Esther Chapter 5 notes

Esther 5:1-2
As Esther prepares to approach the king, she knows that this is forbidden and it may be her end. Fear is the biggest tool of the enemy. We are told in God’s word more than anything else to “fear not”, “do not be afraid”. We can trust God with our lives. No matter what happens, even the things that we don’t think we could ever handle, God is faithful and He will pick us up if we let Him.
Sometimes we do have devastating things happen to us. Life is that way because of the fall. If we seek God, we will survive. When we can trust God with our lives no matter what, trust Him with even our worst nightmare, then satan has lost his power and we have gained victory.
If _______________________, then God.
You put your biggest fear in the blank. Chances are that your biggest fear will never happen but if it does, God will get you through it. We of course don’t invite suffering and don’t desire it. Christ asked God if there was any way “may this cup be taken from me” (Matt 26:39) At times we may have to suffer or watch a loved one suffer. It is hard but we cannot wholly avoid it. Our list of fears can be thrown in satan’s face by telling him, “If ______________________, then…
• God will take care of me.
• then God has a plan.
• then God desires to accomplish something big in me.
• then God’s going to demonstrate His sufficiency to me.
• you can write a few “then statements” of your own.
Unconditional trust in a Savior who loves us more than His own life will get us through anything. He suffered for us because God had a plan. If we are going to do any suffering, it would be better to do it trusting in a God that can bring something good from it. If we suffer, God has a plan.
Trusting is hard but living in fear is torture. We are not to live in bondage. We need to be intentional about the way we live and the things we do. Esther was prepared spiritually, mentally and physically to overcome her fear. At times when we are so close to our fear, we don’t always feel like God is there but He is and He is going to deliver.
We know that approaching the king meant death if the king did not extend his scepter. If we didn’t know the ending we would think she had a “chance” of dying. She had more than a chance. Her probability of dying was great. She had a “slim chance” of having the king extend his scepter. The only thing that made the difference is that God had a hand in whether Xerxes would show her favor. God is in control of our destiny but He gives us choices and His favor will change our probability of failing.
Just as King Xerxes allowed Esther to approach, our Heavenly Father, King of all Kings allows us to approach. He invites us to bring our needs to His feet. Our God extends His scepter and wants to deliver us. We need to reach out and touch the scepter, the hem of His garment.
Esther 5:3-8
God knows what He is asking of us and He knows how hard it will be for us. He pushes us so that we depend on Him because we can do immeasurable more with Him and to help us grow beyond what we could ever be on our own. We don’t have to be perfect at what He asks us to do. We just have to be willing. With Him we are able to do more than we can imagine. He will prove that to you as you step out into the water.
What if Esther would have waited until her nerves settled before approaching the king? Based on my own experience, I think she would have decided to not approach. It seems that when God asks you to do something, your adrenaline flows to motivate you but if you wait then the urgency is gone. If you can be brave enough to do something that makes your hands shake and your heart pound, God will show you that you will survive and that you can trust Him when you are obedient to what He asks of you.
God does not look at our failings as people do. He looks at them as willingness and obedience despite what others are thinking/saying or how we are feeling.
Esther 5:9-10
Haman was at his highest while the Jews were at their lowest. A major character flaw is revealed when a person can only be happy when someone else is down. Nothing leaves us more hollow than being full of ourselves. Haman was too concerned about his ego to see what was really going on. Haman’s ego is inflated with the idea that he gets to dine with the King and Queen. Small gathering for a meal with the king was ordinarily reserved for the king’s mom or the queen.
His mood took a turn for the worse when he exited to see Mordecai at the gate showing no fear and then did not stand to acknowledge his presence. Haman must have thought Mordecai would be so devastated by the edict that he would no longer be able to work at the King’s gate, a place from where the edict originated. We can be in a devastating circumstance but as a child of God, we do not need to be devastated.
In this circumstance, prayer and fasting has changed things. Kneeling to pray can give us the power to stand. A man without God has no idea of the power that can be obtained through a humbling before an Almighty God. We need to know our standing in God’s eyes so we keep it in perspective with how we see ourselves and how we perceive others to see us. The only way to do that is to constantly go humbly to God in prayer. Ephesians 2:6-7 tells us we only have a lofty position because of Christ. When we are positioned in Christ, we no longer have that need to exalt ourselves and others no longer have power to affect our mood by their actions.
Haman’s mood was out of control because of his ego being blown up by himself and deflated by another’s actions or lack of action in this case. Beth says, a “depleted ego looks anywhere for inflation. If it can’t find pride, rage provides ample hot air.” Haman somehow managed to keep from throwing his temper tantrum right away.
Esther 5:11-13
God formed us in His image but He is God and we are not. Scripture helps us see that and also shows us who He meant us to be. God wants us to repent so that He can repair us.
Now we have Haman having his temper tantrum in the form of a party trying to pump himself full again only to come crashing down. He was surrounded by friends and family but still let one person keep him from being happy. We should not be mastered by the ones that won’t bow to our desires and demands. We need to examine our desires and demands and realize others are not here to cater to our desires. Bondage can be in the form of a person if too much of our time is spent thinking about them whether negative or positive. It could be someone that we are attracted to or someone we despise. Galatians 1:10 tells us to focus on pleasing God not men, which would include ourselves. We can recognize these people when they are the ones that make us feel out of control by trying to perform to impress or sometimes making a fool of ourselves. It isn’t necessarily the person mastering us but our thoughts about the person. God can heal our minds of these thoughts and break that bondage.
Beth tells us “to let Haman’s stronghold make us aware of our own”. It is probably visible to others. Embarrassment can be an asset if we let it motivate us to make a change. It may eliminate future or worse embarrassment. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to make every thought obedient to Christ.
The sad thing is we act the way we do to get satisfaction for ourselves but if the person would actually do what we thought they should, would it “fix us”? To allow ourselves to be preoccupied like this by a person goes deeper than that. God is the only one that can truly “fix us” and give us the right perspective. If we feel fixed by someone conforming to our ways, that is only going to be temporary until they or someone else does it again. God can “fix us” so we don’t have to act and react in the same fashion as our past. When we admit to our brokenness, we can move toward our wholeness.
Esther 5:14
Haman is not happy. You have heard, “happy wife, happy life”. Well in this case, “happy Haman, happy household”. His wife and friends suggest a solution that pleases Haman. Have you ever wondered what to do with a person that isn’t happy with themselves and brings the whole party down? Beth thought if someone was brave enough they may have said, “Grow up and get over yourself, It’s not all about you.” The suggested remedy was gallows which, in this context, would have been to impale the body to display him and disgrace him. Haman wouldn’t just be happy with having Mordecai dead. He wanted him disgraced. Maybe Zeresh shows a little impatience by suggesting such an over the edge solution to regaining his happiness. Do we ever want to just tell someone to quit “whining and do something, anything”? Sometimes that “anything” can back fire. Some questions to consider to see where you stand. Which ones may describe you.
_____ Do I have a low tolerance for those around me that become upset or are uncomfortable about a circumstance?
_____ Do I feel like I have to solve problems that arise that affect a loved one?
_____ Do I get tired of hearing others whine about the same thing over and over that I would agree with “any” solution?
_____ Do I get involved in a loved one’s conflict with other people and allow their feelings to affect my feelings?
_____ Do I get so involved that I feel like I have to solve the problem and in my attempt I become irrational?
I have found that praying before speaking and reacting does wonders. God can often save us from over reacting, making a wrong choice or looking like a fool. He will often work out the situation. He will also defend us so we don’t have to feel the need to defend ourselves. He has a better way of making wrongs right.

Esther Chapter 4 notes

Esther 4:1-3
The Jews were scattered among the Persians. They had become comfortable in a very pagan world. God has told His people that His protection would be on them if they worshiped Him only. He still loved them but would not shield them. Now their enemies were about to annihilate them. They now realized they had turned away from God and needed to repent and return to their God. Sometimes our situation is because of what we are allowing to come before God, the things we are allowing into our lives that keep us from spending time with Him. Mordecai dressed in sackcloth and ashes was a way to humble himself, presenting himself as poor in spirit and dead without God. We are dead without Christ. Christ came to give us life and life to the full. Not just eternal life but a satisfying life here on earth. We won’t find satisfaction in the things that the world offers. God will give us good gifts along the way but they in and of themselves do not bring genuine satisfaction.
God will allow things into our lives that will cause us to turn back to Him where we can find life again. Joel 2:13 tells us how patient He is with us. Acts 3:19-20 is an invitation to repent so that we can be restored. What a privilege.
Esther 4:4-8
Mordecai refused the clothes Esther sent to him. This situation was not a simple need. This was a matter of life and death and he had his sackcloth on for a reason. A change of clothes would not help the matter. There are times that we can’t change our circumstances by what we are able to do. Sometimes it takes calling on our God. Esther was trying to help Mordecai with something that would not fix the problem.
Esther was surrounded by those that were to protect her and please her but that was not helping the situation. We often try to protect and help others because we think that is what we should do but that does not always help them. I think of our kids when we always try to make them “comfortable”, or doing for people at times when they need to do for themselves or not being straight forward with someone because we may hurt their feelings. We are not always doing them justice. We also want to offer quick solutions rather than taking the time to listen and understand the whole situation.
Life is full of difficulty and by dealing with them instead of avoiding them, we can grow spiritually. Helping others avoid their difficulties does not always help them. It is sometimes because of facing the difficulties that we can gain strength, to keep from being crushed. Esther was about to be told the seriousness of the problem. She was about to find out how much endurance she had. When we discover what we have, we are free to fulfill our destiny. We realize we are not as fragile as we thought and we can become the warriors that God planned for us to be.
Esther 4:9-11
Esther has to examine herself to see what her true attributes are. Now that she knows what is happening and what the consequence will be or could be, she has a decision to make. By becoming Queen, she has a changed life. With that changed life has come different priorities. Now she has a dilemma.
I can see this from both sides. If you were once serving God and walked away, your priorities have changed and when faced with a crisis, you may choose to return to your old priorities and decide to put God back at the top of your list. On the other hand if you never lived for Christ and you decide you want God to work in your life, you will need to adopt new priorities or you will return to your old ways which will hinder your desire to improve your life. We have to be intentional about the decisions we make.
Since Esther has been Queen she has her physical needs met. She has been detached from seeing the real needs of people. If we continue to ignore real needs because we don’t see anything that we can do to help, we begin to replace real needs with needs that aren’t really important. We begin to see inconveniences as a crisis. We need to get our eyes off ourselves and recognize the real crisis.
Esther has not been summoned by the king in 30 days so she is not feeling like he has much desire to see her. This could be weighing on Esther’s confidence. She did not feel like she had much of a chance of changing the situation. We can feel like this at times but sometimes we or our loved ones can be worse off by us not doing something.
Ester 4:12-14
Esther was in a position to do something that God knew she would be the right one for the job. You too are in a position to fulfill a destiny that God has in store. We think Esther was in a more prominent position than us but if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, what do the following verses say about us? Matt 11:11, Matt 13:11-12, Luke 17:20-21, 1 Corinthians 4:20,       1Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:9-10 We are a child of the King. No matter where we are or how we are treated, our status is secure. you have been placed in a position to do a work “for such a time as this”. We have “a time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2) and we have time set for us and exact places that we should live. (Acts 17:26) In Christ, “we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works everything in conformity with the purpose of His will”(Ephesians 1:11)
Our lives are significant. God will accomplish His agenda whether or not we walk in obedience to our calling but we would miss our fulfillment of our life purpose. It is when we feel like the job is too big for us and then God does something miraculous and we become someone we never knew was possible. that is when you know there is no doubt that God exists and you would rather walk in obedience to a purposeful life than to think that life was to be easy and meaningless. We can sit on the other side of glory and realize we have fulfilled our destiny.
It may be the toughest moment in your life that will reveal your destiny. You may have to choose between a worldly decision or a Godly decision. That decision will determine the fulfillment of your destiny. The war is being waged and there is a cloud of witnesses cheering you on.
Esther 4:15-17
Esther once hid her identity and now prepares to make a difference. Esther has come to her “defining moment”. A moment that reveals that we are not who we have seemed to be. Our decision will determine if we fulfill God’s purpose.

Esther Chapter 3 notes

Esther 3:1-4
God’s word transforms lives and renews the mind. Christ’s love can do more with our limited vision than we can ever imagine. We live in a mean world but we don’t have to respond back in the same way. If we could take our hurts to God and allow Him to heal, we could avoid our ugly side from being seen. It is easier to allow the ugly to come out because we don’t take the time to go to God but it brings negative consequences that could have been avoided and shows our insecurities and lack of control. We would have so much power and save ourselves so much grief by taking our feelings to God and dealing with them the way He advises.
We must be careful what we say about others. What we say may or may not be true but the enemy will use it to destroy. According to Proverbs 18:7-8, it effects the most inward parts of those participating. God will move our heart to do the right thing and to keep our conviction. Mordecai was able to not kneel day after day just as Joseph was able to resist temptations made by Potiphar’s wife day after day in Genesis 39:2-10. satan will keep at us hoping to catch us at a week moment but remember that when we are weak, we become stronger when we put our minds to it and with every success, we become stronger. Respond with your mind not your feelings. When you can’t walk away, you should run. Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on God not on earthly things which would be the circumstance or that moment. If we act on how we feel at the moment instead of focusing our mind on the big picture, we may make a wrong choice. What we decide at that moment is going to determine what direction we go and what kind of consequence we have.
We must be intentional and seek God to become stronger. May you allow God to work steadfastness of mind in you that “the bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze and your strength will equal your days.” (Deuteronomy 33:25)
Esther 3:4-7
Meanness originates from a real or imagined threat. God could heal that area of brokenness if we take our feelings to Him and allow him to show us why we feel threatened.
It only hurts ourselves and others when we can’t get over our anger. Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us not to let our anger cause us to sin. We think we get revenge by being angry but even health officials agree that anger and unforgiveness will harm us more than the one we are angry with.
Any evil, man-made plan against a child of God must go through God’s hand. Any appointment on a man-made calendar such as a doctor’s calendar, a hospital calendar or a judge’s calendar is also subject to God’s calendar. God will decide what is done each day. It is best for us to be under His protection.
Esther 3:8-11
satan has a limited leash when it comes to attacking God’s children. his most powerful tactic is psychological by destructively influencing our thoughts. We need to apply God’s Word to those thoughts so they don’t rob us of our joy. Psalms 23:4 tell us how we can overcome fear of evil. If we are God’s child, 2 Timothy 2:13 tells us that God will remain faithful even when we lack faith. Haman used truth and conjures up a lie just as satan does to us. satan tries to get back at God by attacking us. God calls us by name and to satan we are just instruments of destruction for revenge. We need to learn to stand and use God’s Word to deflect satan’s lies.

Esther 3:12-14
Haman’s edict was sent out on the 13th so when the people received it, the Jews were gathered for Passover. They would be telling stories and remembering God’s deliverance which would give them hope to be delivered again. it is beneficial to remember what God has called us from. God also allows events in our lives to happen at perfect times.
We don’t often recognize the perfect timing as they probably did not at that time either but when we get the full picture, the timing is often the clincher or plays a very important role in the outcome. Haman thought it was perfect timing to spoil their celebration, but God knew it was to be perfect timing to remind them who they wee and especially whose they were. By remembering one deliverance, we can be confident in the next. He who has delivered you from_______________ can also deliver you from ______________. You fill in the blank. Nothing is too big for God. Keep reminding yourself what God has done for you to keep you encouraged for what He is going to do.
Esther 3:15
How do Haman and Xerxes enjoy a little party knowing the turmoil they have caused in Susa? Don’t let your heart grow so hard that it no longer feels. Feeling is a good thing. We should feel sorry when we have offended anyone. We have a conscience for a reason so that we can repent and be restored. When all else fails we know that someday all wrongs will be made right by an all knowing, all wise God. It will be better to go before Him now. He loves you and wants to make things right before the day of sentencing.

***satan and pronouns referring to him are purposely lower case

What kind of movies is God watching?

It isn’t like God sits down in front of a TV to relax. He is at work all the time but He has the ultimate big screen. He sees it all, even behind the scenes. He sees the gentleness and the violence, the love and the hate, the gladness and the sadness, the drama and what really goes on in our hearts, the war and the peace, the pure and the obscene, the funny and the serious, idleness and action, horror and courage. He looks down every day at the lives we live and sees it all. He cries, laughs, gets angry and has compassion on the people that won’t trust Him with the script for a better (plans to prosper not to harm), easier (my yoke is light), more satisfying role (purpose) in life.

God can handle what He sees even if He does not approve but we should be careful what we allow our eyes and mind to be exposed to. Not all things are beneficial.

Esther Chapter 2 notes

Esther 2:1-4
Seems that King Xerxes may have been sorry for what he ordered to have done to Queen Vashti at the advice of his counsel. Now he is about to take their advice again. In times that cause us to feel angry, we would do ourselves justice to wait until the anger subsides. We will often discover other emotions beneath the anger. How often do we say things we are later sorry for or how do you think we look as we act out on our anger instead of maintaining control?
None of us will attain perfection this side of eternity. Even our Bible heroes are not perfect. Beth says, “God is busy conforming us into the likeness of Christ” god gives us biblical figures to teach but He is the only constant. “All scripture is God-breathed but different parts have different primary purposes. Only together are they complete.
Esther 2:5-9
When God is involved, things don’t always unfold as you would expect. Esther would have never been chosen to be a candidate for queen because of her being of the a Jew. We see with Esther gaining favor with Hegai, that beauty is more than skin deep. There was something about Esther that caught the attention of Hegai that did not compare to the other girls. We would save ourselves a lot of grief by abiding by Proverbs 16:21,23 and Proverbs 29:11. Jesus Christ is our ultimate example of having people skills as Luke 2:52 describes. It is about having godly wisdom and having a relationship with people. We will always have room to grow in this area. Manners have been lost in a culture that is becoming more and more focused on “me”.
Esther 2:10-14
The Jews had begun to blend in with the Persians because many had forgotten God in their daily disciplines. Are we blending in with our culture by being too passive. We are to be a peculiar people so that we can make a difference. God had not forgotten them and he has not forgotten us. As we look back at different times of our lives that we seemed to have lost our way or put God lower than our main priority, we can see how He never forgot us. His hand was still on us and still is no matter where we are in our relationship with Him.
In Esther 2:11 we see that Mordecai was protective of Esther. She was out of sight but never out of mind. He had times of hope where he thought she would be chosen and promoted to a position of influence and he also had times that were less hopeful and just wanted her to survive in one piece. Does this happen with us as parents when we watch our kids go through life. We can rest in the fact that God is protective of us and our children and we are never out of His sight or mind.
These girls would go to the king one night at a time and then be sent to another part of the harem, possibly to never be called on again. How would they have felt? Giving ourselves to someone in unhealthy and ungodly conditions brings feelings of rejection and causes us to feel misused more than ever. Our God desires to clothes us in beauty and righteousness(Isaiah 61:10) without blemish holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Esther 2:15-18
Esther’s turn had come. She proceeds by accepting wise counsel and takes only what Hegai suggested. She was not hasty. She put thought behind her actions. She wins favor not by threatening the leadership but by compliance, seems to be her way, pleasing those who are caring for her, her foster father, her Persian caretaker and now the king. How often do we try to buck the system to get our way when we would be further ahead to comply to the leadership and positions of authority in our work place, school, society, etc.
Esther won favor with king Xerxes. Could Proverbs 21:1 be why Esther was favored? Beth says of king Xerxes, “He could have had a night, but he chose a wife.” He was not just looking for any woman. How many women and girls today are giving themselves away to men that just want a night thinking they will win them over only to be hurt and rejected when another women becomes willing? Why is it so hard to find your beauty in the God that created you and save yourself for a man that wants a wife?
Esther 2:19-23
Mordecai shows where is loyalty is and Esther continues to be obedient and loyal. Favor can be shown to us through “our simple willingness to follow instructions.” “Only a person strong in character and steadfast in spirit can follow someone else’s instruction for long.” If long-term persistence to being obedient and loyal can win favor of an earthly supervisor, how much more is our all seeing, unlimited God able to show us favor. If we can’t bring ourselves to follow earthly rules, how obedient can we be to God’s rules. Makes me think if we can be faithful in small things, then we can be trusted with much. Our choosing “the excellence of Christ over the minimalism of man will distinguish us from countless peers.”