Scriptures

32. Esther and Mordecai, Quite A Character

Introduction

By Josh Moffitt

Taking Care Of Business

Esther is one of my heroes and the book of Esther is my favourite book of the Bible. Mystery, intrigue, backstabbing, hidden relatives, a beauty contest, war, it has it all! I encourage you to read the book as you study, but if you can’t right now, this will run you through the high points, there are a lot!

Have you ever put off taking care of something until it was too late?

What was the result?

Did you know that the book of Esther is predicated by several events hundreds of years prior to the account?

If a couple of people had just ‘taken care of business’, then the story of Esther and Mordecai squaring off against Haman would never have happened, but then we wouldn’t have had Esther.

‘After these events, King Xerxes honoured Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honour higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honour to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honour.’ Esther 3:1-2

Haman was an Agagite, and if that sounds familiar to you, then I salute you, scholar! Agag was king of the Amalekites during the reign of the 1st Israeli king, King Saul. Because of the persecution of the Amalekites against the Israelites as they were coming out of Egypt, Exodus 16, God asked Saul to take care of business, to do away with the Amalekites for good.

However, Saul did not obey God and left Agag and some of the people alive and because of this was rejected as king, 1 Samuel 15.

Read Esther 3

Flash forward several hundred years to the events in Esther and Saul’s mistake had come back to bite the Israelites as Haman, the Amalekite malcontent, ordered the Jews to be systematically slaughtered by declaring a national holiday where killing a Jew was legal.

What would you have done in Mordecai’s shoes regarding bowing down to Haman?

Are there modern-day equivalents to this?

Do we ever give in and ‘bow down’ to something other than God because of outside pressures?

When Mordecai found out what happened, Esther 4, he was deeply distressed. Esther inquired why and learned of the plot to kill the Jews. Mordecai begged her to speak up on their behalf and she told him that it was illegal to see the king without being summoned, the penalty for breaking this law was death.

Mordecai replied with the most famous verses in Esther.

‘Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?’ Esther 4:13-14

What do you think about Mordecai’s call to action?

What is the demonstration of faith in his reply?

‘Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so.’ Esther 2:10

Might she have been safe if she kept quiet?

Have you ever placed Mordecai’s words into your own life?

Consider his question for a moment framed for you:

‘Who knows if perhaps you were made ________________ for just such a time as this?’

What would you fill in the blank?

Esther replied with this

‘Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” Esther 4:16

What do you think about her preparation?

Do you ask for prayers or fasting before a big decision?

Do you pray or fast on your own?

If you don’t, what can we take away from how Esther prepares herself for her attempt to talk to the King?

In Esther 5, Esther boldly approached the king and was allowed in.

‘Then the king asked her, ‘What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!’ And Esther replied, ‘If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet I have prepared for the king.’ Esther 5:3-4

What? Was she crazy? Why not tell the king what was going on and demand he fix it?

‘Bring Haman at once,’ the king said, ‘so that we may do what Esther asks.’ So, the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, ‘Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.’ Esther replied, ‘My petition and my request is this: If the king regards me with favour and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfil my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.’ Esther 5:5-8

Why might it have been prudent for Esther to keep her endgame to herself?

What might have happened if she had burst into the throne room and said she was a Jew and demand action?

Read Esther 7 to see Esther’s grand plan unfold.

How does her plan compare to the one you would have come up with?

What did she do that was so wise?

In Esther 8, a new law was passed that gave the Jews the right to arm and defend themselves against anyone who might try to hurt them on the day that Haman arranged.

In Esther 9, we learn that Mordecai and Esther united the Jews into such a force that no one could touch them, and the Jews won the day. A new feast was instituted, the Feast of Purim, to celebrate the occasion. This feast is still celebrated in Jerusalem today. Esther and Mordecai knew how to take care of business.

Is there something in your life that needs to be taken care of?

Have you reached out to your brothers and sisters in Christ to pray and fast for you?

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:7

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