August 18

Esther 1:1–3:15 

The book of Esther is a fascinating book named after a godly woman used in a mighty way to save her people. Even through the book of Esther doesn’t mention the name of God, we see His providence throughout, His fingerprints are everywhere.

We don’t know for certain who wrote the book of Esther, most teachers leave it at that, but some have speculated that Mordecai is its author. The events in the book of Esther took place in between Ezra chapters 6 and 7 (before the time of Ezra and Nehemiah). Ezra and Nehemiah were allowed to return during the reign of King Artaxerxes, the son of the King Ahasuerus of whom we will read about in the book of Esther.

Her name means “fair,” and “beautiful,” and Esther turned out to be a beauty on the outside and inside, she was courageous and raised to a place of prominence, “…for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

It all began when the king of Medo-Persia, King Ahasuerus wanted to parade his wife before the leaders of his empire (the king was drunk at the time). Queen Vashti refused and this led to her removal as queen and a search for her replacement.

Esther was a beautiful young Jewish woman who was raised and cared for by her uncle Mordecai, for Esther’s parents had both died. Out of all the women in the one hundred and twenty seven provinces Esther was among the women selected and was even shown favor once she was brought to the palace. Esther’s uncle Mordecai advised her to hide her nationality so that she’d be given a fair chance to be queen. Sure enough, Esther was selected (what are the odds that a poor Jewish woman would be crowned like this, raised to such a prominent position in the world?) It was all God.

Esther 2:17 (NKJV) “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

We read next about Esther’s uncle Mordecai uncovering a plot by certain men to kill the king. It was confirmed, the men were hung, and the report of what Mordecai had done was chronicled in the records of the nation (this will be a huge factor later in the story).

In the meantime, King Ahasuerus promoted a man named Haman to the second highest position in the land. As such, the people of the land all bowed down to him, but Mordecai didn’t. When Haman was informed about this, he was furious. We read in:

Esther 3:5 (NKJV) “When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath.”

This Haman was an evil man. First of all, none of us should ever want or expect others to bow down to us, pay homage to us, or even look up to us. If we ever have any hint of such a heart just know it’s what I would call the “spirit of Haman.” No matter what our position might be, as men and women created in the image of God, we’re all equal.

But Haman took it to the extreme. Not only did he want Mordecai dead for such a deed, he also wanted ALL of Mordecai’s people (the Jews) dead. Perhaps Haman discovered that the Jews only paid homage to God. So Haman went in to the king and presented these people as rebels; he asked for the annihilation of the Jews, and the king obliged him with his signet ring.

Of course we know that behind this plot is Satan himself. Satan has always tried to annihilate the Jews for he knows they’re a sign to the world, chosen by God in a special way.

Something else that’s fascinating to me is that Haman is an Agagite (Esther 3:1). Some teachers trace him back to being a descendant of King Agag whose people, the Amalekites were wiped out by King Saul and his Jewish army, with the exception of King Agag. It has been speculated that because Saul did not wipe out the Amalekites as commanded by God, sparing the king, and others, that the king somehow had sexual relations with a woman and hence an offspring. Eventually King Agag was hacked to pieces by Samuel, but Haman no doubt knew the story of how his people were wiped out by the Jews. Now’s his chance for revenge.

Satan had a plan – the whole world would be agains the Jews. But God had a lovely young lady raised to a perfect place for such a times as this.

They set the time, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the world was commanded to kill, to annihilate the Jews, and plunder their goods. It would not only be legal and lawful as stated by the king, it was commanded.

Satan had a plan – the whole world would be agains the Jews. But God had a lovely young lady raised to a perfect place for such a times as this.

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 

Paul continues to deal with some of the problems they were having as a church, including they’re weekly communion service which was combined with their “love-feasts.” What was intended to be a time of giving had become a time of gorging. Certain people were eating all the good food first – at the exclusion of others – and some so-called saints came to the gathering drunk! I always get so bummed when I read 1 Corinthians 11:17 – the NIV words it this way, “In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.” Imagine going to church service, only to leave worse than when you arrived? Aren’t we supposed to leave our fellowship, “better,” “stronger” and “closer” to Christ when we gather with Christians?

Communion is a wonderful time to remember Jesus, celebrate our salvation, and examine our lives.

I’ve noticed in life, that tragically we can easily forget Jesus. Communion is beautiful because it brings Jesus back to the center of our lives – even His cross. One person said, “Christianity is the only religion in the world whose centerpiece is the humiliation of their God.” The celebration of communion is the declaration of God’s love. He SHOULD be, this should be the centerpiece of our lives.

Paul warns us that if we eat in an unworthy manner, not taking this seriously, holding on to sin in our hearts, we run the risk of being judged by the Lord – disciplined by God – even to the point of death (sleep – 1 Corinthians 11:30). It would be much better if we judged ourselves (repented), and put others before ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:33)

Psalm 35:17-28 

People can do tons of damage with their tongues. Saul started it all, and it spread like wildfire. They spoke against David – they did not speak peace, they opened their mouths wide against him (some people have big mouths) (Psalm 35:20-21).

David spoke to God about it; he prayed the LORD would vindicate him and defeat his enemies…and God did. David knew God would fight for him and promised to praise Him in the great assembly. Publicly he would give God all the glory…all day long  and so should we (Psalm 35:18, 28).

Proverbs 21:19-20

Proverbs 21:19 (NKJV) “Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”

You may have noticed, this proverb takes it a little father than Proverbs 21:9. He goes from the housetop to the wilderness, because the woman is now not only contentious, she’s angry.

Question: Does this give a husband grounds to leave his wife, to run to the roof, or depart to the desert because his wife is contentious and angry? No, as a matter of fact, New Testament light actually commands something very different in:

1 Peter 3:7 (NKJV) “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”

So, the Bible doesn’t give any man that type of green light to run to the roof, or depart to the desert, it’s just saying it’s a tough place for a husband to be, if their wives are contentious or angry. At the same time I do believe it’s a warning to wives not to push your husbands like this. It’s also a warning to single people, who don’t have what they had back then, arranged marriages – you get to pick your partner, you get to select your soul-mate. Do so with tons of prayer.

Proverbs 21:20 (NKJV) “There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it.”

In Proverbs 8:21 God promises treasures to those who love Him.

In the OT there was a lot of treasure physically and financially; in the NT the blessings are more Spiritually – but – if we’re good stewards and don’t squander things away, we might prosper financially as well. The Lord knows what’s best for each one of us.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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