Esther: For Such a Time as This (Part II)
I. DAY ONE
A. Focus: Use Psalm 34 to guide your thoughts as your focus on God through praise. Start today with Psalm 34:1-7
B. Feed: Refresh your memory of where we left off in the story of Esther by reading Esther 5:10-14. What was going through Haman’s mind?
1. Read Esther 6:1-5. That same night, the king could not sleep. What book was chosen to be his bedtime story?
a. What was recorded there?
b. What does the king ask in verse 3? And the answer?
c. Who was in the court (at such a late hour), and why was he there?
d. What strikes you about this situation so far? Do you think God was at work? How?
2. Read Esther 6:6-11. What did the king ask Haman? (v.6)
a. What did Haman immediately think?
b. What did Haman suggest?
c. What did the king tell Haman to do?
d. Can you imagine Haman’s humiliation? What are your thoughts?
e. After the public ceremony, what did Haman do?
f. While he was still talking with his friends, who showed up and why?
3. Read the following verses and comment on God’s view of pride and humility:
a. Psalm 25:9
b. Proverbs 3:34
c. Isaiah 66:2
d. Matthew 18:4
e. Matthew 23:12
f. Ephesians 4:2
g. James 4:10
h. I Peter 5:6
Write a summary statement on the Bible’s view of humility and pride.
4. Did Mordecai do anything to intentionally exalt himself? How do you see this truth of Scripture (question #3) demonstrated in this situation?
C. Fill: This chapter in the story of Esther gives us a good perspective on how God can use trivial things to fulfill His purposes. God is in control, and we can’t always know the ‘behind the scenes’ intervention. Our call is to be obedient (Deuteronomy 30:20); to be humble and to wait on God’s timing. He will exalt the humble in His time and in His way. Talk to God about the verses from question three. Do you feel the need for recognition and exaltation? What would God have you do?
D. Follow: Begin memorizing Psalm 63:3.
II. DAY TWO
A. Focus: Continue your praise today with Psalm 34:8-10.
1. Read Esther 7.
a. What did Haman’s own wife say to him in Esther 6:13? (See Psalm 57:6; Proverbs 26:27; Proverbs 28:18.)
b. When Haman described the people he wanted to destroy, what did he say in Esther 3:8? Did he ever mention that they were Jews?
c. Looking at Esther 7: 1-6 , when the king asks the queen for her request, what does she say?
2. Up to this moment, the king probably did not know that Esther was Jewish.
a. Whose lives was she pleading for?
b. What did she say was happening to them?
c. She says she would not have disturbed the king if it were slavery they were being sold into. What does this tell you about the perspective of the Jews at this point in history?
d. King Xerxes has a wrathful response. What does he say?
3. Esther exposes Haman’s plan
a. What happened while the king left to ponder Haman’s fate?
b. Where was Haman to be hung?
4. Do you remember why Haman hated Mordecai so much?
a. What was the core of the hate?
b. What does jealousy and hate do to people? Although we don’t carry it to the degree Haman did, what effects does jealousy have on us?
c. Who is hurt mostly by our jealousies?
- What does Proverbs 14:30 say?
- How about I Corinthians 13:4?
- How would you explain what envy (jealousy) is to a child?
- What would you tell them to do with that feeling? (See Galatians 5:16-26.)
- How do you use prayer as a weapon against envy/jealousy? (See Ephesians 6:18.)
C. Fill: Jealousy and envy are two emotions that drive many people living in the world today. We want what everyone else has; or we want the same talent and recognition as someone else. Sometimes it stems from not knowing who we really are as a child of God. Do you struggle with jealousy? Do you realize you are mostly hurting yourself? Spend some time with Galatians 5: 16-26 and talk to God about the way His Spirit will replace your natural tendencies. You can have victory! Our sinful natures have been crucified with Christ. Trust Him to change you and reveal His Spirit in you. Talk to Him.
D. Follow: Identify one area where you seem to struggle the most with envy or jealousy. Find a verse of Scripture to memorize to attack that temptation. Then, when the ugly emotion comes, quote that verse out loud, taking that sinful thought captive so it has no power over you. (See I Corinthians 10:3.) Work on memorizing Psalm 63:3.
III. DAY THREE
A. Focus: Use Psalm 34 to guide your thought as you focus on God through praise. Start today with Psalm 34:11-18.
1. Read Esther 8:1-2. What happened on the same day that Haman was executed?
2. Read Esther 8: 3-14. What was Esther pleading for this time? (v.3)
a. She was not content to have her own safety while her people were being destroyed. What do you learn about Esther from this?
b. In verses 5-6, how does she present the problem?
c. What was the king’s reply?
d. As he did with Haman, the king now gives full power to Mordecai to write the orders and seal them with the signet ring of the king. What does Mordecai write?
e. How is this edict delivered?
3. God rescues His people through the obedience of Esther. What do you learn about God and His promises through this story?
4. Psalm 34 speaks to the truth of this story. Read Psalm 34:11-22. What verses from this psalm remind you of the deliverance of God’s people in the story of Esther?
a. Verses 13 and 14 of Psalm 34 describe one that fears the Lord. What are some of these qualities?
b. We are made righteous through faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ. What does Psalm 33:18 say?
c. What happened when the righteous cry out? (Psalm 34:17)
5. Read Esther 8:15-17. How did Mordecai leave the king? Can you imagine the celebration? God spared His chosen race once again. Do you think we take the time to celebrate God’s goodness to us? When? How? What can we learn from our Jewish ancestors?
IV. DAY FOUR
A. Focus: Use Psalm 34 to guide your thoughts as you focus on God through praise. Start today with Psalm 34:11-18.
B. Feed: As you read this next chapter in Esther, the aggression of the Jews may be disturbing. However, we must keep in mind the long history of unjustified persecution toward the Jews.
1. Read Esther 9:1-10. Nine months had passed since Mordecai was granted power. The edict he wrote was to be carried out the same day as the one Haman had written. How had the tables been turned?
a. What did the Jews do in each city?
b. Why couldn’t anyone stand against them?
c. Why did the leaders fear Mordecai? What did they do for the Jews?
d. Who did the Jews go after?
e. Did they have the right to take the plunder (Esther 8:11)? Why do you think they didn’t take it?
2. Read Esther 9:11-15. What does Esther ask for now?
3. Read Esther 9:16-19. Many people who hated the Jews were killed in a single day, but the plunder was left behind. They were restricted to just one day of killing by the edict that Mordecai wrote. The Jews in Susa were allowed two days. How did they celebrate at the end?
4. Read Esther 9:20-28. Could you explain the Jewish festival of Purim to someone? How would you explain it using these verses to help you?
5. Read Esther 9:29-32. What did Queen Esther and Mordecai do together?
a. Think back to the beginning of the story. Do you think Esther had any idea of what was ahead for her when she obeyed the instruction of Mordecai?
b. Do you think Mordecai knew what was in store for him?
c. What principle did Jesus teach in Luke 16:10-12?
d. How do you see this principle demonstrated in the lives of Esther and Mordecai?
6. Finish reading the book of Esther (10:1-3). Why was Mordecai held in high esteem?
C. Fill: Although this story is approximately 2,350 years old, its truths are applicable to us today. The faithfulness of Mordecai and Esther are examples for us to follow. Are you faithful with the little things God asks of you? Do you think about what you are doing and how it will affect the people of God and His Kingdom? Will you be remembered for being selfless as Mordecai was? Pray about these thoughts. Do you need to make some changes?
D. Follow: What is one thing you could do this week to bless someone in God’s family? Ask God to bring someone to your mind and then do it. Keep memorizing Psalm 63:1-3.
Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!
V. DAY FIVE
Those who look to Him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
A. Focus: Look back over your lesson for this week. For each day’s lesson, write one or two key points:
2. What verses seem to stand out to you from your study?
3. Why did you pick these verses?
4. What is one lesson or principle you want to remember from your study?
5. How will you apply this lesson to your everyday life?
B. Summary: Esther’s Portrait of Kingdom Living, Part II
- What did Esther’s life teach you about living with the Kingdom of God as your primary concern?
- Conclude this lesson by discussing what you’ve written above with your Father.
- Write out your memory verse(s).
Mordecai was . . .held in high esteem,
because he worked for the good of the people . . .
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