Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why the Golden Scepter?

"The king extended the golden scepter to Esther.  So Esther arose and stood before the king."
– Esther 8:4, NASB


As in a fevered dream, Hadassah watched herself totter into the chamber, then press her back against the arch of the door.  How foolish to expect such a frugal thing as a linen shawl to conceal the violent shivers that racked her slight frame. There it lay—the treacherous thing!—across the marble threshold.  Could it be…was it possible…they would see the wild throbbing of her temples?

“What in seven thunders is this!” bellowed a great black-maned figure across the vaulted hall, thrusting his bushy jaw in the intruder’s direction.

“Your Supremacy, it is the queen of Persia—the new one, Sire.”

For a flash instant, Hadassah thought she would be sick.  No! Better yet...run…and keep running until the palace was far, far behind.  But they would see her.  All the people would see her.  And the guards had horses.  She couldn’t outrun horses in this long gown…

“HA! Ha-ha!” The black bearded chin was bouncing.  Up and down, up and down.  “Haaaaaaaaaah!” he bawled. 

“My last beauty queen is banished.   BANISHED!  For refusing to appear on command.  But, this new one?  Why, she just blows in whenever she pleases, eh!”

“Your king…your…Sire!  The reason…” began Esther.

“SILENCE!”


“Your Supremacy, shall we seize her?  I’ll give the order…” said the Captain of the Palace Guard.

“SILENCE, I said!” A glint of white punctuated the massive beard, as a golden scepter drew a neat curve in the air, then came to a stop pointing directly at the queen.

“Esther, First Lady of Shushan and queen of my heart, you have my permission to interrupt any boring old meeting in this palace anytime you please.  Come forward!”

Haddassah.  A young immigrant girl from a vanquished civilization, transplanted to the capital of the most powerful nation on earth.  And through a bizarre sequence of happenstance, she is now Esther, Queen of Persia.  But, even her royal title cannot save her from the king's law: death to anyone who appears in his presence unbidden.

Ahasuerus' surprise at seeing his bride standing in court led to an action of grace, as he held out the golden scepter--the only act that could override her death sentence.  Why?  Because "the king loved Esther more than any other woman." (Esther 2:17)  It was his love for this, his chosen bride that gave her free access to his presence and, consequently, to the favor she came to ask.

In the end, what the young queen came for was to beg the life of her people, who had been condemned to genocide by the villain Haman.  King Ahasuerus held out no golden scepter to the Jews.  If any of them had appeared in his court, it would have been the end of them.  But, through the king's love and grace toward Esther, she had access to stand in their place and beg for their life.

Under the old covenant, we see a few examples of this intercessory model.  Moses had such a powerful relationship with God that he could beg for the life of his people--"...And if not, blot me out of Your book...!"  David pleaded for his people at the threshing floor of Araunah, saying, "They are but sheep!"

But none paints as vivid a picture of our own place of sonship under the new covenant as does Queen Esther's scene.

God has no contract with the world at large, sold under sin, until and unless each of them comes of a freewill to seek Him in repentance.  But, through our relationship with the King--as the bride of Christ and objects of His love--we can enter His presence at any time.  The golden scepter is perpetually extended.  The veil is forever rent.  

And, by entering and touching that scepter, we receive grace to preach the gospel to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted.  His healing gifts and acts of grace flow out from us---salt to a dying world, light to those in darkness.  

So, then...  Don't just stand there by the doorpost!   Approach our loving King and lay hold of His scepter.  The world is waiting.