Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Ladies breakfast coming up: Esther

We all know the story of Esther – the beautiful young Jewess who became a Queen of Persia at the time of the Jewish exile, who then saved her people from annihilation. She is chosen for King Xerxes’ harem and eventually becomes Queen. Her uncle and adoptive father, Mordecai, is a Jew who learns of a plot to exterminate the Jews. He tells Esther who, after much heart-searching, prayer and fasting risks her own life to approach the king. She then waits for the right moment before pleading with the king to save her people as eventually the plot is exposed, the perpetrator – Haman – is put to death and the Jewish people are saved.

1 Vashti was banished, and Esther became Queen (Esther 1 & 2)
Queen Vashti refused to obey the orders of her husband King Ashasuerus, so he divorced her and sought a new queen. This new queen was to be the most beautiful woman in the land. A young Jewish girl, Esther, was chosen. Her uncle, Mordecai, overheard a plot against the king, and warned him through Esther.
Esther’s fate was decided for her. She had no choice. She made the best of it. 

2 Esther saved Mordecai from Haman (Esther 3-8:14)
Mordecai offended a high court official, who decided to kill not only Mordecai but all the Jews in the Persian empire. Esther pleaded with the king at two banquets she gave. Mordecai was saved from death, and Haman was punished.

3Esther saved the Jewish people of Persia (Esther 8:15-10)
Letters were sent throughout the kingdom repealing the decree of death for all Jews. There was great rejoicing, and an annual festival was celebrated to commemorate the courage of Esther and the deliverance of the Jews. This festival was called Purim.
Esther must risk her life to approach the King, reveal her identity, and make the request to save her people, or she could remain silent and rest in the apparent security of her lavish surroundings. She fasted; waited for God’s direction; stepped out in faith; used her position.
Esther was out of the safe environment of her Jewish home and friends. No one in the palace knew of her heritage and she had influence and security there. Still, she risked her own life to save her people.

Refusing to take matters into her own hands, Esther waited three days.
· In stressful and dangerous situations, can we wait for God’s direction and timing?
· Do we request prayer from fellow believers? Do we join in prayer for others?
· Mordecai stood by his belief in God even when it looked like it would cause calamity for him and his people. Can you confess your Christian belief in the midst of adversity?
Matthew 10:32 "Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven."

Do we look for God’s hand in all situations?
Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him."

Is there pride in our lives that needs to be dealt with?
Proverbs 8:13 "I hate pride and arrogance"

Do we remember and celebrate the blessings we have received?
Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
Give thanks to Him and praise His name."

And, finally, something to think about:
I Peter 3 - 4 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;  but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

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