I am blessed and honored to be one of the contributing writers for an incredible ministry called She BelievesThis post was originally published on October 17, 2016 for a series on the book of Esther. I encourage you to check out the entire series!

Read: Esther 5:1-14

“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters, while the king was sitting on his royal throne inside the throne room opposite the entrance to the palace” { Esther 5:1, ESV }

“On the third day.” Only four words into chapter five and I was immediately transported to the New Testament, to the day that Jesus rose from the dead. After spending time meditating on Jesus’ death and resurrection I continued my reading in Esther. At that point, the following phrases caught hold of me as well: royal robes, inner court, King’s palace, Kings quarters, royal throne, and throne room. This is very appropriate language since we are talking about a king, his queen, and his kingdom, but never before in my readings of Esther had I even thought of Jesus’ kingship. This time, it was all I could think of. I pictured Jesus in His “royal robes,” not merely standing in the inner courts and throne room, but actually seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for…me.

Though it may seem I am following a rabbit trail, is it a digression to think of Christ as we read about this young woman who put her life at risk to save her people? I can imagine her, with the assistance of her handmaids, putting on her finest clothing – in preparation to stand before the king – looking beautiful on the outside, yet fighting fear on the inside, knowing her actions need to be done but could end in her death. This caused me to think about Jesus. Prior to being mocked in his “royal robes,” he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, blood dripping from his brow, and asked for the cup to be taken from him, but he desired the Father’s will above all. Both knew what laid before them. Both proceeded. Esther entered the throne room unrequested and presented herself before the king on behalf of her people. Our King left his throne room and offered himself as a sacrifice on our behalf. In both instances, people were saved. This comparison shouldn’t cause us to view Esther higher than we ought, but to be even more in awe of Jesus Christ, the gospel, and His presence throughout the entirety of Scripture. This is a beautiful view believers have this side of the cross!

Though God’s name may not appear throughout the book, His sovereignty, and His character, are clearly seen. God is in control!

“And when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand.” { Esther 5:2, ESV }

As the story progresses, we see that Esther is not only spared execution, but she is shown extreme favor and offered, by the king himself, any request she desires! The king attends her two feasts, without any sign of annoyance, questioning, or mistrust. FavorThough he removed Vashti from her royal position for not coming before him when he requested, he was quite generous to Esther when she came before him unrequested. FavorThis favor reminds us that God is in control. His hand in these circumstances is evident. Many of Esther’s fears that followed her into the throne room fled as he extended the golden scepter.

What fears are following you today? Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf is our golden scepter. His sovereignty is our relief, reminding us that nothing in this world is beyond His control.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” { Matthew 23:12, ESV }

In contrast to Esther, who was willing to lay her life down for her people, we see Haman, a man full of bitterness, pride, anger, and ego. He was full of himself, his position, and the favor of the King that he thought he possessed. If we were asked who we most likely resemble between the two, most of us likely would say Esther. But I became convicted as I was thinking about what I focus the most on, myself, or others? Do my daily thoughts and actions more resemble a person who would give her life for others, or someone who becomes embittered because someone didn’t like or respect her. Am I more caught up in the plight of others, or trying to win the praise of others? If we evaluate ourselves based on our actions, and not just our intentions, or the good we know we ought to do, where do we fall on the Esther/Haman continuum? Are we humbling or exalting ourselves?

This chapter started in the throne room, and ended with a gallows. We read about a young woman who acted selflessly, and a man who was drunk with himself. In these dichotomies we see the truth of Jesus’ words played out that whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted { Matthew 23:12 }. Jesus not only spoke these words but lived them, for though he is the King of kings, he humbled himself to the point of death, that we may live. If we remember this beautiful truth, we will avoid likeness to Haman and will have the motivation to show the courage of Esther.

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