Trek Through Esther
Scripture reading for December 3rd: Esther 7-10, Revelation 3
Key Scriptures: Revelation 3:10-13 “Because you have kept My Word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the Name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down from My God out of heaven, and My own new Name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Jesus dictated this short letter to the church at Philadelphia. These faithful followers had kept Jesus’ Word about patient endurance as they lived in a world and culture that was hostile to the believers of Jesus. In response to their faith, Jesus promised them escape from the final hour of trial that would ultimately come upon the earth in the last days of the last days. Jesus stated clearly that He was coming soon. They must continue to hold fast to their faith for a crown awaited the overcomers. Jesus would make them strong like a pillar and give them an everlasting inheritance which would never be taken away.
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, open my ears to the Spirit’s voice and Your truth. Help me to have the patient endurance of those who fully trust Your Word. I want to be a pillar in Your holy temple and be marked with Your Name. Help me to proclaim Your Name to the nations!
Esther 8:15-17 “Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. 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. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.”
Scripture reading for December 2nd: Esther 4-6, Revelation 2
Key Scriptures: Revelation 2:8-10 “”And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The Word of the First and the Last, Who died and came to life. “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
John was given dictation by the risen Jesus Christ to write down for the seven churches. Jesus identified Himself as the One Who died and came to life. He gave a Word of knowledge to this body of believers. Jesus wanted them to know that He knew about their tribulation and the poverty that also had beset them. He reminded them they were really rich! He also knew about the slander of the false teachers who claimed to be Jews but were really tools of Satan. Jesus told them not to be fearful about the coming trial of suffering and persecution. Satan was behind it but God would reward the faithful with a crown of life eternal!
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, I am thankful You are alive from the dead and know all things. At Your Word, I will not be fearful about future suffering or even of death. I look forward to the crown of life eternal!
Esther 4:16 “”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 of 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.””
Scripture reading for December 1st: Esther 1-3, Psalm 139, Revelation 1
Key Scriptures: Revelation 1:4-7 “John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him Who is and Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of kings on earth. To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.”
John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos for preaching the Gospel. He was likely in his late eighties at this time and had been an Apostle of Jesus Christ, a missionary and church planter and now an overseer. Writing to the seven churches he oversaw, he described God the Father and Jesus Christ to them. They are the eternal Ones, having past existence, present reality and perfect future existence. Jesus Christ, the Son, loves us now and demonstrated His love by giving His blood for our freedom. He made us part of His kingdom and priesthood. To Him and the Father belong eternal glory and dominion. Jesus is coming soon and every eye will behold Him!
Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You have redeemed me by Your blood and freed me from my sins by Your divine grace and favor. Guide me today to fulfill Your will and prepare me for Your soon return.
Esther 2:17 “. . the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”
Scripture reading for June 20th: Esther 7-10, Romans 6
Key Scriptures: Romans 6:20-23 “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Sin’s fruit leads to death. Not just physical death, but eternal separation from God and under His wrath. But when we sell out to God through faith in Christ Jesus, the free gift we get is eternal life! What a great bargain!
Esther 8:16-17 “The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. 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.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the gift of eternal life! Everywhere I go, may I tell the good news and bring joy and gladness! Amen.
Scripture reading for June 19th: Esther 4-6, Romans 5
Key Scriptures: Romans 5:6-10 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person– though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God.”
God’s amazing love sent His only Son at just the right time to die for sinners and rebels! Those who were under God’s wrath because of their own sins could now be saved from that wrath and become justified by faith in Christ Jesus’ shed blood. One died that all might live!
Esther 4:14 “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your perfect timing and wonderful love that you would justify sinners through the death of Your Son. Amen.
Scripture reading for June 18th: Nehemiah 13, Esther 1-3, Romans 4
Key Scriptures: Romans 4:19-22 “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about 100 years old) or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. Now unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
Paul used the example of Abraham to drive home his argument of justification by faith. Abraham was not declared righteous by keeping the Law. The Law had not yet been given. But Abraham was given a promise that he would become the father of many nations and through his “Seed” all nations would be blessed. He believed God, even when it looked impossible in the natural!
Esther 2:16 “And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the other virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head. . .”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the grace and favor showed to all men through faith in Jesus Christ. Help me to believe Your word and receive all Your promises! Amen.
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)
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)
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)
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!