Category: Esther-BibleTrekToday

Trek Through Esther

Rejoice, Feast, and Celebrate!

Scripture reading for May 15th:  Esther 8-10, Job 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Ester 8:16-17  “For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.  In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating.  And many peoples of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.”

God had given Queen Esther and the Jews a great victory by turning the heart of the king to spare the Jews.  As the news went out by fast horses, joy broke out in every city of the land of Persia.  Many people became Jews because of the fear of the king’s edict and joined the feasting and celebration!

Rejoice, feast, and celebrate:  God the Father has decreed forgiveness and eternal life for all who repent and receive His Son!  “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.”   . . .”Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”  (Revelation 19:7-9)

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Thankful for sacrificial love!

Scripture reading for May 12th:  Esther 3-7

Key Scriptures: Esther 4:15-16 “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “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.””   

Queen Esther learned from her uncle Mordecai that Haman had devised a plot to exterminate all Jews from Persia.  Her uncle urged her to go to the king and ask for mercy.  This was against the law and culture of that country.  So Esther asked for backing through prayer and fasting and set a time when she would act, even if it cost her life!

Thankful for sacrificial love:  Jesus Christ knew that His prayers and intercession would result in His death on the cross.  He asked the disciples to watch and pray!  “On reaching the place, He said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”  He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:40-42)

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Thankful for a needed rebuke!

Scripture reading for May 11th:  Nehemiah 12-13, Esther 1-2

Key Scriptures:  Nehemiah 13:17-18  “I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing–desecrating the Sabbath day?  Didn’t your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity upon us and upon this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath.”

Nehemiah had gone back to Persia for a period of time and while he was away, God’s people began to slip away from their obedience to God.  They were working and doing business on the Sabbath, in rebellion to God’s law.  Nehemiah called them out with a public rebuke!  He reminded them of past consequences of such actions and called them to repentance!

Thankful for needed rebukes:  Godly leaders reprove and rebuke those who are in known sin and warn the congregation concerning sin’s consequences. “These then are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority.  Do not let anyone despise you.”  (Titus 2:15)  “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent.”  (Revelation 3:19)

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God of celebration!

Scripture reading for May 17th: Esther 8-10

When God wanted His people to remember something, He often designed a feast or celebration!  Looking back, God gave Israel “Passover” as a way to remember their deliverance from bondage in Egypt.  He gave them “Pentecost” and “Firstfruits” to celebrate the harvest and giving of His Law.  He gave them “Tabernacles” where they lived in booths to commemorate their 40 years in the wilderness before entering the promised land.  He gave the church the “Eucharist” (thanksgiving) to celebrate Jesus Christ’s final sacrifice and as a picture of the great wedding banquet to come!  God likes the idea of His people celebrating!

The Jews had good reason to celebrate!  Their enemy, Haman, had been hung on a gallows that he himself built.  The king had extended favor to Esther and Mordecai by giving them Haman’s estate.  Haman had offered 375 tons of silver (120 million dollars) to eliminate the Jews and the king told Mordecai to keep his money!  (Esther 3:9-11)

The king also granted them the right to defend themselves and eliminate their enemies!   Since the first decree which, according to the law of the land, could not be set aside, Mordecai was allowed to set that day to eliminate the enemies of the Jews.  Before the day came, many people of other nationalities became Jews for fear of them. (Esther 8:17)  On the day set by Haman, the tables were turned and over 75,000 enemies of the Jews were destroyed!  (Esther 9:1-2)  Esther asked for another day and it was granted!  Thus the feast of Purim (lot) was begun.  Annually they celebrated for two days giving gifts and eating choice foods, for their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into celebration!  (Esther 9:20-22)

What do we learn from all of this?  God is in absolute control of everything!  When His people fast and pray and seek to obey, He comes through.  Evil toward His people is turned back on the heads of those who would touch His children!  His children can celebrate a total victory over the forces of evil arrayed against them!  We win in the end!  Tell someone this good news today! Celebrate the victory that is yours in Jesus Christ!

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God turns the tables!

Scripture reading for May 16th: Esther 5-7

“If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.” Proverbs 26:27

“An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.” Proverbs 29:6

We must be careful when we plot revenge.  All judgment and vengeance is the Lord’s.  (Romans 12:19)  The Lord has a way of turning the tables on those who seek revenge.  He has ways of protecting those who are innocent and holding the guilty for punishment.

Haman was thrilled with his position and his influence!  He boasted to his wife and friends of his good fortune and how he was the only one invited to meet with Queen Esther for a banquet.  (Nehemiah 6:1-12)  He was happy, except for one fly in the ointment: Mordecai the Jew would not show him honor by bowing before him!  He complained to his wife and friends who proposed a plan to hang Mordecai on a gallows 75 feet high!  He had the gallows built and was ready for the next day.

But God was moving silently behind the scenes.  The king could not sleep, so he had the chronicles of his reign read to him.  He heard the story of the plot to assassinate him–a plot Mordecai had exposed thus saving his life.  He asked what had been done for this man and found out it had been overlooked.  He asked who might be in the court to honor Mordecai, and providentially, Haman had just walked in with his plans in place.  The king asked him what he would do to honor someone special to the king.  Haman thought he himself was to be honored,  so he proposed a grand public honor and was shocked when the king told him to honor Mordecai!

The story ends tragically for Haman as he was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai!  This is exactly what will happen for all of His people who serve Him faithfully.  It looks like death has the final answer, but not at the final judgment!  Check your heart today and come clean of any thoughts or plans for revenge.  Forgive and turn the table back toward God’s mercy before He turns the tables on you!

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Civil disobedience!

Scripture reading for May 15th: Esther 3-4

As God’s people, we try to be the best citizens we can be.  We should be known as people who obey the law, serve and pray for those in authority.  We should promote respect for those in authority and aide their proper rule.  However, when a civil authority gives orders to disobey the law of God, we must respectfully decline and obey God!

Haman was exalted by King Xerxes to a place of honor above all others.  All officials in the king’s palace knelt down and paid honor to Haman.  (Esther 3:2)  But Mordecai, Queen Esther’s Jewish uncle, would not bow his knee before a man because of his faith in God and God’s word. (Esther 3:4)   This infuriated Haman and he devised a plot to eliminate all Jews from Persia.  He offered the king 375 tons of silver to allow him to eliminate these disrespectful people.  (Esther 3:8-9) For those in authority to feel secure, any threat must be removed!

Mordecai immediately began to fast and pray.  (Ester 4:1-3)  He called on other Jews to join with him.  He even asked his niece, Queen Esther, to help.  This was not going to be easy.  She would have to exercise some wise “civil disobedience” herself if she were to approach the king.  She asked for prayer covering as she prepared for the potentially life-threatening task of asking the king for help.  (Ester 4:15-17)  Her attitude was one of faith and of willingness to die to protect her people!

Queen Esther is a type of the Church.  The Church has been placed by God in places of influence to be a witness for God and His people.  The Church is to be submissive to the authorities of the world in all things except where that compromises faithfulness to God.  The Church is to be willing to die for what is right, rather than compromise the truth for the passing pleasures of sin for a season.  The Church must speak up or loose its place of influence for God!  Ask God what other lessons might be here for you today as you read this story of God working through ordinary people to accomplish His purposes!

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God at work to accomplish His will!

Scripture reading for May 14th: Esther 1-2

The story of Esther takes place in Persia during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah when the Jews were rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.  It never mentions the name of God, but God’s presence is implied and felt throughout the story.  It is the story of ordinary Jewish people who are trying to be faithful to their God while they live in a foreign land.

This story begins with a king of Persia who liked to drink, boast of his wealth, and evidently his women, too!  He called for his beautiful queen, Vashti, to come and display herself before the nobles who were drinking with her husband.  Queen Vashti refused to do what he asked.  The king was furious and sought counsel as to what to do about this offense.  It was decided that she must be made a public example so that other women would not get the idea that they could disobey their husbands and show them disrespect.  Queen Vashti was removed from her royal position, never to come into the king’s presence again!  A search was made for the most beautiful and suitable woman to take the queen’s place.  God exalted Esther, a Jew, to this place of honor!

In today’s culture, what Vashti did would have been totally acceptable!  She did not want to be eye candy for a group of men that were already inflamed by wine.   But in that culture, women were expected to be totally obedient to their husbands and disrespect (disobedience) was not tolerated!  In the pagan culture, all the men in power felt threatened by the queen’s action!  They took action to protect themselves and their way of life. (Esther 1:18-20)

But God used the culture of that day to accomplish his purposes.  He removed Vashti, protecting her for her stand of faith.  He placed Esther in the place of influence and gave her favor in order to bring about the deliverance of all his people!  (Esther 2:17)  As a godly Jew, Esther knew how to obey the king and still remain loyal to her God.  By faith she became to all an example  of a woman true to her people and to her God!

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The Feast of Purim

Scripture reading for May 17th: Esther 8-10

When God wants His people to remember something, He usually designs a feast or celebration!   God gave Israel “Passover” as a way to remember their deliverance from bondage in Egypt.  He gave them “Pentecost or “first-fruits” to celebrate the harvest and giving of His Law.  He gave them “Tabernacles” where they lived in booths to commemorate their 40 years in the wilderness before entering the promised land.  He gave the church the “Eucharist” (thanksgiving) to celebrate Jesus Christ’s final sacrifice and as a picture of the great wedding banquet to come!   Our God likes the idea of His people celebrating!

The Jews had good reason to celebrate!  Their enemy, Haman, was hung on the gallows that he built.  The king had extended favor to Esther and Mordecai by giving them Haman’s estate.   Haman  had offered 375 tons of silver, the equivalent of about 120 million dollars, to eliminate the Jews and the king told him to keep his money!  (Esther 3:9-11)   His estate must have been tremendous. Not only that, but they were now granted the right to defend themselves against their enemies and even eliminate their enemies on the appointed day that Haman had picked by casting the l0t!  Their lives were spared and they were able to see their enemies get their due!

The plan was devised by Mordecai after the king granted him authority to write up what the Jews needed in order to counter the first decree which, according to the law of the land, could not be set aside.  Before the day came, many people of other nationalities became Jews for fear of them. (Esther 8:17)  On the day set by Haman, the tables were turned and the enemies of the Jews were themselves destroyed.  (Esther 9:1-2)  Five hundred were killed in Suza and another 75,000 were eliminated across the land of Persia by the Jews.  Esther asked for another day to eliminate enemies in Suza and the king granted her plea!  Thus the feast of Purim (lot) was begun.  They celebrated for two days giving gifts and eating choice foods!  (Esther 9:20-22)

God is in absolute control of everything!  When His people fast, pray and seek to obey, He comes through.  Evil toward His people is turned back on the heads of those who would harm His children!  Tell someone this good news today! Celebrate the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ!

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Revenge has a recoil!

Scripture reading for May 16: Esther 5-7

“If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.” Proverbs 26:27

“An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.” Proverbs 29:6

We must be careful when we plot revenge.  All judgment and vengeance is the Lord’s.  (Romans 12:19)  The Lord has a way of turning the tables on those who seek revenge and plot evil.  He has ways of protecting those who are innocent and especially those who are serving Him.

Haman was thrilled with his position and his influence!  He boasted to his wife and friends of his good fortune and how he was the only one invited to meet with Queen Esther for a banquet.  (Nehemiah 6:1-12)  There was just one fly in the ointment: Mordecai the Jew would not show him honor by bowing before him!  He complained to his wife and friends who proposed a plan to hang Mordecai on a gallows 75 feet high!  This would have been high enough to display the execution above the walls of the city!  He had the gallows built and was ready for the next day.

But God was moving silently behind the scenes.  The king could not sleep, so he had the chronicles of his reign read to him.  He heard the story of the plot to assassinate him–a plot Mordecai had exposed thus saving his life.  He asked what had been done for this man and found out it had been overlooked.  He asked who might be in the court to honor Mordecai, and providentially, Haman had just walked in!  The king asked him what he would do to honor someone special to the king.  Haman thought of himself and proposed a grand public honor.  He was suddenly embarrassed when he found out it was Mordecai, the man he was planning to hang!

The end of the story finds Haman hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai!  This is what will happen for all of His people who serve Him faithfully.  It can appear as if the wicked got by with their schemes, but not at the final judgment!  Check your heart today and come clean of any thoughts or plans for revenge.  Forgive and turn the table back toward God’s mercy before He turns the tables on you!

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Public example!

Scripture reading for May 14th: Esther1-2

Esther lived in Persia during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah when the 50,000 Jews were rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.  It is the story of ordinary Jewish people who are trying to be faithful to their God while they live in a foreign land.  Although God is not mentioned,  He is turning all circumstances to work out for the good of those who love Him.  (Romans 8:28)

God puts Esther, a  beautiful Jewish virgin,  in the palace of the king of Persia.  The king liked to drink and boast of his wealth and evidently his women, too!  He called for his beautiful queen, Vasti, to come and display herself before the nobles who were drinking with him.  Queen Vasti refused!  The king and his nobles decided that she must be made a public example so that other women would not get the idea that they could disrespect their husbands.  Queen Vasti was removed from her royal position and never allowed into the king’s presence again!  As a result of this, a search was made for the most beautiful woman to take the queen’s place.  God exhalted Esther to this place of honor!

In today’s culture, what Vasti did would have been totally acceptable!  She did not want to be eye candy for this group that were already inflamed by wine.  She had her principles and stuck by them.  She would have been commended by all today, especially Christians!

However, in that culture, women were expected to be totally obedient to their husbands.  In the pagan culture, nothing could stop the king from having what he wanted!  All the men in power agreed about that and felt threatened by the queen’s action!  They felt that they needed to take action to protect themselves and their way of life. (Esther 1:18-20)

God used the culture of that day to accomplish His purposes.  He removed the one queen, probably protecting her for her stand of faith.  He placed Esther, a godly Jew, in the place of influence and gave her favor in order to bring about the deliverance of all his people!  (Esther 2:17)  As a godly Jew, Esther learned how to obey the king and still remained  loyal to her God.  By faith she has become a Christian example  of a woman true to her people and to God!

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