.growing followers of Jesus Esther
“For such a time as this…”
western blacktown presbyterian church
.growing followers of Jesus
For Western Blacktown Presbyterian Church The author mentions three separate times that the Jews did not lay their hands on their enemies' plunder. Why might the Jews have left the plunder despite the king's 13. Mordecai and Esther proclaimed and established the celebration of Purim as a holi- The events of Esther take place in Persia (present day Iran) during the day for all the Jews. What was the purpose of the celebration (9:20-27)? reign of King Xerxes from 486 to 465 B.C. It has been over one hundred years since the beginning of the exile, and Babylon has been conquered by Persia. The story is set in the city of Susa, which is where the king has his 14. God has saved his people and blessed Esther and Mordecai for their obedience to him. Summarize what happens to Esther and Mordecai at the end of the story (9:29 The remnant Jews have been scattered throughout Mesopotamia by the Persian government. The Jews cling to their religious identity and even their flickering hope of a Messiah who will rescue them. King Cyrus of Per- sia fulfilled a divine prophecy that allowed the Jews to return to Judah in 15. Throughout Scripture God instructs his people to commemorate the times when he acted to provide and save his people (eg Exodus 12:24-28). Jesus did the same on the night that he was betrayed (see Lk 22:7-20). What does celebrating the Lord’s While thousands made the journey (retold in the books of Ezra and Nehe- miah), most, including Mordecai and Esther, simply remained where they were in Persia, rather than risk starting over. Esther's story presents the last major threat to, and deliverance of, the Jewish people in the Old Testament period. The Jewish festival of Purim, which is still celebrated today, is established in Esther, which accounts for 16. Why is remembering God's acts of faithfulness important for us as Christians? What the book's great popularity among the Jewish people. are some ways we could celebrate these times together? Esther is known for being the only book in which God is not mentioned. This doesn’t mean the book has nothing to teach us. It is a wonderful story of God's providence and the character of his people told with humour, Justice begins with prayer. Ask God to show you how he would like to use you in the The major theme is that God is working in the circumstances and events of Think over the past week and share how God has been faithful to you. Express to God people's lives to bring about his plans. God is the director, the conductor, your joy and gladness about his provision for you. the weaver. When we respond in obedience and godliness, God can use us Begin your tradition of celebrating right now by offering your praise and thanksgiving to God for all he has done for you – especially in Jesus. 4. How do you see justice carried out in the lives of Esther, Mordecai and Haman? The most important person in a play is not on the stage. The director is the one who has instructed the cast for months before on where to stand and sit and when and how to say a line. The director is behind the scenes giving final instructions, touching up makeup and 5. As Christians, when should we expect to see justice served and when should we encouraging the players--orchestrating every detail. be satisfied with doing what is right? Give examples from your experience. How can you seek justice in a situation where you currently see injustice? In the book of Esther God is not mentioned, but he is the key figure in the story. He works through the circumstances to place everything in order so that his plans will be accom- plished. God is the director of our lives as well. As we look back at different times in our lives, we can see his handprints all over. 1. Recall a time in your past when you saw God work through circumstances in your life 6. Read Esther 8. List all the ways in this chapter that Esther and Mordecai are re- to bring something about. Share it with the group. warded by God through the actions of the king. 2. Read Esther 1. What was the purpose of the six-month feast that Xerxes threw? De- scribe the celebration (vv. 2-8). Why might the king have given such an extravagant 7. In verses 3-6 we see a little of Esther's heart. How does she feel toward her peo- ple? How does King Xerxes respond to Esther's plea (vv. 7-10)? 3. Why does King Xerxes ask Queen Vashti to come to him (vv. 10-11)? 8. God provides for the Jews through the edict Mordecai issued in the king's name. How did the edict (vv. 11-13) provide what Esther was asking for in verses 5-6 without breaking the first edict (3:12-14)? 4. Why did the wise men perceive Queen Vashti's refusal to be so dangerous to the king- dom (vv. 16-20)? The wise men mention respect several times in this chapter. In their view how was respect gained and maintained? 9. Describe the response of the Jews to God's provision and protection (vv. 15-17). 5. Read Esther 2. Summarize the plan to find a new queen that King Xerxes put into ac- 10. Read Esther 9--10. Summarize the events of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fif- 6. How does Esther enter the story and become the queen (vv. 5-17)? It is mentioned three times that Esther won approval in someone's eyes (vv. 9, 15, 17). What does this 11. Describe the people that the Jews actually destroyed on these days in the month 13. Mordecai has achieved a minor victory (11-12), but the major victory hasn’t 7. How does Mordecai enter into the plot of the story (vv. 19-23)? happened yet. Haman still hopes for revenge. The last verse of the chapter (v14) sets the scene for a cliff-hanger. Will it be a victory for Mordecai or Ha- man? How do you respond when you read v14? Which way do you think “the 8. Even though God has not been directly mentioned in the book, where do you see his hand moving in the story so far? Where do you see God's hand moving in cir- cumstances in your life right now? How do you think he wants you to respond? Pray that doing the right thing will be more than a slogan for you--that it will be a 9. Read Esther 3. List all the words and phrases in this chapter which bring to mind Pray that God will be moulding you into a person of character who responds out of 10. What is the conflict between Haman and Mordecai which causes Haman's intense 11. Why did Haman cast lots? (v7) Keep a note of this reference to purim. It is very significant! (If you’re curious, look at 9:23-28 for the significance). Esther and Mordecai have chosen to do what is right all along, yet they face de- struction. Haman, who is prideful, angry and bitter, has been successful in plotting 12. How does Haman persuade the king to adopt his plan to destroy the Jews (vv. 8- against the Jews. Finally, in chapter 7 Esther and Mordecai see justice taking However, in our lives we do not always see justice when we choose to do what is right. The people of God must have consistent character whether or not justice 13. In verses 12-14 the words each, every and all are repeated frequently. What might the author have been trying to communicate in this detailed description of 1. Can you recall a time when God has proven himself faithful to you in a difficult 2. Read Esther 7. Name all of the truths that were previously hidden but are now 14. This chapter gives us even more detail about who King Xerxes was. What do we 3. This chapter revolves around Queen Esther, King Xerxes and Haman. What might each of them be feeling at the beginning of the banquet? As the banquet 15. The Jews suffer because they are God’s people. Does God promise that his people 5. In this chapter how do we see God's sovereignty and people's responses working to- will be protected from trouble in this life? What DOES God promise? See 1 Peter 6. Read Esther 5. What risks does Esther take in verses 1-8? Thank God for his providential direction over your life. 7. What part have feasts played in the story up until now? Ask God to teach you how to give respect and to make you a person worthy of respect. Ask God to give you confidence in his work in your life. Pray that you will be given wise counsellors who will give you godly advice. 8. What picture is painted of Haman (vv. 9-14)? Haman boasts about having everything: sons, wealth, position and recognition. Why do you think Haman is still so consumed with Mordecai? How does the passage contrast Esther's character and wisdom with 9. Read Esther 6. Where do you see irony in King Xerxes' and Haman's actions on this particular night? What brings a smile to your face as you read it? Why? 1. Can you think of a time when obeying God's call meant taking a risk or facing a difficulty. How did you feel? What did you pray? Share it with the group. 10. How does the king respond to discovering Mordecai's role in thwarting the assassina- 2. Read Esther 4. Describe the response of Mordecai and the Jews to Haman's plot 11. Haman sought comfort from his wife and friends after his ride through the city with 3. Why do you think Mordecai was so confident in his plan to stop the annihilation of Mordecai, but he receives a very different response. How do his wife and advisors interpret the situation and react to Haman (vv. 12-14)? Why? 4. What is Esther's first reaction to Mordecai's request that she go to the king (vv. 9- 12. How does God turn around the plans of men and use them for his salvation-purposes? 11)? How do Mordecai's arguments in verses 12-14 persuade Esther to go to the How does he do the same in the events of Jesus’ death? (See Acts 2:22-24; 4:27-28)


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