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Esther - Lesson Four - Day 1

  • Thomas Klock Harvest Ministries
  • 2008 8 Feb
Esther - Lesson Four - Day 1

Lesson Four-For Such a Time as This
Last Week in Review

Esther 3 brought us to the central crisis of this book.  We saw that Haman, the second in command of the Persian Empire, had convinced Ahasuerus to order everyone to bow to Haman as he passed by.  Of course, the people did so in fear for their lives.  All except one:  Mordecai, who alone stood up against compromise in doing homage to man rather than to God.  Haman was furious as a result.  Just getting back at Mordecai wouldn’t be enough.  Instead he wanted to destroy all the Jews and remove them from getting in the way of his self-seeking plans.  Haman first cast lots (pur) to decide when the destruction was to take place.  He craftily fooled Ahasuerus into authorizing the destruction of these people by playing on Ahasuerus’ greed, superstition, and ego.  Copies of this decree were distributed throughout the land via the Persian Pony Express.  The chapter ended in an unusual way:  “So the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was perplexed” (Esther 3:15, nkjv).

So we come to Esther 4, in which the crisis begins to reach its peak.  Being Jewish, Esther was in just as much danger as her people, although she was now the queen.  She and Mordecai will discover in this chapter the hand of God’s sovereignty at work in arranging all of these things, and they would have vital decisions to make that would effect the survival of Judaism and the people of Israel.

DAY ONE: Mourning and Sackcloth
Please carefully read Esther 4:1-4 and answer the following questions.

1. Jews throughout the Persian Empire received word that their day of destruction had been decreed under the wicked supervision of Haman.  What was Mordecai’s reaction to this edict, not just for himself, but all of the people (v. 1)?  How did the other Jews throughout the Empire similarly react to this news (v. 3)?

2. This was no light mourning or sadness.  When Mordecai “cried out with a loud and bitter cry,” literally he shrieked out in a bitter, sad, wild display of heart-crushing grief; it was like a distress signal, a cry for help.[i] The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, which needlessly attempted to bring God more directly into Esther, adds to verse 1 that Mordecai wailed, “An innocent people is being condemned to death.”[ii]

No doubt Mordecai’s next thought was about his beloved cousin Esther.  What prevented him from having access to her (v. 2)?

4.  Probably one of Esther’s servants saw Mordecai in such a state, and reported it to her.  What was Esther’s reaction to this (v. 4)?

5.  Esther was evidently unaware of this edict.  The news that her cousin was in such a state which prevented him from coming to her greatly upset her.  In fact, “deeply distressed” means she turned around in circles, writhing like a woman who is in the midst of childbirth, and trembled at this.[iii] 

Our Western culture has wrongly minimized and squelched the display of emotions.  Even in times of grief we feel pressured to just “pull ourselves together,” and “get over it.”  This was not so in the Jewish culture, nor elsewhere in the Eastern world, as we have seen in video of peoples’ graphic mourning of the tragic disasters in Southeast Asia.  We need to understand that if we are grieving, there is no reason to “just snap out of it,” but to express our grief and burdens and give them over to God.  There is “a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4, nkjv).  God wants us to seek Him honestly, and to know that He loves us anyway.  How will He bring healing in our lives as we take our burdens and cares to Him?

Matthew 11:28-30

1 Peter 5:6, 7

Scripture Memory:  This week we will be memorizing Esther 4:14.  Review the passage several times throughout the day each day this week, and by the end of the week, you should have it memorized completely

For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your
father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14, nkjv

Click here for Day 2

© 2005 by Harvest Christian Fellowship. All rights reserved. Written by Thomas Klock for Men’s Bible Fellowship, 2004-2005.