Trek Through Esther
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!
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!
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!
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!