Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Study of the Book of Esther: Week One, Day Three

Day Three: Memucan and the Nobles

     Yesterday we ended the day with thoughts about a recent bad decision in our own lives. I make emotional decisions all of the time. Too often, I let my emotions win the argument over the logical side of things. Logically, I know that I should go start a load of laundry right now. But emotionally, I really don't feel like it. Logically, I knew that eating a healthy lunch this past Saturday would give me the fuel I needed desperately to get through the busy day, but emotionally, the huge slice of black forest cake that I made with one of my best friends was too good to pass up- even if it left me feeling run down as I knew that it would.
     Read Esther 1:12-22. What emotion was the king feeling (1:12)?

What did he do as a result of that emotion (1:13)?

Personal Reflection: What is your typical immediate response in a moment of anger?

Personal Reflection: How do you feel about your rash angry decisions once you've calmed down?

     I've read that anger is actually a secondary emotion which means that it comes about as a result of a primary emotion- typically fear or sadness. So when I got angry at my seven year old this morning for spilling a bag of cereal all over the floor, I wasn't just angry. That was the secondary emotion. In reality, I was sad about the loss of the cereal and afraid there wouldn't be enough to go around during the rest of the week because of the spill. As a result of my sadness and fear, I too easily freaked out over spilled cereal (which is better than spilled milk, right?).
     Looking back, I know I overreacted over spilled cereal. I didn't yell or anything, but I was frustrated and I have one of those faces that tells its own story. My baby knew I was frustrated. And I left him feeling sad as a result. I think we all regret our anger once we've calmed down and Xerxes, as you'll see later, is no exception.

Who were the men that Xerxes met with (1:13-14)?

What was Xerxes attitude as they discussed the issue (1:15)?

Who answers the king's question (1:16)?

What does he see as the problem with the queen's response to the king (1:17-18)?

What does he go on to suggest the king do to deal with this issue (1:19-20)?

What is the king's response to this suggestion (1:21-22)?

Reflection: Do you suppose the king had the right heart attitude here when he made this decision?

     My husband's father had this amazing habit as he was raising my husband. When my husband would do something wrong, his father wouldn't react right away. He wouldn't issue a punishment or freak out. He would tell him he needed to pray about it before handing down a sentence. And then he would do just that. If you ask my husband, this was almost worse than just getting the immediate punishment because he knew it was looming. But that's not why his dad did this. He did it because he wanted to be sure he had the right heart attitude and that he was doing exactly as Jesus wanted him to do with this kid.
     If Xerxes hadn't made this decision in a moment of anger, the story would likely be very different. If Xerxes had known God, it may have been different too. But alas, Xerxes did what we all do now and again. He made a hasty decision that he was sure would soothe his bruised ego. And we know that's what he did based on the verse that starts our study tomorrow.
Let's look at it now in Esther 2:1. What did King Xerxes do later when his anger subsided (2:1)?

Personal Reflection: If you could change your angry responses, how would you change them?

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