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Bible Pathways - June 13, 2008


June 13

Esther 4

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Caught in the middle Esther can die if she approaches the king to save the Jews. The Jews join forces and they have a community fast. The queen invites the king to a banquet. The king's sleeplessness is designed by God and although Mordecai is a Jew he is not disloyal. The king faces a serious dilemma when he realizes that the queen, a Jew, can die through a law his Prime Minister instigated and the king proclaimed.

Haman, the most powerful assistant to the king, had issued a decree to execute all Jews (3:9-13). When this was made known, Queen Esther requested prayer and fasting, for Mordecai had told Esther that she must ask the king to spare her people.

The king who controlled the Persian Empire, the most powerful kingdom on earth, had made a decree that no one could come into his presence without his permission or they would be executed. To make Esther's situation even more serious, she had not been called to see the king for thirty days. Although she was queen, the king may have lost interest in her. If so, she could not hope to influence him. Success appeared unlikely.

The edict had gone forth. The death warrant was signed and sealed. To all human appearance, all Jews, including Mordecai and Esther, were doomed. But, then as now, Mordecai's God reigns and controls the deliverance of His oppressed people. Mordecai's unshakable confidence in God was revealed in His words to Esther: If thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place (4:14).

After she had sent word to Mordecai with the words: If I perish, I perish (4:16), Esther stood in the inner court of the king's palace, waiting to see if the king would extend the scepter to her. She was willing to give up everything — even her life, if necessary — for what she knew to be the will of God.

Not only did the king accept her, but he also offered her half of the kingdom (5:3,6; 7:2). Esther could have clutched her prize, considering it far too precious to lose by making her request. But saving her people meant more to her than riches and being queen.

Mordecai looked to Esther, but he looked still higher for he expected deliverance to come from God. It is our responsibility to make use of all known legitimate earthly means to accomplish God's known will and, at the same time, recognize that God is not limited to the resources known to us.

Glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope (Romans 5:3-4).

Thought for Today:

As Christians we constantly face choices whether to obey God or allow temptation to overcome us. Remember, obedience always brings blessing.

Christ Revealed:

In the honor shown to Mordecai as he was led through the streets (Esther 6:10-11). Jesus was greatly honored in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:8-9).

Word Studies:

6:32 waited on =b> performed service in; 6:66 the residue =b> balance; 6:74 suburbs =b> pasturelands; 7:23 it went evil with =b> tragedy had happened to his family; 7:24 nether =b> lower.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in memory of Donna B. Fox White • Staff: Karen Hawkins • Government Officials: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Del. Eleanor Norton (DC) • Country: Spain (39.6 million) in southwestern Europe • Major languages: Castilian Spanish and Catalan • Limited religious freedom • 85% Roman Catholicism; 1% Islam; .5% Protestant; .5% Jehovah's Witness; 13% Other (Mormon, Jewish, Secular Humanist) • Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for the spiritual rest that is in Him (Hebrews 4:9-10).

Optional Reading: Galatians 2

Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Corinthians 1:7

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