ESTHER CHAPTER 10
3 For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.
God has the power and ability to put people in positions of authority. People don’t become leaders without God’s say-so. That is why it is important to pray for our leaders, regardless of political loyalty. 1 Timothy 2:1-15
In Chapter 10, we see Mordecai granted great power in the kingdom. He was a great leader, bringing welfare and peace to his people. It is always a blessing when you are lead by a strong, godly leader. But we are all human and Mordecai wasn’t Jesus. I am sure he made mistakes and struggled with sin just like the rest of us. In our country today, we are constantly reminded of how fallible men and women are, whether in politics, the church, Hollywood, or any other realm. That is why it is so important to pray for them. Pray for our leaders. Pray for our politicians as they are faced with the daunting task of making decisions for an entire country. Pray for our pastors as they struggle to lead a doubting world in God’s truth. Pray for our celebrities as they have the power to shape our culture. Pray for our teachers as they are given the task of training the next generation. For nothing on this planet occurs without God’s consent. But freewill was given to us, and sometimes we don’t choose to use our freewill in the wisest way. We all need prayer and not condemnation. I hope you pray for our leaders today.
Lord, you are all-knowing and all-powerful. You knew our actions before we were born and yet allow us to make our own decisions. Thank you for being a God of people and not robots. Please be with our country’s leaders today as they are faced with a complicated and emotional decision, Lord. Please help them focus on you and YOUR will. AMEN.
ESTHER CHAPTER 9
28 …these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.
We should thank God for His provision and remember His goodness.
When I find myself in a spiritual valley or during tough circumstances, I tend to only focus on the bad. It’s hard to think about the good when you don’t see any of it around you. But we all have examples of miracles, grace, love, and the fulfillment of God’s plans in our lives, we just tend to forget. In Chapter 9, Esther and Mordecai decree that the Jewish people celebrate God’s faithfulness every year so as to remember how their lives were saved. What a reason to celebrate! What a time to rejoice! If we stop and start thanking the Lord for what he has done in our lives, it will be much easier to forget about the bad.
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28:7
“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
Give thanks to the Lord today for all he has done for you!
Lord, thank you for all you have done for me and all you continue to do. Thank you for your grace, your love, and your mercy. Thank you for adopting me as your daughter. Amen.
ESTHER CHAPTER 8
16 The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. 17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday.
Despite the tough situations we go through, God promises that He will triumph over evil.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”. – Psalms 27:13-14
In Chapter 8 we see victory. Victory for Esther, for Mordecai, and for the Jewish people. We see good triumph over evil with Haman getting exactly what he deserves and the King using his power to make all things right. This morning I awoke to a difficult situation. I felt overwhelmed, like I’m fighting an unbeatable battle. Chapter 8 was a much needed reminder that God is not only my Father, he is my warrior. He fights for me on a daily basis. I am safe in His hands. And even though the future seems dire, He promises that we will see His goodness, whether in this life or the eternal life we will spend with Him in Heaven. So be encouraged. “Yet God has made everything beautiful in its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Wait for the Lord. He is coming.
Lord, I am powerless over my circumstances and my sinful nature wants to take control away from you and into my own hands. Please give me the wisdom and patience to be at peace, waiting on you and your perfect plan. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.
ESTHER CHAPTER 7
10 …So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated.
Though we deserve to be hanged on the gallows for our crimes against the King of Kings, Jesus, God’s only son, took our place and died for our sins (John 3:16).
In Chapter 7, Esther reveals Haman’s plot to kill the Jews and the King is furious. He sentences Haman to be hung on the very gallows that he had set aside for Mordecai. It is always great when you get to the part of the story where the bad guy loses and good triumphs over evil. However, we forget that ever day we sin against the King of Kings, our Heavenly Father. We betray Him, we mock Him, we doubt Him, we anger Him, we forget Him, we lie, we cheat, we steal, we gossip, we fight, we get angry, we are disrespectful, rude, stubborn, prideful, lusting, purging, obsessing…. the list goes on and on. And instead of sentencing us to death, which is what we truly deserve. He sent His one and only son to die instead, giving all of us a clean slate. FOREVER. The wrath of God was abated because Jesus sacrificed himself to die an unbearable and humiliating death. How awesome is that? Let us be reminded of the greatest act of love the world has ever seen and thank Him this morning.
Lord, you are a loving and merciful King. You see me at my worst but see me as Yours. I fail daily, Lord, and I am constantly making mistakes. Thank you for forgiving me no matter what. AMEN.
ESTHER CHAPTER 6
3 And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
There may not be a reward on earth, but our real rewards will be found in Heaven (Revelation 22:12).
How many times do I do something good and then get angry that no one noticed? Being the people-pleaser that I am, I love nothing more than getting affirmation from others based on my performance. And I haven’t even saved someone’s life! Moredcai didn’t boast about his actions and he didn’t even use the fact that he saved the King’s life to stop Haman’s plot. Mordecai continued to be faithful, knowing full well that God saw his actions and that’s all that mattered. Just as in Matthew 25:21, one day we will meet Jesus and (hopefully) he will say to us, “Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”. In today’s culture, we are trained to base of value and worth on our performance and how often it’s noticed. What a wonderful reminder that our Father notices and that is all that matters.
Father, you are all-knowing. You knit me in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me in Your image. Please help me to focus my actions on Your, Lord. Please remind me to find my value in You alone. AMEN.
ESTHER CHAPTER 5
7 Then Esther answered, “My wish and my request is: 8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to grant my wish and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come to the feast that I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14
Esther shows a lot of patience and trust in Chapter 5. If I was in her shoes, the second the King held out that golden scepter I would have immediately told him of Haman’s plot to kill my people. But Esther has the wisdom to know that a hasty plan is not necessarily the best plan. She trusts that the Lord will work in His own timing. She doesn’t have to speed things up. She simply has to obey and continue on.
When in the midst of a conflict or a situation that requires a decision, I often find myself trying to fix the problem or making a decision as fast as possible. In my mind, the faster I do something, the faster it’s over. But I also find myself making unwise or foolish decisions because of this. Out of fear and distrust, I try to control things which rarely ever turns out well. Instead of stressing and trying to do things the way I feel is best, I should trust in God, knowing full well that he has everything under control. All I need to do is obey and continue on.
Lord, you are trustworthy and all-knowing. You know my anxious thoughts and my doubting heart. Please take my sinful need to control things and give me the strength and wisdom to let go. You have everything under control, Lord. Help me to remember that. AMEN.
ESTHER CHAPTER 4
14 “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place…And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
If God is for us, then who can be against us (Romans 8:31)? We must trust Christ will everything, even our lives.
In Chapter 4, we see Mordecai lamenting the upcoming extermination of the Jewish people. When Esther finds our about Haman’s plan, he explains that Esther is in a prime position to help her people. What I love most about this chapter is that Mordecai also explains that if she chooses to keep silent, deliverance and relief will come from God in some other form. That’s a lot of trust. Moredcai recognizes that our choices are not too big or too powerful for God. God can work despite our sinful nature, ultimately using it for His good and His glory. Just as he used Queen Vashti’s choice to not obey the King as a means to put Esther on the thrown, he very well could have saved the Jews without Esther’s cooperation. However, Esther shows faith in God and chooses to do the impossible: speak to the King without a summons. Esther and Moredcai also knew that for their plan to work, God must be on their side. So they choose to spend the next three days fasting and in prayer. I know for me, I tend to jump into things without taking it to God first and find myself praying in the middle of my decisions. What a great reminder that God is available at all times and for all decisions. We only have to seek His face.
Lord, thank you again for your faithfulness and your protection. Thank you for being by my side every day of my life, guiding me on Your path. I know I often stray, determined that my way is better or safer or quicker. Please give me the patience and peace to do Your will. AMEN.
ESTHER CHAPTER 3
2…But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. 3 Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?”4 And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew. 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury.
God doesn’t promise that life will be easy. In fact, he promises us that we will be hated because of Him (John 15:18-21, John 16:1-4).
In Chapter 3, we see Mordecai refuse to bow down to the King. This is not a small thing. Mordecai was well aware of the consequences and chose to remain faithful to the God of Jacob. By choosing allegiance to God, Mordecai angered Haman who then convinced the King to kill all of the Jews. This was very convicting to me. There have been many times when sharing the Gospel or talking about my faith would have meant an awkward situation or maybe even some teasing. But I have yet to be in a position where worshiping my God would mean punishment by death and yet I still fear rejection. The Bible is very clear on the times ahead of us (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6). It will only get harder to be a Christian and the Lord calls us to be ready; to be watchful and to stand firm on the promises of Christ. Mordecai is an encouragement and a reminder that God is faithful. Despite the present situation of Chapter 3, we readers know that God has not abandoned his people. He allowed Esther to be placed exactly where He needed her to be. She is in the perfect position to carry out God’s plan. Mordecai trusts that God knows what He is doing. All He asks of us is obedience.
Dear Lord, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for constantly reminding me that you are in control and your plan is PERFECT. I want to confess to you this morning that I have doubted you and your plans time and time again. Please give me the grace and courage to trust you with all my heart, soul, and mind and that I would continuously focus on you, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.
ESTHER CHAPTER 2
10 Esther had not made known her people or kindred, for Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known … 15 When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised… 20 Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him.
God calls us to obey Him and will bless those who do. (Luke 11:28, Psalm 119:2)
I don’t know about you but I would not be as calm as Esther is right now, let alone obedient. I tend to think that my way is the best way, especially in difficult situations. If I was Esther, I would be a terrible backseat driver: “Um… Mordecai… You sure I shouldn’t tell them I’m Jewish?”, “Hey Hegai! Um… You sure I don’t need to bring anything else with me to the King?”, “Mordecai… let me just double check before we do this thing… don’t say I’m Jewish?” Esther shows complete surrender and obedience in this chapter. She follows direction and honors her cousin’s commands. And, ultimately, she finds favor in the eyes of the King. In my life, I find that when I surrender completely to Christ, no matter what the situation, things end up working out for my best. It’s easy to forget that God loves us and knows what he is doing, especially when you struggle with pride and control like me. But as we will see in later chapters, God knows exactly what he is doing and though there will be some days and some seasons that don’t make sense to us or may be painful, they are all a part of his glorious and PERFECT plan.
I have felt convicted lately about spending more time in the Word. I tend to be distracted while reading or in a rush. While thinking about this yesterday, a thought came to me out of the blue: I am more intentional about Scripture when I blog about it. So I have decided to blog my way through books in the Bible, one chapter at a time, starting with the book of Esther. You are invited to join the journey with me as I try to spend more time in Scripture and grow closer to Christ.
ESTHER CHAPTER 1
15 “According to the law, what is to be done to Queen Vashti, because she has not performed the command of King Ahasuerus delivered by the eunuchs?” 16 Then Memucan said in the presence of the king and the officials, “Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.
When we sin, we sin against Christ our Lord, the King of Kings and we deserve death (Romans 6:23). But we are loved so much that Christ died for our sins and we are washed clean (John 3:16).
When Queen Vashti sent word back to the King of her refusal to come to him, she probably wasn’t thinking she just threw away her royal crown. She probably felt justified in her refusal. She IS Queen, you know. But her pride lost her the Kingdom. I can relate a lot to this Queen. I can be very prideful and independent. I think I know what is best and don’t like being told I’m wrong. I think, “Oh, this sin isn’t THAT bad. I can handle it. It’s not going to cause too many issues”. When in reality, even the smallest sin is a travesty to Christ. It’s a slap in His face. In Chapter 1, we see Queen Vashti lose everything because of her sin and we also see her sin affect others (the other women in the land). My sins don’t just affect me. They affect others in the way I treat them and, at times, indirectly by the things I do. And for these sins we deserve eternal separation from God. But thank God we don’t get what we deserve. God gave his one and only Son to become flesh and die on the cross for our sins. He has washed us white as snow. We are blameless in His sight. How marvelous is that! And as we will see in upcoming chapters, God uses our sins and the sins of others for His glory. Nothing is too big or too dirty for Christ. Queen Vashti’s refusal may have led to her downfall, but it also paved the way for Esther to take the thrown. Nothing can get in the way of God’s plans for us.