These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
Esther 2-3 – Fear God; Honor the King
I see the diligence Mordecai showed in helping as a dutiful citizen of a pagan king. Esther, similarly, seems like she is being really diligent to obey the rules and laws of the land. To these names we could add Daniel and his 3 friends, as well as Joseph, and others. All were God-fearing people living as citizens and employees of non-Israelite leaders.
Of course, this comes 2nd to obeying God as King. For instance, Daniel and friends are willing to die rather than disobey the Lord. And undoubtedly there was some fear of ramifications of disobeying the kings of those days!! But it is something that speaks to me as an employee in a secular workplace.
- Follow the Lord alone,
- do my work diligently to be well-pleasing to them as employers.
I guess the same thing is said in the NT: “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” (Col. 3:23)
And, actually…Esther 3 shows Mordecai not bowing to Haman. Fits the theme of dutiful citizens even with pagan kings, while maintaining worship and allegiance to the Lord alone.
Esther 4 – Fasting
Mordecai’s response to Haman’s plot: fasting
Esther’s preparation to meet the king: fasting
I was I inspired by how fasting seems like the go-to response of God’s people when something significant is going on
…definitely is true in Ezra and Nehemiah as well.
Esther 8 – Fight Back
The king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goodsEsther 8:11
All the officials of the provinces and the satraps and the governors and the royal agents also helped the Jews, for the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them.Esther 9:3
In Susa the citadel itself the Jews killed and destroyed 500 menEsther 9:6
Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also gathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they laid no hands on the plunder.Esther 9:16
I’m just so struck by the fact that their deliverance still involved them fighting (probably in really graphic, hand-to-hand combat for a lot of it). How often is this happening for us–God provides deliverance, but still wants us to fight?
God in Esther
I have really enjoy Esther this time around with a fresh lens. Crazy that God is never actually mentioned in this book!
It jumped out to me that there were so many terrible situations that God used for His good.
They want Queen Vasti to dance and just show off her body and she refuses and then this allows Esther to enter the scene.
Esther is an orphan and even in the heartbreak of this it allows Mordecai to have a central role in her life. The scene at the end of chapter 2 feels like the show “the bachelor” to me (*disclaimer: I don’t watch it, but I know the premise), and yet God redeems all of this, gives Esther favor, and ultimately uses it to free His people and bring redemption through Esther! Amazing!
The note in my Bible states “Ester and Mordecai both illustrate the fact that divine Providence does not negate the responsibility of the people to act with courage and resolve when circumstances require it.”
You can see how people quickly can use/twist scripture to their own devices ie 3:13 about killing the Jews. “Letters were sent by couriers to all the kings provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelve month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.”
I can about guarantee Hitler used these verses for persuasion. If you don’t know the whole book. The whole Bible. You can easily be persuaded by charisma and even by the Bible which is why we must know all context!
Love Ester’s faith! Chapter 4:16 “then I will go to the king though it’s against the law, and if I perish, i perish.”