Perhaps because of several weddings that are coming up, as well as graduation parties being planned at this time of year, it’s got me thinking about the process of inviting someone to an event. Major events require an invitation, for many reasons. First, so the host can plan accordingly, as to how many will attend. Also, the host wants to make it very clear who is invited, or who is welcome to attend. Some things aren’t open for everyone.
Many are familiar with the term “RSVP” – from the French, “Répondez s’il vous plaît” – meaning, “please respond.” This simply lets the host know if you will be attending or not. In simple terms, here is the point: when you receive an invitation, you should respond.
There is a story in the Bible, found in the first chapters of the book of Esther, that presents a dilemma. Esther found it necessary to go before the King to plead for her people, but, as she explained to her Uncle Mordecai, she had “not been called to come in unto the king…” (Esther 4:11). And if you had no invitation, you could be put to death. It was then that Mordecai appealed to her with his famous words: “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). These words hold both promise and inspiration.
The promise: that enlargement and deliverance will come to God’s people! We are going to have revival. We are going to see many people delivered and set free. That is not the question. The question is, will you be a part of it? I want to be!
The inspiration: who knows whether we are come to the Kingdom for such a time as this? I believe we have been chosen for this day, because the Lord knew we would rise to the occasion! It’s time to fulfill God’s word, that the glory of the latter house will be greater than the former. God wants to use each and every one of us!
And as it turns out, Esther had nothing to worry about. Because she prepared correctly (put on her royal apparel and entered the king’s gate and court), the king held out the golden sceptre – the invitation into his presence. And she responded by entering in and bringing her petition. The invitation prompted a response.
The Bible says this, in Genesis 49:10: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” The sceptre shall not depart from Judah – in other words, the sceptre is PRESENT in PRAISE (Judah). When you praise the Lord, the sceptre is extended – you have an invitation into His presence! We need to take advantage of every opportunity to praise Him…it secures our invitation!
There is another story about a young prince named Mephibosheth. He was Jonathan’s son, the grandson of king Saul. He was the victim of an unfortunate accident: when word came to the city where he was that Saul and Jonathan had been killed, everyone in the city began to flee. Mephibosheth was only five years old, and his nursemaid was carrying him, and accidentally dropped him, leaving him crippled. Many years later, when David was king, Mephibosheth received an invitation to the palace. Fear must have gripped his heart, because the custom of the day said that any who ascended to the throne who was not related to the previous king would kill all other family members, to remove the threat of overthrow. But at the king’s invitation, Mephibosheth had no worries. David’s intention was to show kindness to him, to restore all his father’s land back to him, and to allow him to dine at the king’s table continually, for the rest of his life. What an invitation! Even though crippled, he got a King’s Invitation to sit at his table. And folks, at the king’s table, your POSITION covers your CONDITION! What a blessing, to respond to the King’s Invitation!
There is one other type of invitation, called “RSVP, regrets only.” The intention is to say, “you need respond only if you are going to decline,” with the effect “if you do not respond, that will be taken as an acceptance.” However, this is not the way to do it. In fact, with the Lord, it is just the opposite: when you DON’T respond, it is taken that you don’t accept – because accepting the King’s Invitation requires a response!
Church, we have an invitation into the presence of God! “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:2. He also said that if we are thirsty, to come to Him and drink (John 7:37). And His invitation requires a response. Will you say yes?