Author Archives: LB

Esther Chapter 9 & 10 notes

Esther 9:1-15
God loves you. He sees every tear and every moment you hurt. He sees our efforts to be closer to Him and to be more like Him. He knows you and loves you. When satan comes against a child of God, he thinks he has much to gain but with God’s providence he actually has a whole lot more to lose. The tables have turned and the Jews have the advantage. Their day seemed to be successful. Why then did Esther request another day? Was she afraid? Did she need to be sure their future was secure? Did she abuse the power that was given her? Was she out for revenge? We don’t really know but it should tell us that when God has put us in a position of power, no matter what level that power might be, we need to cover our actions in prayer and examine our motives. Luke 12:48 tells us if we are given much then much will be required of us. We must handle whatever we have been given with diligence.
Again, we are not sure of Esther’s motives but to hang the sons on the gallows seemed to be about revenge since they were already dead. Do we ever witness those that not only want to stab someone but also want to twist the sword? Although Haman was not king, Esther’s request was most likely based on the custom that the sons of an assassinated ruler were also to be killed. Once again if Xerxes would put some thought into the advice he receives, he may have realized Esther may have perceived Haman as such thus taking a blow to his own ego. His lack of awareness had worked to Esther’s advantage.
Seems as if the Jews acted humbly. Even though the edict listed women and children, and even of the men, they seemed to focus on killing the real enemies and also did not take advantage of taking the plunder. They realized this war was not about possession. They knew their circumstance was a result of their disobedience to God back when God instructed them to destroy the Amalekites. They also knew that God did not want them to have their plunder. Check out the battle with the Amalekites in 1Samuel 15:13-23 when God says “No”, He means “No”. Saul tried justifying his actions but when God gives us specific instructions, He does not settle for partial obedience. The Jews at this point were determined to follow God’s instructions in order to be successful.
We don’t know if Esther’s second day of vengeance was to complete a task or not. We do see in the Old Testament, many wars where God used people to carry out His wrath. At the coming of Christ, we are taught to love our enemies. It is the Lord’s right to avenge. (Romans 12:19) It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to do this and any vengeance that is due us or others can be satisfied by Christ’s blood shed for us on the cross.
Esther 9:16-19
In these verses we realize that Esther had another reason for wanting another day since 800 were killed in Susa. It seems many of the enemies were being killed in the other provinces making it possible that a second day was needed to complete the task. When we get victory, we need to rest, reflect, celebrate. The Jews are celebrating because their day of death has come and gone and they are still standing. They are alive!
People are turning to so many worldly things to fill the emptiness in their heart. Those that are deceived by drugs live everyday with the possibility of dying of an overdose. Relieve can come when they are willing to go to rehab. It seems a shame that relief can also come when they end up in jail because that has a possibility of getting them to participate in some form of rehab. Either way peace comes to their loved ones because the threat of death is no longer there. Continued prayer is definitely still needed and a good outcome is not guaranteed but hope is revived.
The enemy is out to slaughter in any way he sees possible. It is a victory when you see where you are compared to where you would be had you allowed his schemes to come to fruition. A celebration is due when the schemes crumble. Walking in God’s way will prove to bring victory. Because Christ overcame sin and the grave, we have reason to have joy everyday and should be intentional about celebrating. The word “presents” is translated from portion and is also used in Psalm 16:5-6 where it is related to destiny. God’s providence marks our pilgrimage through our problem filled life and in the end instead of falling apart, God’s involvement has kept us in one piece. The psalmist says his lot is secure. In Esther 3:7, the lot fell as God wanted. No matter what life or satan hands us, God’s favor causes that lot and our portion to bring us to our destiny as we trust in our God instead of to destruction. God’s way is right and full of purpose. When you realize the portion God has assigned you, you will have to share it with others.
Esther 9:20-22
We can be confident in who God made us to be and not hindered by how we see our circumstance. At times we can feel we don’t have what it takes or that someone else can do a better job. We see in Esther how God’s providence can unfold in our ordinary lives. Look for turn arounds in your own life and give God the praise He deserves. He is a faithful God. Psalm 37: 3 tells us to “Trust in the Lord and do good” so keep doing that and turnarounds will become a reality, sometimes when we least expect it. Purim to us is celebrating any deliverance that God has brought about in our life. We have reason to celebrate even when we can’t recall those because Jesus provided the ultimate deliverance when He went to the cross that we can receive eternal life. A part of their celebration involved giving to the poor. We can give out of our riches but at times we can experience overwhelming humility when we receive out of someone else’s poverty because of their willingness to show gratitude.
Esther 9:23-28
This is a summary of the events in Esther and why Purim is celebrated. Esther is not remembered for her beauty or her way with people but because God remembered a people who had forgotten Him. God is faithful and good. If we are not remembered for what we do, may we be remembered for what God does through us and who we have become because of Him. Notice Esther was not given credit in these verses in the NIV. Doing the right thing is right whether we get any credit or not.
Beth explains that one of her Jewish commentaries translates the phrase “establish the custom” to “undertook and irrevocably obligated themselves.” We saw in Esther 1:19 that the Persian law is irrevocable. Persians made laws that were irrevocable and the Jews took it upon themselves to do the same. The Jews obligated themselves to “never stop observing the date of this deliverance”. As Beth put it, “You want irrevocable?, I’ll give you irrevocable!” This was a holiday that the Jews created not only to remind themselves of what God had done for them but to bless God.
God had a plan for man’s redemption and He also has laws that are irrevocable. The Jews will be delivered. God has many witnesses to the truth of the Bible. The Jew is an obvious witness who always keeps standing up and living. If people would examine and listen to the evidence, they may be drawn to realize there is a God that loves them and wants to be a purposeful part of their life. We are only sustained by God whether we acknowledge Him or not. It is to our benefit to acknowledge Him as God.
God works out everything (Ephesians 1:11) according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13) for our good. (Romans 8:28) God’s providence is able to accomplish good for the big picture because only God sees the big picture. No matter what Haman’s of life come against us, God will work it out and work it well. Ask God to help you hear from Him.
Esther 9:29-10:3
We all have a long way to go in our pursuit of God, but by studying His word and living life in that pursuit, we will be better today than where we were yesterday. The story ends with tables turned. Esther lived by decree and now writes hers. Mordecai the overlooked is now the overseer. No matter what we go through, if we allow God to finish the story, it will end well. God always has the last word. If we look around many things don’t go well in life but with God there is a crown.
God is zealous for His house, His people. In John 2:13-17 He overturns tables because of a people looking for profit instead of inviting God’s presence. We need a fresh work of God on a regular basis to keep from being led astray to legalism, our own fleshly desires, and deception. In Luke 24:14-16, 19-20, Jesus set up a new covenant. He said, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you…” He said this with no exception to Judas. He desires to sit and dine with you no matter who you are. He was fully aware that Judas was going to deceive Him but He still desired to be in the presence of all of them.
During the time of King Xerxes, you recall there were people that became Jews because the fear of the Jews came upon them. They desired to be a Jew. God met them in Susa and then drew them to Jerusalem. God wants to meet you where you are and draw you to Himself through faith in Jesus Christ His Son. We all have a story. Our story is an important scene in the large story that takes place under God’s heaven for God’s purpose.
We must believe in a God even when we don’t see Him or feel Him. We need a Deliverer and He will deliver. Sometimes it is a little later than we expect but just as the Jews in Esther and the Jews in the Holocaust would have ceased to exist if it were not for God’s providence. Deliverance always comes for God’s people. Just as Esther was in a “royal position for such a time as this”, you are also in a position at any given time to fulfill God’s purpose. When that time is the roughest is when the most will be accomplished.

Esther Chapter 8 notes

Esther 8:1-6
With all that Xerxes has given Esther, she has still not received what she went before the king to attain. Now she was comfortable enough in her position to beg the king for mercy as Mordecai had instructed her to do in Esther 4:8. Sometimes good advice has to be handled with good timing.
Esther’s pleading involved an exposure to her heart which was that she could not survive seeing her family destroyed. How we ache at the loss of a loved one or even the thought of losing someone we hold dear to our heart. As much as we feel like we can’t go on we find that we do and over time our hearts actually heal.
We are made whole by the community of people, our family and friends, whose lives are tied to our heart strings. God intended for us to be relational. He never intended for us to live disconnected on our own emotional island. There is comfort in knowing that those that have Christ as their Savior will someday be together in glory never to be separated again.
Esther 8:7-8
People word their requests for what they want a certain way hoping to convince the potential giver to comply. Do we do this with God hoping he doesn’t recognize our selfish motive. Thank goodness He knows our heart and knows how to handle us. Sometimes that involves receiving our demands even when they are not in our best interests along with all the consequences such as with the Israelites in I Samuel 8:20. We should include the phase “if it pleases Him” in our requests and we would save ourselves from receiving the things that we want out of selfish ambition that come with negative consequences.
I have been using the NIV for our verses but Beth points out that the NLT that I used in this section points out Xerxes impatience. He feels he has done more than enough. The king’s lack of passion probably has Esther wanting him to realize it is life that she wants for her and her family not possessions. Someone on the giving end can come to a point where they feel they have given enough. Xerxes basically tells her to do whatever as long as she doesn’t overturn the law that is already written.
Xerxes has come to the point that he may want to do for Esther but when it comes to her family, he doesn’t care enough for that. Our devotion to a loved one can be tested by what we are willing to do to help someone that they love and that we aren’t as close to. Even when it comes to prayer, we can ask someone to pray for a situation that is dear to us but without them recognizing the passion in that request or loving us or that person enough, their prayer may not be as fervent as it could be.
All of us as earthly vessels have had the opportunity to be a hero for someone, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing. We have also experienced having heroes fail us. This is because we are all human and God wants us to recognize that He wants to be our Hero. He will never fail us. He wants us to look to Jesus for the real solutions to our problems. We can turn to Jesus when others disappoint us and are not sufficient for our need. The more we are disappointed by humans, the more we appreciate the friendship we have in Jesus. When people fail us and we turn to God, we realize it is only Him that is perfect. We can also try to let others know that we cannot meet their every need but there is a God who can. Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 4:35 and 39, Isaiah 44:8, Isaiah 45:5-6, Acts 4:12 all tell us we have no other. They will all fail at some point just as we will. God will never fail us. If we had a human hero or an object that could satisfy, we would neglect our God. For those that still have an emptiness that they are trying to fill with someone or something, may you know that there is a God that can fill your every longing.
In Esther 8:8, Xerxes puts the ball in Esther’s hand. Sometimes God does not give us someone to solve our problem, but instead allows us to realize with Him all things are possible, we are capable of doing far more than we realize.
Esther 8:9-13
The words used indicate Mordecai and Esther were acting at once. Sometimes God tells us to wait and sometimes He tells us to act. Starting our day with prayer will help prepare us for what we will face during our day. Mordecai and Esther had days of fasting and praying that prepared them for the decisions they were making. Why the rush? It would take 3 months to get the message to the borders of the Persian Empire plus the Jews needed to prepare to be warriors. Just as they needed to prepare to defend themselves physically, we need to learn to defend ourselves spiritually. We have an enemy that seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Even though the war has been won, we still have battles to fight. In order to experience the thrill of victory, we must learn to overcome. To overcome, we must allow ourselves to be taught by the Overcomer. We have to learn ourselves but also allow God to teach others including our loved ones to fight battles because there will be battles that we cannot fight for them.
The edict declared the Jews had the right to assemble and protect themselves. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us to assemble, encourage each other. When we go through difficult times, we may ask “why”? God is making a warrior out of you. We are not meant to fight alone. God calls us to unite with our brothers and sisters in Christ and defend ourselves and our families. When we do this, we are guaranteed a victory. When we fully obey God our enemies will come against us from one direction but flee from us in seven. (Deuteronomy 28:1a,7)
Esther 8:14-15
When we accept Christ as our Savior we are robed in righteousness and garments of salvation. Just as the city of Susa held a joyous celebration over their physical salvation, heaven rejoices over our spiritual salvation.(Luke 15:7) Jesus Christ is not only King but Priest. God’s people are members of a royal priesthood. Mordecai left the king’s presence but we never have to leave the King’s presence. He said in Matthew 28:18-20 “I am with you always, to the end of the age”.
Esther 8:16-17
Life is hard and full of suffering and broken hearts. We are all desperately in need of Jesus. The hard things in life make hard things even harder. Life can be stressful, frustrating, lonely and much more. When life is really tough, we can feel these at the same time or one right after another. When times of happiness come, take time to bask in it. What a relief these times are. The word “happiness” in Esther 8:16 is translated from the Hebrew word meaning lightness. It is so relieving to feel the heaviness lifted off of our shoulders at times. God gives us relief for our weary souls. He knows when we need it. Back in Esther 4:30 we saw the Jews mourning, fasting, weeping and wailing. Now in Esther 8:16 we see them happy, joyful, glad and honored. Our God is a God of reversals. He turns our sadness into gladness, our tears to joy, our ashes into beauty, our broken pieces into a masterpiece. He turns everything negative into a positive if we let Him. We don’t suddenly attain perfect conditions. We will have battles. Even when we don’t see complete restoration, we can know our reversals will be completed in heaven.
Exercise to bring about some God ordained reversals into your life:
If you have some feelings that you would rather not be experiencing during the circumstance you are currently in, jot down those feelings. Now beside them jot down what you would like to be feeling instead. If they line up with what would please God, then pray and ask Him, in Jesus name, to bring some reversals into your life that would result in a change of how you feel. Confess anything that needs confessed and share with God the deepest desire’s of your heart. Now write down how God would be glorified if these changes would take place. How could you be used to further God’s kingdom? How would the people around you be affected?

God cares about you and loves you. He wants to do something with your negative circumstance. When He begins a good work in you, ask Him to complete it. He can be glorified in our suffering and also in our celebrating.
The impact this edict had on the Jews made others want to become Jews. Because of our obedience and the impact Christ has on our life should make others want Christ in their life.
God took a people that were doomed to a place of honor because of their reliance on God and their willingness to allow others to see that they cried out to God. What God does in our life is a testimony to others. (Psalm 40:2-3)

Esther Chapter 7 notes

Esther 7:1-4
Chapter 6 was where the story line changed direction.
Although Esther seems to plan her words and her timing very carefully, we know a sovereign God was the reason for her success. She approached the King with little or no experience at this type of negotiating but God used her carefully planned approach.
It is not by our words alone that any of us can reach another soul for Christ but by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we are willing to know the truth we would be set free by it. (John 8:32) We know that God’s truth can set us free. We are also set free by our truthfulness no matter what it costs us. Esther fasted, prayed and planned because she knew she was going to have to tell King Xerxes the truth about herself, that she was a Jew and she knew that that truth could cost her her life. By her honesty, she can be the vessel that is used to deliver her people. If we are honest about where we have been, we can be the vessel that God uses to deliver people from situations similar to what we have experienced. Sometimes it is worth telling our story.
Esther 7:5-6
Esther exposes the enemy Haman and refers to him as the “adversary” which is the meaning of the name “satan”. Be aware of satan’s schemes. He uses the same tactics as always to make promises that lead to destruction. Just as Esther exposed Haman to Xerxes, we need to expose satan to Christ. Our King already knows how satan works and when we stand by our King we can claim the victory and deliverance that comes through Christ.
Esther 7:7
As much as a crisis can divide a marriage, it can also bring a couple closer together. This crisis has brought the King and Queen to common ground.
Haman stayed back to beg for his life. Even if Esther had any mercy to offer Haman, how could she take a chance that he was sincere now that his life was at stake. Mercy is not something that we give in every situation. We often have to battle with a decision to trust someone or not. God knows the hearts of people and He knows sincere repentance. We often have to examine a situation very closely in hopes of making the right decision to trust the untrustworthy or to give something to someone simply because they want it. We can be assured that if someone is worthy of mercy and does not receive it, God will be sure they receive it. Also if we offer mercy to those that don’t deserve it, there will come a day if regret has not caused true repentance that God will bring justice.
Esther 7:8-9
Haman tried to condemn a people for a crime they did not commit. Now Haman is sentenced to be hung for his actions and the last action he was accused of was one that he did not commit. Justice is often served back in the same way we have served it. satan used Haman and then betrayed him. We will never benefit by acting on satan’s lies. He uses us to cause destruction and then turns the tables to destroy us.
Xerxes seems to be presuming something on the base of jealousy. After all he hadn’t summoned Esther in a month and she has now invited Haman to join them for not one dinner but two. We can often come to a wrong conclusion when our mind is running out of control. Our feelings are not accurate sources for making assumptions and are often invitations for inappropriate responses.
Harbona seems to be in a position to see from more than one perspective. He has information without the emotion. We are wiser to act on information than emotion. Haman was headed to a familiar place that he prepared. Without God, that is our destination. With God, we can walk down a better path, one prepared by God.
Esther 7:10
Xerxes anger had subsided. He seemed relieved to have destroyed the one that has given his ego a blow. He seemed to have forgotten the greater crisis still hanging over the Jews. We have a tendency to view the crisis in how it effects us and not see the other half of the crisis and how it affects others. Esther’s truth of being a Jew is also still hanging over her head. Esther told the truth but there still seems to be some things that need to take place to win the war. There were still problems to be taken care of.
Haman’s life did not end well. May our lives and the lives of those we love end well. No matter where we have come from, God can end our story well. Most of us have ordinary lives that involve paying bills and taking trash out. We don’t often get greatness by seeking the extraordinary. With God the extraordinary often happens while we are doing the ordinary. We don’t often recognize them in the midst of our everyday routine.
Haman was poisoned by his desire to achieve greatness. Where did that desire for greatness come from? Did he hear it all his life growing up? He no doubt heard the history between the Jews and the Amalekites. Parents are often the ones blamed for what their children do even when they have the best intentions. Our identity needs to be in Christ not the things we are destine to achieve. We can have expectations of greatness if we balance it with respect for others.
Another hindrance to doing something good, is to think it has to be perfect. God expects obedience not perfection. We looked at this earlier in our study. When we have a gift, God is the one who gave it to us and He expects us to use it. We need to learn what to do with it. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:6-7 to work on our gift. We are responsible for what we do with it. There is a difference between having a gift and knowing what to do with it. When encouraging young people, your children and others, we need to find a balance between encouragement and making them aware of their need for God’s guidance.
When God is the center of our greatness, we no longer feel the pain of having us being our focus. We were created for something greater which satisfies our God-given need to matter. We will feel empty when we focus on attaining a personal greatness. Fulfilling our purpose for the greatness of God is to live a fulfilled life. The greatest things we do will be God-things. We who are able are called to spill our drink offering over the needs that surround us even when it goes unnoticed.

Esther Chapter 6 notes

Esther 6:1-3
God does not sleep.(Psalms 121:4) He works out details and timing of events while we wait on Him, while we sleep, etc. While Esther postponed granting her request, God was at work. God can use anyone to fulfill His will. Xerxes was a part of God’s plan to deliver the Jews whether he realized it or not. God has the sovereign ability to use a pagan as well as a follower.
It was the 3rd night of fasting. The third day is significant. Jewish history has declared the 3rd day to be the day that some relief would be seen. All this timing was more than coincidence. Providence is unfolding. Five years had passed since Mordecai had exposed the assassins. Thirteen years of Xerxes reign had been chronicled but when Xerxes couldn’t sleep on this specific night and ordered to have his chronicle read, it just so happened that the scroll was unrolled to reveal Mordecai’s loyalty to King Xerxes.
God’s people were unfaithful which nearly destroyed them but even in their unfaithfulness, God shows His faithfulness. God also has us deliberately hear or read things at specific times that impact us. He loves and cares about us so much that He is willing to set up moments like that to speak to us. God speaks all languages universally, internationally, and personally. He does this through timing and also when we read His word.
Esther 6:4-6
God’s timing again. Haman is in the right place at the right time. Xerxes had been up through the night wanting to right a wrong while Haman had been up all night having gallows built. Haman was eager for revenge and also honor. Haman presumed he was entitled to be honored. Too many today have a sense of entitlement. Thinking of ourselves too much from a positive or negative perspective can cause us to presume others are doing the same and that will cause us to be preoccupied with unhealthy thoughts. We can also crave honor, whether we receive it or not, so much that it will eventually cause us to make a fool of ourselves. Instead of being full of ourselves let’s keep a repentant heart.
Esther 6:7-9
To be honored in this way with the kings crown, robe, and horse is comparable to asking for kingship. Haman seemed to already be high on a horse. We tend to think what we can’t have will fill the emptiness that only Christ can fill. When we strive so hard to have what shouldn’t be, we miss all the other goodness that God continues to offer. Many times we allow one small thing into our lives that leads us to places we said we would never go and before we know it, we are entangled.
When we feel God forbids certain things in our life, we think He is trying to keep us from something enjoyable. Christ gave His Son for us so that we may have life. The other things He gives us is easy.(Romans 8:32) He will always give us things that lead to life. It is satan that lies to us and offers us things that lead to death and twists the truth to offer us good things but at the wrong time. The only way to keep from being deceived is to remain in a relationship with Christ who is the Truth and test everything by the Word of God.(Romans 12:2)
Esther 6:10-11
God’s Word is Spirit and Life. They can teach us just as much about what we don’t want to be as they can about what we want to be. Proverbs 16:18 tells us pride comes before a fall. Haman could have humbled himself at any moment but instead was humiliated and he did it to himself. He has just been bucked off his high horse. It may be hard to come to the feet of Jesus with our open hearts but it is a whole lot easier than being knocked down. It becomes easier the more we do it because we learn that Christ will never fail us.
You will always rise from your knees stronger. Esther 6:11 was a royal event that as Beth says was probably the longest day of Haman’s life. What kind of emotions, actions, words, facial expressions do you think were going on in these men?
Esther 6:12-14
Mordecai did not let the honor go to his head. When they were done honoring him, he returned to work. He did the same when the edict was issued. He continued to go to work to a place where the edict was initiated. If we get overlooked for affirmation or promotion, so be it. Just do our job. If we get elevated or celebrated so be it. Let’s do our job. If we walk with Christ in His spotlight, the world’s spotlight, whether for us or against us, will be dim. The world’s spotlight will be so insignificant that it will not dictate how we act or feel like acting. God gives us our significance and satisfies our need to be noticed. Amen.
Mordecai was going to continue to do his work no matter what happened to him. However, where did Haman go? It seems he went home to grieve over himself. Do we find ourselves doing this at work, at church, maybe even in our home when we don’t get acknowledged or don’t get treated the way we think we should be treated. If so, does it help and does it set a good example? Maybe we should follow Mordecai’s example.
“Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief” and then “the king’s eunuch’s arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet.” I can relate to the rushing. At times do we over schedule and seem to just get done with one event to hurry to another? How often do we wait on the Lord and ask Him, “Why do you tarry?” and then when He moves, we aren’t ready. As Beth put it, “Our cries, ‘Lord, why do You wait?” turn into ‘Lord, wait!'”
Did Haman put on a different face before going back into the presence of the king? It doesn’t say but do we put on different faces based on who’s presence we share or can we be free to be ourselves?
It seems that Haman was getting exhausted trying to keep his ego a float. He tried to have his friends and family help but it seems they were also exhausted. When our insecurities aren’t placed at the feet of Jesus, we can exhaust ourselves as well as those around us.
Haman’s friends/advisors had different advice this time. Are we ever a little wiser after the fact? Are we ever so headstrong that we don’t want to listen to other’s advice and then when things fall apart, we wish we had listened. Or maybe someone asks our advice and we don’t want to share our thoughts because they may get mad because we don’t see it the same way. At least looking at things from different perspectives and seeking wise counsel, we can make better choices. We should be able to accept good counsel even if it might shatter what we thought was a “great idea”.
Sometimes we may see a bad situation coming to a head and repress those misgivings only to watch them unfold to say “I knew it”. Difficult situations can expose our underlying character traits but God uses those situations to teach us and grow us to new heights if we let Him.
Friends may get weary of supporting us or fear being around us in troubled times but we have a God that will never leave us or forsake us. He is never afraid and does not wear out. Zeresh and Haman’s advisers have now concluded that Haman can’t come against a Jew and win. When we are in a relationship with God through Christ, we too can know that God will bring us through whatever we must endure.
We aren’t fighting for a victory, we are fighting from a victory. The fight was won when Christ went to the cross, took the keys, and rose a Victor. It is easier to fall at His feet if we don’t allow ourselves to think we are above anyone else. We can spend time lifting ourselves just to fall or we can spend time lifting others. What is more satisfying? Of the two scenarios who of the two will have less of a fall when we are called to bow at the throne for “every knee will bow”.