Esther

Esther 9-10

See you at Corporate prayer this evening...7pm...Church Auditorium

Scripture
20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.

Observation
There seems to be a common practice in the Bible for the people of God to take time to celebrate the providence and power of God made evident in their circumstances.  Times of celebration and recounting what had happened and how God had saved them.

Understanding
In my family we sit and reminisce about the power of God demonstrated in our lives.  We remember when He moved mightily in our lives and we take time to celebrate and thank God.  There are specific times of the year we do so, Thanksgiving, wedding anniversary, birthdays.  As we take time to do that we remind ourselves of how powerful and faithful our God is and that He is seldom early, never late and always on time to save us.  Our celebration builds our faith and makes it stronger and is often times used as a testimony to those who don't know Him. 

Life Application
It is important for us as God's children to take time to celebrate what He has done and is doing in our lives.  Think about it...what has He done in your life?  How have you seen the providential hand of God in your life?  Part of the celebration is sharing it with others.  Why don't you share with us today some of the miracles God has done in your life.  You can post it on the blog or you can come to prayer this evening and share it there.  I am looking forward to hearing your stories.  Let's celebrate together.


Esther 8

Just a reminder...Corporate Prayer tomorrow evening...7pm in the Auditorium...see you all there!

Scripture
7 King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, "Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have hanged him on the gallows. 8 Now write another decree in the king's name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king's signet ring—for no document written in the king's name and sealed with his ring can be revoked."

 9 At once the royal secretaries were summoned—on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai's orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language. 10 Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king's signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.

Observation
The king gave Mordecai full power to write out a new law as seemed best to him and that new law would carry the full force of the king's power.  I wonder what it is like to have that kind of power?

Understanding
Come to think of it I have that kind of power, we have that kind of power!!!  Seems to me that this scenario is found in another part of scripture that pertains to us...(drum roll please)

18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go (and in understanding go with my authority) and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

We are shown in Esther 8 the power available to us as servants of Christ the King.  He has given us his ring as a sign of His entrusting His authority to us.  Now we are to go and fulfill His wishes of making disciples and baptizing and teaching to obey as seems best to us.  In the end what matters most is that people are "saved from death" and that we stay true to our King's wishes.  We have all of his authority and resources at our disposal to fulfill our mandate.  No excuses.

Life Application
Are we living as authorized, deputized, followers of Christ? 
What keeps us from living as powerful followers of Christ who wear the signet ring of the King?


Lord thank you that in you I have all the authority to overcome the power of the enemy and bring life to the people around me heading to certain death.  Thank you for Mordecai's example of a man who was more concerned about others instead of his own preservation and that is what you are desiring of us isn't it?  You give us authority not for our self-aggrandizement but to help save the lives of others.  Thank you for entrusting us with that awesome responsibility, I will not let you down.


Esther 7

SEE YOU AT CORPORATE PRAYER THIS WEDNESDAY AT 7PM AT THE CHURCH

Scripture

 1 So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther, 2 and as they were drinking wine on that second day, the king again asked, "Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted."

 3 Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4 For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king. "

 5 King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, "Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?"

Observation
In order for Esther to be able to have petitioned the king she had to take the chance of going into his throne room unannounced.  An act that could have led to death.

Understanding
Many times in order to do the thing that God has purposed for our life (Esther was made queen for a time such as this) it requires faith and courage.  Faith to believe that no matter what the outcome your life is in God's hands and the greater issue in not if we perish or not but if we are obedient or not.  Then it takes great courage to look the situation in the face and to suppress the self-preservation reflex and see the greater picture of being part of a bigger story - God's story.

Esther acted in faith and made courageous moves with a little help from Uncle Mordecai, but then she did something very wise, she prepared by fasting and praying.  What a great way to build her faith and courage before going in to see the king.  She risked it all and prepared accordingly for the moment and as a result was able to speak to the king on behalf of the entire Jewish population and turn the tide.  None of that would have happened without her willingness to walk in faith and courage and prepare wisely.

Life Application
What is it God is requiring of you that is going to take faith and courage?  Are you being obedient or are you falling into self-preservation mode?  It may not be life-threatening like Esther but it may be threatening your reputation with your friends, or it may seem scary to your finances or time, but the question Uncle Gary has to ask, "Maybe God has put where you are for such a time as this.  What will your response to Him be?"  

And don't forget that you better prepare properly as you step out in faith.  I am looking forward to hearing the stories.


Esther 6

Scripture
 1 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.

 3 "What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?" the king asked.
      "Nothing has been done for him," his attendants answered.

 4 The king said, "Who is in the court?" Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows he had erected for him.

 5 His attendants answered, "Haman is standing in the court."
      "Bring him in," the king ordered.

Observation
God's timing is impeccable (and He has a great sense of humor).

Understanding
There are too many variables here for coincidence.  The night before the King and Haman are to meet with Esther so that she can expose him, the king cant sleep.  What does he decide to do?  Read the book of chronicles.  And of all the places he reads it is the account of Mordecai and what he had done for the king.  Now don't tell me God does not have a sense of humor either because He decides that Haman will determine the reward of Mordecai.  Is it coincidence that Haman is the only one in the court when the king is looking for an adviser on how to reward Mordecai?  I don't think so! 

God looks out for His people even when it seems like it is not going well for us as His children, there is a greater plan and something good on the way, don't despair, God will take care of His children.

Life Application
Whatever situation you find yourself in...financial, health issues, relational...God is not late with His answer, His timing is impeccable.  And even if it doesn't go the way you want it to go His plan is good and beneficial for all of His children.  I am looking forward to seeing some of those plans when I get to heaven, but in the meantime I live knowing that God is seldom early, never late but always on time.  I think I will go and celebrate that!


Esther 5

Scripture

 Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 "And that's not all," Haman added. "I'm the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate."

Observation
Happiness and satisfaction in life comes from the inside and not from external circumstances.

Understanding
So here is Haman who had the world at his fingertips.  Riches, favor, prestige, power.  According to the way of current thought he should be happy and satisfied yet he is not.  Do you think that if Mordecai and the Jews had been killed that then Haman would be happy?  Maybe for a few moments but in the end he would be dissatisfied again, because real satisfaction and happiness is not determined by outward circumstances.  The new car, new house, new spouse, different neighborhood provide fleeting happiness but as quickly as it comes it is gone.  Haman and the rest of us would do well to remember Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)  The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.  

Life Application
Lord I tend to always be dissatisfied with my life because I am looking for happiness in the way the world tells us we need to be happy.  Help me to be reminded of the truth, that you are the source of happiness in my life and you are longing for us to run to you and experience what real joy and contentment looks like.  Let your joy flow out into the world around me and infect others.


Esther 4

Scripture

12 When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."

Observation
We all need a Mordecai in our lives.

Understanding
While the book is entitled Esther I think it was because it sounded better than Mordecai, I mean what a guy.  He takes in the orphan Hadassah and becomes a father to her.  He is a man of great conviction and passion as well as having the courage to stand up for his convictions.  He is upright and honest and even though the King has him as a captive he is still loyal to him to protect him from a plan to assassinate him.  Mordecai is also a leader, thinking about his people as a whole and not just his own skin.  So when this edict is issued Mordecai, man of intense passion goes out in the street to mourn.  If I didn't know better I would think it was a thinly veiled demonstration of protest.

Now all of that pales to what this man really does...he is instrumental in bringing about change by using his influence in the life of Esther.  He didn't allow Esther to just get by with saving her own skin, he called her to the bigger picture.  He challenged her and gave her a swift kick in the behind.  Before that she was blissfully unaware but not only did Mordecai give her bad news, he gave her an admonition and a plan of action.  

Life Application
I believe that all of us need to have a Mordecai in our lives.  A spiritual parent who is willing to teach us the proper way to live and then to call us to that way of life when we are taking the easy way out.  Someone who will nurture us and call us to a higher standard of living, not allowing us to settle for good when we can go for great.  

Who is the Mordecai in your life?  Notice that the relationship only worked because Esther allowed him to speak into her life and she was willing to trust him.  

The other equally important question is who is the Esther in your life?  You see we are always to be reminded that we are just links in a chain and we must have fulfill both roles - that of trainee and trainer.  We need to have people who are speaking into our lives who we will trust and listen to, and unlike Xerxes, those people need to be trustworthy and godly people.  But we must also be looking behind and doing the same for someone else.  

Look around and ask yourself, "Who can I train and mentor as a spiritual parent?"  
The future of the Christian family depends on it.


Esther 3

Scripture

 15 Spurred on by the king's command, the couriers went out, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.

Observation
Why is it that so many of us humans get so distracted that we forgot our prime directive?

Understanding
A king.  Someone appointed to rule over people and to help them as a group have a better way of life.  A king was appointed to protect and serve his people.  He was there to ensure the success of his subjects.  It is funny how the perks of the job sometimes make the person forget why they are in the position they are in.  Xerxes seemed to be enjoying the perks of leadership rather than being a conscientious leader.  

Life Appplication
Now before we condemn him totally I wonder if we don't struggle with the same problem - we forget our prime directive.  We get caught up with all the other stuff we forget why we are here as children of God.  What is our prime directive?  It is to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that Jesus has taught us.  

How are we doing at being true to the prime directive?
Are we in the same state as Xerxes?  

From what I read of Xerxes he doesn't strike me as a bad guy (although 300 would say differently) I just think that he was distracted.  It is easy to get distracted isn't it and we must do everything we can to stay focused.  

What are some things we can do to stay focused?  


Esther 2

Scripture

 5 Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. 

 17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were hanged on a gallows. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.

Observation
Even without the mention of God in this book we witness the sovereign hand of God working through the lives of people to bring about His will.

Understanding
Call me simple but I can live very comfortably with the belief that God is sovereign and that He is always at work in the situations and circumstances of everything to protect and care for His children.  This chapter shows us the beginnings of what seems like disjointed actions and situations that are being sovereignly set up by God in order to protect.  It reminds me that my life is a small part of a greater picture and while my role is important it is also just a very small part.  I am also reminded that we can truly be joyful in every situation or circumstance of our life without being crazy or unrealistic because the thing I am joyful about is that even though my circumstances may suck God is at work and I will be able to look back in hindsight and see how incredible a plan it was.

Life Application
Father may I be always reminded in the middle of my tough situations that you are at work doing something great.  I can rejoice because this is bigger than just me, I am part of something great that you are doing.


Esther 1

Scripture

Esther 1

Observation

Esther stands as a beacon to a people tempted to trade success in a secular society for the faith of the fathers. It calls our society to: (1) be aware of God’s work in our day even though prophetic leaders do not point out specific events where God has delivered His people; (2) trust God even in the darkest moments of life; (3) not underestimate our own skills and opportunities for ministry nor those of other people because they are of the wrong race, class, sex, or educational level; (4) find ways to communicate God’s news that will speak to people of our day rather than alienating them immediately; (5) make worship moments of celebration that attract the attention and participation of people outside our religious circle; and (6) maintain continuity with the traditions of our faith while we find ways to exercise that faith under new social conditions.

Understanding and Life Application

The Book of Esther was inspired by God even though the name of God or even the word God does not appear in the book. This shows that God can teach His people through entertaining, historical literature as well as through strongly theological writings. Theological teaching is not limited to any one form of writing. God chose many forms of literature to ensure His people understood the many aspects of His working for them and of their proper responses to Him. Theological lessons to be learned from Esther include:

1. God works in all history even when His actions are not obvious and when He does not raise up a prophet to interpret His actions.

2. Positions of influence are opportunities to show loyalty to God and His purposes for His people.

3. Social station at birth does not determine one’s potential for ministry.

4. God’s people do not have to exercise political power to have reason for celebration.

5. Celebration of God’s victories is not limited to one time, one location, or one race.

6. No age gives sufficient reason to forget or forsake the faith of our fathers.

History stands under God’s control. Outward conditions may indicate God has suffered defeat and pagan powers serving pagan gods have gained total control. Such a view sees only a limited range of history. The historical festivals of God’s people remind us of God’s control of history under Egyptian, Persian, and Roman rule as well as under the political domination of God’s people. Xerxes’ banquets and his treatment of his first queen show his immoral side and his political and economic power. The triumphs of Esther and Mordecai show God’s faithfulness to bring historical deliverance when His people prove faithful.

The Disciple Commentary