- Esther 3:1-8:17
“If it pleases the king…”
Driven by whatever pleased him, King Ahasuerus tossed to and fro with his decisions and edicts. With Queen Vashti, he called her to the court to please the men around her. Then when the men decried her refusal, they convinced him to remove her from her place, as it pleased him. When he became sober again and considered what he had done, his men descended and proposed a collection of virgins for a harem from which to choose a new queen. And that pleased him.
Then Haman, as it pleased himself, got angry with Mordecai, and persuaded the king, based on what pleased the king, to set forth an edict demanding that the Jews bow down.
When Esther created her feast, “if it pleases the king” was used to invite King Ahasuerus and Haman to another feast. “If it pleases the king…” rang throughout the story of Esther. He is pleased by the decree against the Jews, then pleased by honoring Haman. But with Esther’s plea, he is pleased to issue another edict allowing the Jews to fight back.
Back and forth, at the mercy of his human knowledge and judging actions by his pleasure, King Ahasuerus certainly created quite a knot for himself. I cannot help but wonder what knots we have created for ourselves because we convinced ourselves, or allowed ourselves to be convinced by others, that fulfilling the desires of the human heart were the best decision we could make. How many wishy-washy or back-and-forth decision processes have twisted our life experience into a confusing mess of frustration? So how do we undo the knot? Or better yet, how do we prevent ourselves from getting in it in the first place?
Yesterday’s devotion highlighted how Esther surrounded herself with wise counsel and wisdom as being from the Lord. In seeking the Lord, there is peace. It may not be a straight line, but it is a peaceful line. The book of James provide insight on this very issue:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” –James 1:5-8, ESV
God will give wisdom to him who asks in faith. It is the lack of faith, the doubting of God’s wisdom, that starts to loop the cords around and around until a knot cannot help but be formed. The instability that comes with doubt simply does not pay off compared to the peace that comes from following God’s wisdom.