Bible Studies in the Book of Esther
Esther Chapter 5: Esther's Prayer and the power of the third day
by I Gordon
When we approach our King, we too should do so in our royal robes. What do I mean by that? Well, scripture tells us that we have been given the robe of righteousness and that there is a new way open to approach our King today.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness , as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body , and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
To approach God in the 'robe of righteousness' is the same as the 'new and living way' that is mentioned in Hebrews. It means that when we come to God we do so in the knowledge that we approach a holy God through the righteousness and blood of Jesus Christ. Our own righteousness will fail us time and time again. Jesus' righteousness, given as a gift to the believer, will not fail us. Living in the power of the third day means that we begin to see ourselves in a resurrected Christ. Not just as 'forgiven sinners' but as those that have been given a heavenly exalted position in Christ Jesus having access to the throne of God as righteous sons and daughters of God - a new creation! So let us draw near! Don't hold off. Allow this truth to wash you again, cleansing your guilty conscience, and approach God with a truly thankful heart. The way to the king is open. Esther found grace and favour with the king and so do we!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need . (Hebrews 4:15-16)
 ↩ The Bible has next to nothing to say about 'the second day' or 'the fourth day' or five or six for that matter. Yet there are 14 references to the 'the third day' - many of which are significant events. Why? Well, because they are all pictures of Jesus Christ in some way who was resurrected on the third day. For example:
Þ The third day of creation saw the first life come to the earth through trees, fruit, seeds and vegetation. New life comes on the third day as a picture of Jesus' resurrection!
Þ Abraham received Isaac back from the place of sacrifice on the third day (Gen 22:4). This signified that life would be returned to Jesus, our sacrifice, on the third day.
Þ Joseph instructed his brothers on the third day on how they could go free from prison (Gen 42:18). When Jesus arose on the third day, other graves were opened and people were no longer held captive in the fear of death.
Þ Israel had to prepare to meet God on Sinai on the third day (Exodus 19:11). This signified that fellowship with God was fully achieved based on the new life, resurrection life, that was accomplished by Jesus' resurrection.
Þ Joshua crossed over into the Promised Land on the third day (Josh 1:11) for all of God's promises are 'Yea and Amen' in the resurrected Christ.
Þ King Hezekiah was sick nearly unto death but God told him that He would heal him on the third day (2 Kings 20:5). This points to the true spiritual healing, the new creation, that came through the resurrection of Jesus.
Þ Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). As Jesus Himself said, this is a clear type of Christ in the heart of the earth between death and resurrection.
Þ The Jewish temple was completed on the third day (Ezra 6:15). Jesus said that if they destroy this temple (speaking of His body) He would raise it on the third day.
Þ The marriage at Cana was on the third day where new wine was brought forth (John 2:1-10). This pictures the new life that came on the third day and enabled salvation to all those that will participate in the marriage of the Lamb!
Like I said, they are all significant because they are types of Jesus Christ and the ultimate fulfilment of 'the third day'. The third day speaks of resurrection, freedom, healing, salvation and new life. So in the Esther 5:1 Esther has given up her will and gone through her death experience saying 'if I perish, I perish'... yet on the third day the golden sceptre is extended to her and she finds favour instead of death. This again pictures Christ going through death and being raised to new life on the third day!
 ↩ J Veron McGee writes with his refreshing honesty: 'As the king held out the sceptre to Esther, and she stepped up and touched it, so God holds out the sceptre of grace to us today; and He asks us to come and touch it by faith, accepting what He has to offer. He is not gracious to us because we are beautiful. My mirror tells me I'm not beautiful, and I'm ugly on the inside, too. Sin comes out of the human heart. We hear much about the fact that we should take care of all the pollution - and I am all for it - but I want to start where all the trouble begins, which is the human heart. God is holding out the sceptre of grace to all who will receive His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
 ↩ If I were honest, which is not very often : ), I would say that a large part of my prayer life is based around one thing...ME! In short, it is self centred. Not sure about you but I'll let you think about that one. We all have desires and needs - no doubt about it. And it certainly isn't wrong to bring those before God for the Bible tells us to present our requests before Him. But those requests shouldn't just be about ourselves! Far from it. The Bible says that we should delight ourselves in Him and He will give us the desires of our heart... He knows our desires and He isn't a mean God who just wants to keep those things from us. But our job is to focus on the first part of that verse - to delight ourselves in Him and then the second part (the desires of our heart) will come. Although, just as a side note - what you might find is that as you delight yourself in Him, the desires of your heart change! But anyway, our prayer life should have a strong focus on the needs of others. Maybe then we would see more answers to prayer. As it says it James - "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:3).
Ok, it is quite probable that this footnote is really just for me and doesn't relate to you at all!
 ↩ Some verses on prayer from the N.T to ponder on! I'll highlight a few things that stand out to me...
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us . And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15).
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving , present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
"...The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (Romans 8:26).
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances , for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours . And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins'" (Mark 11:22-25).
 ↩ Um, might have gone out on a bit of a limb there... slight rush of blood to the head. My proof-reader of these studies (argh, otherwise known as 'Mum') doesn't think that anyone prayed for her leading up to her salvation. Lucky I said 'a man' then aye? : ) So obviously there will be exceptions... but generally when a person is saved there is someone faithfully praying for them behind the scenes. God asks us to intercede for others that they too would have the golden sceptre extended to them. And how great is it to be included in God's work in the saving of a soul?
 ↩ A couple of good quote here. Major Ian writes - 'Reading between the lines, and in so many words, what Haman had to say to his friends was this, "Apart from the king, the queen would not let anyone else come to the banquet but myself, and confidentially, between you, me and the gatepost, I do not think she was really enthusiastic about the king being there either! The flesh has an unlimited capacity for self deception when it comes to enhancing its own reputation.'
McGee writes: 'As you may have noticed, when a man starts bragging, there are usually three areas he talks about. First he boasts about his riches, the money he makes. Then he talks about his fine children - or grandchildren (that's what I do). Then he will generally boast about his promotion and high position. Haman went all the way. He boasted in all three areas. There is another thing that men boast about. They like to boast about being great with the ladies!'
 ↩ See Dan 7:8, Dan 11:36, 2 Thes 2:4, Rev 13:5-6