:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Esther Chapter 5

Esther Chapter 5

(vs. 1)

- So the Jews have fasted and prayed for Esther for 3 days.

- Isaiah 58:1-14
- Ezra 8:21-23
- II Chronicles 20:1-30
- Daniel 9:1-27

- It doesn't do you any good to prepare for action if you never go to battle... Preparing for the battle is only half the fight.

- Do you know anybody who complains about politics?

- Well, my grandmother used to sit and complain about stuff all the time... but she's not even a registered voter!

- If you're not voting, then you can't complain about the outcome! You didn't help the situation any!

- You can know all about the candidates, know all about what they stand for, maybe even know them personally... but if you don't go to the polls to cast a vote... you don't really have a right to complain when things don't go the way you thought they should...

- The lives and future of the entire Jewish people is at stake. Esther stands a chance to save her people... If the people had just decided to give up... or had decided they didn't feel like fasting... would Esther have stood a chance walking in that throne room? I mean God honors the faithful... but if it was only Esther and Mordecai praying and fasting... would God have still heard the cry?

- Yeah... God doesn't turn a deaf ear to anybody... however... I think the people would have felt the consequence of not trusting in their God.

- But anyway, after 3 days of seeking God and getting her heart ready, Esther puts on her royal robes and went in to see the king.

- I wonder what was going through her mind. I wonder if she ever thought about turning around and backing out.

- Been there? Know you're supposed to stand for something... and scared to death to do it? Ever backed down? Got scared and ran away?

- Remember the story of Elijah? He just had this huge victory on Mt. Carmel. Elijah had prayed for a drought... and they had been in drought for 3 years... and so Elijah and the prophets of Baal and Asherah have a contest on Mt. Carmel. They are going to see which God speaks.

- And the prophets of Baal and Asherah cut themselves and danced and chanted and cried out to their gods... and nothing happened... Elijah prayed a simple prayer... and fire came down out of heaven and devoured the sacrifice, the altar, and gallons and gallons of water.

- Then he killed all the false prophets... and waited... and sure enough... here came the rain.

- THEN... He outran the king's chariot and beat him back to the city of Jezreel... I mean this guy was on top of the world... He just had one of, if not THE greatest spiritual win of his life...

- And the queen sends word that she's going to kill him by tomorrow... and this man of God... who just had the greatest spiritual high ever... ran away and hid in a cave.

- Did you not just see how BIG your God is???? Did you not just face the entire nation and see one of the greatest victories over Satan?

- But Elijah... in just those few hours between doing all these great things and Jezebel threatening his life... laid it aside. He was exhausted and tired and depressed...

- Even this great man of faith got discouraged and scared and ran from a fight.

- But God is faithful to bring us back... He sent Elijah an angel to feed him and minister to his needs... He let him rest and recuperate... then started asking the hard questions... What are you doing here?

- “God... I've served you zealously... but the people have broken their covenant with You... they have torn down Your alters and killed your prophets... I'm the only one left... and now they're going to kill me too.” Wow... pity party much? “I'm all alone in the world! Oh woe is me!”

- God said, “go out and stand before me on the mountain...”

- So he did... and this windstorm came up and blew the rocks off the mountain. Then there was an earthquake. Then there was fire... but God wasn't in any of it. He came as a gentle whisper... and He asked again... “What are you doing here Elijah?”

- Elijah started his same old “God, I'm the only one... and they're going to kill me.”

- God said, “go back where you came from, I have a job for you to do... and oh by the way... there's 7,000 in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal... you're not alone...”

- I Kings 18, 19
- Hebrews 13:5-6

- So here's Esther... man I would've been scared out of my wits... But you know, if you're not willing to lose your life for God... what kind of faith are you living? Right?

- The thought of having to stand in front of anybody and say “this is what I believe... go ahead and take my life if you want... it won't change my faith...” Man that scares me to death. But if ever in that situation... what's the alternative? Standing in front of God and saying “yeah... sorry about the whole denying You thing... but I really had to save my own skin on that one...” What kind of response will that get? Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33 that “everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”

- Ouch... what a way to go...

- II Chronicles 15:1-19

- Point to all this being... if Esther had walked away... there would have been major consequences... not only to her... but to her family and her people as well.

- Man... to know that what you're living for... isn't as important or as great as what you're dying for... That's something to think about...

- Psalm 46; 118; 34
- Jeremiah 2:1-3:5
- Hebrews 3:1-19

(vs. 2-8)

- Esther walks in to the court room... and when the king saw her... he welcomed her and held out his gold scepter for her to touch. I would have fainted right there... lol Not knowing what the outcome would be... knowing that he could turn around and tell his guards to drag you out and string you up... I think I would have cried in relief at the very least. I wonder if he was thinking about Vashti at all... About losing another queen to a stupid law...

- Proverbs 16:13-16

- But anyway, Esther holds her queenly stance and walks up to talk to the king.

- “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”

- Temptation much? Lol “Oh, well if you insist...”

- But Esther asks for his attendance at a banquet... with Haman.

- So the king sent word and he and Haman went to the banquet. Haman's on cloud nine. The QUEEN asked for his attendance in specific... feed the ego monster...

- After they had eaten, the king asked Esther what she REALLY wanted... there has to be a catch to this... she couldn't have just wanted to have them over for dinner...

- “If I have found favor with the king, and it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I ask, please come with Haman tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for you. Then I will explain what this is all about.”

- Okay... one day with the man who's trying to exterminate my race would have been enough... to sit there and politely request another day of it... I think I would desperately need a shower after that... my skin would have been crawling...

- However, if Esther didn't play her cards right... she could still end up dead... along with every other Jew... So she was buttering the king up... gain the king's favor first... then go against the king's right hand man... Patience is wisdom... even when it seems like the hardest thing you've ever had to do...

- Proverbs 2:1-15
- Ephesians 1:15-18
- Colossians 3:12-17
- Titus 2:11-15

(vs. 9-14)

- On the way out of the palace, Haman sees Mordecai... sitting at the palace gate, not bowing down to Haman. Haman got so angry that he trembled. His blood was boiling. But he calmed himself and went home.

- Haman gathered all his family and friends together to brag about all his accomplishments and wealth. “The king has given me all these honors and awards and he's promoted me to highest official and NOW! Queen Esther requested a banquet with just the king and I. Exclusive! TWICE!... but none of it is worth anything while I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate...”

- Wow... none of it? He's so focused on Mordecai, so filled with hatred, that he can't enjoy anything he has. He can't look at anything around him and be satisfied... because the central focus of his life is to destroy another's.

- When we get so focused on things outside of God, or outside of what we should be doing, we forget to enjoy life. We don't take the time to smell the roses so to speak. Haman was so concentrated on his hate, that he couldn't even take pleasure in the fact that he was apparently in favor with not only the king, but the queen as well. Oh he could brag about it... but it brought no JOY.

- Christ is our joy. Joy unspeakable, and unexplainable. When we get focused on life and get caught up in the busyness... we can lose our joy. We can lose our pleasure in life.

- Haman... didn't have Christ... but he couldn't even feel the simple pleasures of his life... what a sorry existence...

- Haman's wife was just as bad... While he's complaining... she's scheming on how to fix this thing... “Set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet tall, and in the morning, ask the king to impale Mordecai on it. When this is done, you can go on your merry way to the banquet with the king.”

- Proverbs 6:12-15

- Yep... let's add to that ego beast... let's add justification and stroke the pride there... Have your cake and eat it too...

- So Haman orders the pole to be set up. Who needs a 75 foot impaling pole? How in the world are you going to get the head up there anyway? That was a job and a half... had to put the pole up, then had to build a scaffold beside it... geesh... all that just to get rid of a man he hated... partly because he was a Jew and partly because... Mordecai just refused to bow down to him...

- But thank God He doesn't really go by our plans... ever. And His plans always seem like they work out before ours ever would have... especially when we're not walking with Him... Might seem pretty good for a little while... but God always wins in the end... : ) No matter what our plans were... or what Satan thinks he can plan... : )

- Psalm 35; 62; 23
- Proverbs 16:9
- Luke 10:18-20
- I Peter 6-11
- Isaiah 25:1-5

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