will also make us wise so that we will know what to say and how and when to say it (Prov. 15:28; 16:23).