[Women of the Bible Who Made an Impact 7] Esther, Part II
This entire study is based upon the theme that God uses women in their time for His purposes. This was clearly Mordecai’s feelings about Esther, and I believe the same of each of you. God has a plan and a kingdom purpose for putting you where He can best use you!
A Precious Word from God
Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for [such] a time as this?
Esther 4:14b NKJV
Day One Study
Read Esther 3:7-4:3.
Esther 3:7 is a bit confusing. Apparently they cast lots (pur was the word, from which Purim comes) to see which date the Jews would be destroyed. The executions were planned to occur almost a year after the lot was cast. By comparing 2:16 with 3:7 it seems that about four-and-a-half years have elapsed since Esther became queen.
1. List the reasons Haman gave the king to destroy the Jews. (3:8, 9)
2. Observe the edict carefully. Answer the “who, what, when, where, why, and how questions” as if you were reporting on it for The Susa News. (3:12-13)
3. What did the King and Haman do while the command was issued? Contrast their response to that of those in the city from 3:15. Record your thoughts concerning the King and Haman from their actions in 3:15.
We can look at the king and Haman with judgment; however, perhaps we need to consider our own actions. What awaits people around you who do not know Jesus Christ? (See Rev. 20:11-15.)
- Diamonds in the Word : Find other verses that describe the final judgment and the future that awaits those who do not know Christ.
4. Sharing question: Does this knowledge affect your actions or do you go about life as usual? What do you need to do about it?
5. Responding to God: Pray for God’s heart of love for those who refuse to bow the knee to Him. Confess any feelings of judgment or lack of concern toward them. Write down your thoughts or prayer.
Day Two Study
Read Esther 4:1-14.
6. How did Esther’s relationship with Mordecai play into her learning about the edict?
7. What feelings did Esther exhibit when she originally replied to Mordecai’s message (4:10-11)?
- Diamonds in the Word: Find references to wise counsel. Why is it necessary?
8. Sharing question: Has there ever been a time in your life when you did not do the right thing because of fear? Perhaps you feared other people’s rejection, the consequences to your job, or the sacrifices required. Write down what happened and how your decision has affected you. Go before the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness and for the lessons you learned in that situation.
9. Although Mordecai never mentioned the name of God, what evidence in his response suggests his belief?
10. True faith affects our actions. We respond differently when we trust God. Record James 2:26 below. Sharing question: Share an action or response you have made that proves the reality of your faith. Without your faith, you would have behaved differently in the situation.
11. Responding to God: Write a prayer or a poem expressing your desire to trust God more and your confession for failing to trust Him in one situation this past week.
Day Three Study
Review Esther 4:12-14.
12. Review our Precious Word from God for this week. Explain Mordecai’s point to Esther in your own words.
13. You, too, have come to a kingdom. What purposes for kingdom people are mentioned in the following verses?
a. 1 Peter 2:9-10
b. Rev. 1:6
- Diamonds in the Word: Look in your concordance or topical study Bible for other cross-references about the kingdom. What more do you learn about your purposes?
God has brought you to His kingdom to be part of His church. It is no coincidence that you are exactly where you are at this particular time. God has placed you here, just as surely as He did Esther. Prayerfully consider these truths before God.
14. Write down your evaluation of the situations around you at this time—in the world, in our nation, locally, in your neighborhood, in your church, in your family, on your job, etc.
15. Sharing question: Has God impressed you with any thoughts concerning your purpose in the midst of the situations mentioned above? Write down what you are thinking at this point.
16. Responding to God: If you had an answer to the previous question, pray about it. If not, spend time with the Lord telling Him that you are available for Him to use as He sees fit for the sake of His kingdom in such a time as this. Record your prayer below.
Day Four Study
Review Esther 4:10-17.
17. What was the worst case scenario for Esther? How did she prepare before going to the King?
18. There are several times in Esther where fasting is mentioned. Look up these and the other references to fasting listed. Write down any insights you have into the purposes of fasting by recording when it was done or what other actions accompanied it. You will need to look at the context of the verses to find some of this information.
a. Esther 4:3
b. Esther 9:31
c. Is. 58:5-10
d. Dan. 9:3
e. Joel 2:12
- Diamonds in the Word: Find some resources on fasting and read about different ways that people fast.
19. Sharing question: If you have ever participated in a fast, either as an individual or as part of a group, share your experience.
Read Esther 5:1-8.
20. Relate what happened in these verses.
21. Sharing question: What are some areas in your life where you tend to rush in without waiting for the right timing? What can you learn from Esther’s example?
22. Responding to God: Pray for God’s wisdom instead of impatience to rule the next time you face that situation.
Day Five Study
Read Esther 5:9-6:14.
Some very interesting events take place between Esther’s two banquets.
23. What happened that reveals the unseen hand of God at work in this situation?
24. Sharing question: Often we are not privy to what God is doing behind the scenes in situations in our lives and in answer to our prayers. Think of a time when the Lord was at work in answer to your prayers behind the scenes, so to speak. Share this encouraging story with your group.
Read Esther 7:1-10.
25. For Haman it just got worse and worse until he received justice for his actions. There are many ironic events in this story. Review all that happened to Haman. God truly dispensed justice to him for both his thoughts and actions. Record the ironies you see and your insights on this subject.
Haman was an individual who allowed a slight to build up inside him until he was eaten up with anger, revenge, and bitterness. This can happen to us as well.
26. Read Heb. 12:15. What does bitterness do?
- Diamonds in the Word: Find verses about forgiveness. Explain how they impact bitterness.
27. Sharing question: Has there ever been a time in your life when you have seen the effects of bitterness? If so, describe its consequences.
28. Responding to God: Go before God and prayerfully consider whether there is anyone in your life toward whom you are holding anger and/or a heart of bitterness? If so, bring it before the Lord and ask Him to help you apply these verses. Write down your prayer.
Read Beth’s story of God’s putting her in a place where she could impact others for Him.
After college, I had the opportunity to work for a group of radio stations in my hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico; I knew it was a God given opportunity because of the sudden appearance of it after a very specific prayer, and the eight years that I worked there.
I was in a community where 99% of the population openly criticized and discriminated against me because I did not belong to their denomination. I was also in the middle of the celebrity world, interviewing artists and developing advertising for not so godly companies. Foremost, I was immersed in a very superficial, materialistic and sinful environment.
At the beginning I was really afraid because of the open rejection of coworkers when I turned down invitations to bars, parties and whatnot. Then I was very confused because of the everyday task of developing advertising campaigns for business that I didn't agree with their morals. But I had the conviction that God had a plan for me there even though I couldn't see it at the moment.
I felt really bad and rejected when those at the office referred to me in a pejorative way or were joking aggressively because I believed differently. Nevertheless, I kept working and giving my best effort to make things work out without compromising my position as a believer. After a year of hard working, lots of mistakes and difficulties, I made some friends and got more responsibilities, which I never looked for but for some reason, I felt I was being trusted.
After two years I became the head of the creative production department with several people under my management; I reorganized the area and apparently this was a breakthrough. The CEO and the board of the company noticed the way I was working with the team and they knew there was something different this time. They could trust that work would be done effectively and on time, and they started to wonder why. I was totally unaware; I was just trying to do a good job.
During the following years we as a team got recognized citywide and were awarded with several prizes for different advertising campaigns and radio jingles. We became an influence in the style of radio advertising in the city, but all this brought a lot more trouble in personal relationships at the office. I had to pray every day for wisdom and patience and intercede for all of those who were against me.
All I can say is that thanks to my walking in faith through that valley of death, I learned a lot. I had the opportunity to share in multiple occasions the joyful life in Jesus without opening my mouth, or even being conscious about it, but always through my attitude and principles of life, and without knowing what big influence I was going to be.
Years later I knew about several people who turned to Christ and how much things changed in that period of time in that area of the company; I like to think that it could be perhaps the result of the seed of hard work, truthfulness and a life with Jesus that I had, against all odds, humbly and unknowingly planted in the work field.