“If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.” Esther 5:4
I’m sure Esther thought through how to word her invitation. She wouldn’t reveal why she wanted the king to attend, that would have been foolish. Notice what she chose to omit. “You and Haman must come to the banquet because I have something upsetting to tell you. Your own advisor is not trustworthy. I can prove it when we talk!”
Instead, Esther presented these facts to the king in stages, according to his ability to receive it and understand it. She needed to foster a nurturing environment in order to soften the heart of her temperamental king. That was the only way to rekindle his love and trust. As it would turn out, it didn’t take just one banquet for her to accomplish this, but two!
If Esther had done all this for personal gain, we could rightfully call her a manipulative woman. But this banquet was given to stay the hand of a king who was being manipulated by Haman to annihilate a race of people.
Have you ever given away a piece of information too soon? The person you were talking to was not ready to hear all that you shared. Because you discussed things prematurely, you jeopardized the ideal outcome. I’ve done that. I’ve learned that there’s a time to deliver good news. There’s a time deliver bad news. There’s a time to ask someone for advice and a prudent time to ask someone to make a critical decision that affects many people.
How can I know when that right time is? Only with prayer. If I find myself thinking, “I wonder if telling them is a good idea,” then I’d better hold off until I’ve prayed about it. The higher the stakes, the more time is needed to prepare the ground for the conversation.
Look at this scripture verse. The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry. Prov. 25:11 An interesting metaphor, isn’t it? When a piece of jewelry is made to order, it is perfectly sized. The type of metal and precious gems are chosen for the person who will wear it. They will delight to own it and call it their own. That is what happens when the soil of someone’s heart is tilled up through prayer. They are ready to receive the message. When it comes, it will connect with them in such a way that the pieces of truth make sense and fit together perfectly. They will willingly own the message, making it their own, and wearing it proudly through application.
All of this is impossible without You. Show me how to live this way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.