Esther Survey - The Funny Bone of God
1:1 Ahasuerus reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia...10 On the 7th day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded ...11 To bring Vashti the queen before the king to show people and princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. 12 But queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment...his anger burned in him. 15 What shall we do unto the queen Vashti not performed the commandment...16 Vashti the queen has not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the people 17...despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. 18...too much contempt and wrath. 22 For he sent letters...that every man should bear rule in his own house
a) Never underestimate the power of a bad example
b) Disobedience results in diminishment; Obedience in enhancement
2:1 when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti 2...Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king 5 in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, Mordecai 6 ...whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away. 7 And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful
2:15 Esther...required nothing but what...the keeper appointed. Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her. 17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. 20 Esther had not yet showed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
a) Obedience/Submission is a place of protection and power
b) Obedience is a success habit best ingrained at an early age
2:21 Mordecai sat in the king's gate, two...which kept the door, were angry and sought to lay hand on the king 22 Mordecai told Esther...certified the king in Mordecai's name 23...both hanged on a tree it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king
Ãž We may not get our due until God’s perfect timing gives it with interest
3:1 Ahasuerus promoted Haman...above all the princes 2 All the king's servants in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence 4...told them that he was a Jew. 6 And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had showed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus 8 There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. 9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed:
Ãž There are consequences for going against the flow, so be sure you do it with good reason
4:1...Mordecai rent his clothes...8...Esther...charge her that she...make request before him for her people. 11...whosoever shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden scepter, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
Ãž Sometimes people need to be nudged into doing the right thing
4:13 Think not with thyself that you shall escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. 14 For if you altogether hold your peace at this time, then shall enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but you and your father's house shall be destroyed: and who knows whether you art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
a) Efforts to protect and save our own skin at the expense of others are futile
b) God doesn’t need our help, but allows us to demonstrate our faithfulness
c) God expects us to be good stewards of all that He’s entrusted to us
4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast you for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in into the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. 17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
a) The coward dies a thousand deaths, the martyr but one (and usually in their minds)
b) Cowards frequently become legal experts at the point of self-sacrifice
c) Fasting doesn’t get God’s attention so much as ours
5:2 when the king saw Esther standing in the court, that she obtained favor in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. 3 Queen Esther what is your request? it shall be even given you to the half of the kingdom. 4 And Esther answered, If it seem good to the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.
a) Some issues are best discussed on a full stomach
b) Never take a relationship for granted
5:9 Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai. 13 Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate. 14 his wife and all his friends: Let a gallows...speak...king that Mordecai may be hanged; then go in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.
a) The ability to enjoy what we have doesn’t depend on what we have
b) Following a plan frees you to enjoy life’s banquet
6:1 On that night could not the king sleep...records of the chronicles; and they were read 2 And it was found...Mordecai had...who sought to lay hand on the king 3 And the king said, What honour and dignity has been done to Mordecai for this?...nothing done for him. 4 Who is in the court? Haman came to speak to the king to hang Mordecai 6 What shall be done unto the man whom the king delights to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than me? 10...as you have said, and do to Mordecai the Jew, that sits at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that you have spoken. 13...If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom you have begun to fall, you shall not prevail against him, but shall surely fall before him.
a) God operates according to a flawless timetable
b) God frequently executes justice on earth; as you sow, so shall you reap
c) God pulls the strings of all the puppet kings
7:1 So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. 2 And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is your petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted you: and what is your request? and it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom. 3 If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: 7 And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden...9...Behold the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, stands in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.
Ãž There are times to speak and times to remain quiet
8:1 Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther...2 And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. 5...If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman...6 For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? 11 Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey 16 The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor. 17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
Ãž God may not change our circumstances but does empower us to face them successfully
9:1...King's commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;) 2 The Jews gathered ...lay hand on such as sought their hurt: and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them fell upon all people. 3 And all the rulers...helped the Jews; because the fear of Mordecai fell upon them. 4 For Mordecai was great in the king's house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater. 5 Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them..22...turned from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor. 26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. 10:2 And all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, 3 For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.
a) God allows difficulties for the purpose of blessing us
b) Our degree of blessing is frequently proportional to our effort/obedience
c) God ultimately and always has a plan for our benefit if we cooperate/obey
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. Why would Mordecai and Esther be “good” or “bad” candidates for blessing?
2. Why is “obey” considered a four letter word? What can we do to enhance our desire to obey and actual obedience?
3. If God has a perfect plan and timetable, why does it seem we only have the rough draft? How do we get the revised edition?
4. Would you rather God change the circumstances/difficulties or empower you to deal with them? Why?
5. Have you seen or do you see the silver linings of any of the clouds that have come into your life? If not, start imagining!