Esther - Lesson Three - Day 1
- Thomas Klock Harvest Ministries
- 2008 4 Feb
Lesson Three: No Compromise
Last Week in Review
After returning from defeat at the hands of the Greeks, Ahasuerus realized that he had cut off the one he would have wanted to comfort him, and probably sank into depression. Knowing Ahasuerus’ lustful nature, his servants suggested they bring him the best virgins of the land, and the one he “enjoyed” the most would replace Vashti as queen. He quickly accepted their suggestion, and the gathering of these young women began. It so happened that Mordecai, one of the Jewish captives who had made his way into service for the king, had a beautiful young cousin named Esther (Hadassah). She was also taken, but those selecting her didn’t know her heritage. Through this turn of events, Mordecai and Esther were placed into position to fulfill the purposes God had for them. A preparation period was set for these women to beautify them, but Esther brought all the beauty she would need with her. Not only was she physically attractive, but her relationship with God shone forth beautifully, leading her to find favor in the sight of all. Once Ahasuerus saw this lovely woman, the search was over, and he made her queen the next day. Esther 2 closes in an unusual way with Mordecai overhearing a plot against Ahasuerus. He reported this to Esther, and she to the King. Upon investigation of this, the two plotters were put to death. This obscure incident will play an important role in a future study at a pivotal point in the story.
This week we’ll read of the great courage of Mordecai to stand against wrong and not compromise his faith despite tremendous pressure to do so. The repercussions of this stand would be significant, and clear action was required to counter it. Let’s turn to the next phase of the story now and see what we can learn from it.
Day One: A Courageous Stand
Please carefully read Esther 3:1-3 and answer the following questions.
1. One would think that Mordecai would have been honored for his actions, but instead what took place (v. 1)?
Note: If Haman was indeed an Agagite, he would have descended from those who were enemies of Israel’s first King Saul, showing that he would have already been at enmity with the Jewish people (see 1 Samuel 15). However, the term Agagite can be translated “fiery one,” perhaps more of a nickname like we have seen elsewhere in the book of Esther, and not literally meaning he descended from Agag.[i]
2. What had Ahasuerus ordered about Haman? How did Mordecai respond to this (v. 2)?
3. What was the reaction of Mordecai’s co-workers to his stand (v. 3)?
4. Mordecai refused to bow (humbly bend the knee to) let alone pay homage (to prostrate oneself before a superior)[ii] to this man. He knew there is a time to transgress, standing up for what is right without compromising his relationship with God. What are some examples of others who had made a similar decision while in that land (Daniel 1:8, 3:15–18, 6:6–10)? To whom alone should we bow (Philippians 2:9–11)?
5. We’ll see many parallels in our studies between Haman and the long line of others who have sought to destroy the Jews, ultimately inspired by our greatest adversary, Satan. Haman’s name meant “well disposed,” and we’ll see that he was very wealthy, but morally and in every other way that counts he was a small, evil man; Haman’s name is still an evil one to the Jews.[iii] In fact, the Septuagint translates Agagite as “bully!”[iv] He was the fiery one allowed to have sway over the people. How does Satan, the ultimate fiery one, now have a similar authority (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2, 6:12; 1 John 5:19)?
Scripture Memory: This week we will be memorizing Esther 3:2b, 4. 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.
But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told it to Haman, to see whether Mordecai's words would stand; for Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. Esther 3:2b, 4 (nkjv)
Click Here for Day Two
© 2005 by Harvest Christian Fellowship. All rights reserved. Written by Thomas Klock for Men’s Bible Fellowship, 2004-2005.www.Harvest.org