Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

Week Four: Wrapping It All Up

Bible Verse: The Jews were filled with joy and gladness and were honored everywhere. -Esther 8:16

Day One: Help Is On the Way!

     Today is a HUGE day at our house. We have been incubating eggs for the last three weeks! Translation- I've been worrying over and losing sleep over these eggs as they've been growing and changing for three weeks. Last night, I even dreamed about them. All 13 hatched but we ended up with 20 because some of them were cloning themselves. Weirdest dream ever.
     As I was saying, today is huge here. It's exciting because our sweet babies are hatching. We already have one out and four more are on their way through. After days of fear and uncertainty mixed with the occasional exciting moment, our worries are over. Hatch day is here.
     And while the Jewish people weren't waiting on a trivial thing like chickens hatching, they were walking through some much more fear-filled days until this point in our story. Up until this particular day, their days were numbered and deaths were imminent. But then God rescued them! Read Esther 8:1-17. What was our first hint that things were finally turning around (8:1)?

What did the king give Mordecai when he came before the king (8:2)?

What did Esther do for Mordecai (8:2)?

What did Esther beg the king to do (8:3-6)?

What was the king's response (8:7-8)?

Reflection: Was there ever a point in the story where you thought God just might not intervene this time?

     I've had plenty of moments in my own life where, for one reason or another, I just didn't think God was going to come through. It's why I worry so much about everything I guess. I am always so concerned that what I'm worrying about isn't important enough or big enough for God to step in. Why would He care if I'm late to my son's track meet? How would it affect His big plan for my life if my favorite chicken didn't come home one day? What does it ultimately matter if I lost a pound this week? But the amazing thing is that through all of that and more, God has shown Himself faithful to me.
     Does that mean I always get my way? No. Definitely not. I can't tell you the number of times I've prayed for all green lights only to get red the whole way or that I've prayed for a day where no one fights in my house but the kids spent the entire day in a giant bickerfest.
     But here's the thing, whether things are going our way or not, God is still there, still present, still available to us, still close by, still listening, still loving us, and still acting on what's best.

Who dictated the king's written decree (8:9)?

To whom was the decree sent (8:9)?

And in whose name was it written (8:10)?

What authority did the king's decree give to the Jewish people (8:11)?

Where was the decree to be issued (8:12-14)?

How did the Jewish people feel about this decree (8:16-17)?

What happened as a result of the decree (8:17)?

     I love that because of this decree, more people came to know about God. Through this horrible circumstance where the very lives of the entire Jewish community were at stake, God makes Himself known to people outside of the Jewish faith. God used something bad and made it good just as He always promises He will.

Copy Romans 8:28-

Personal Reflection: Can you think of a moment in your own life- whether recent or in the distant past- when you thought God might not come through? How has He shown Himself faithful through it?

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