Palms Baptist Church Bible Study
The OG of the OT: The Real Story of Esther
February 23, 2021

The OG of the OT: The Real Story of Esther

February 23, 2021   /   Ryan Brown   /   Palms Baptist Church Bible Study

Esther is NOT about…

  • A Love story
    • Unless romance is defined by competing with 126 other virgins for a husband, proven by sleeping with him, and if chosen, still sharing him with those 126 other women
  • A model for marriage
    • She was not this timid, gentle, submissive woman
      • Esther 9:5-13
        • Let have another day to slaughter my enemies and impale them on pales
        • She was submissive as a subject is submissive to a king, NOT as a model for a wife’s submission to a husband
  • A mere historical account for an Israeli national holiday of Purim

*Christian “Eshter” account: Her name was Mercia and was married to the Roman Emperor Commodus (Same emperor depicted in movie Gladiator)

God still Leaders to lead Israel in captivity

  • Occurs directly after Book of Daniel (See Daniel 10)
  • Esther, Daniel, Nehemiah, and Ezra are all contemporaries of each other
    • Although Esther appears in Bible AFTER Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, the story of Esther occurred before Nehemiah and in between the start and end of Ezra. Further, book of Ezra starts before the book of Daniel ends
      • Ezra starts during reign of King Cyrus and spans from Cyrus to Darius to Xerxes to Artaxerxes – Ezra 1:1; Daniel 10
        • Note who Book of Ezra mentions went to Persia from Bablyon
          • Zerubbabel (Led to build the temple) – Ezra 2:1-2
          • Joshua (Helped Zerubbabel lead and build the temple)
          • Mordecai (See Esther)
          • Nehemiah (See Nehemiah)
      • During 6th year of King Darius temple completed – Ezra 6:15
      • King Xerxes (Son of Darius) – Esther 1:1-2
      • Feast of 180 days and 7 day banquet at Susa – Esther 1:3-5
        • During 3rd year of Xerxes reign
          • Custom in Persia to have a feast before military invasion
      • Beauty Pageant at Susa – Esther 2:1-16
        • 7th year of Xerxes Reign
          • Why so much time between declaring hunt for new Queen and the “Beauty Pageant”? He was fighting a war!
      • During 7th year of King Artaxerxes reign, he allows Ezra and Israel to return to Jerusalem- Ezra 7:11-26
      • During the 20th year of King Artaxerxes reign, he commissions Nehemiah to rebuild the wall from Susa – Nehemiah 2:1-9
  • With all this placed, note now what verses like Nehemiah 2:6 at the citadel of Susa offer:
    • “and the queen was sitting beside him” – Nehemiah 2:6

*For each era of Israel, God raised up leaders to accomplish God’s plan and maintain His covenant

God is Still when He seems Silent

  • Name of God not mentioned one time (Explicitly)
    • Created a lot of controversy because of this fact
    • MAYBE that’s the point, God said He would “Hide his face” – See Deuteronomy 32:20
  • Name “Esther” in Hebrew means “To conceal; hidden”
    • i.e. The Book of Esther literally means “The Book of Concealment/Hidden”

*God may be “hidden,” but He is still working behind the scenes. You just have to find Him!

  • 5 Acrostics HIDDEN in Esther
    • Acrostics: A poem or word puzzle that in which certain letters in each line form a word or words
      • Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem consisting of 22 stanzas with each stanza starting with each letter of the alphabet in sequential order
    • Written forward it means God is causing or driving it, written backwards means God is overruling or turning back the counsel of man
      • “All the wives shall give” – Esther 1:20
        • Acrostic is written backwards indicating that in this time, wives i.e. Esther will TAKE something, not give. She is taking the “divine” wisdom of the king and the wicked plan of Haman.
      • “Let the king, with Haman, come this day”- Esther 5:4
        • Acrostic written forward showing God is taking initiative with this meeting
      • “Gives me no satisfaction” – Esther 5:13
        • Acrostic written backward
        • In Esther 5:9, Hamman leaves glad from banquet, but dissatisfied that Mordecai is still alive. He plans to kill Mordecai, but God is reversing Hamman’s plan (kills Mordecai instead) as well as Hamman’s “Happy Day” as it will be his last day
      • “The king had already decided his fate” – Esther 7:7
        • Acrostic written forward showing that the king didn’t decide Haman’s fate, God did in response to Haman’s determination against God’s people
      • “Who is he? Where is he?” – Esther 7:5
        • Acrostic spells “I AM”
        • In the kings rage, he asks who intends to kill Esther, and by extension the Jewish people. The king “saves” the Jewish people from Haman; however, He unwittingly invokes the name “I AM” who saved them in the Exodus and who is REALLY saving them now

*Just because God may seem silent does not mean He is dormant. Israel was unfaithful, so God hid his face, but remained faithful to His promises to them.

*Question: Does God seem silent to you? Does he seem dormant? If so, check your faithfulness! You are sidelined or actively opposing what God wants you to do

God is a Sequence Started Long Ago

  • Use of 7’s
    • Esther 1:5
    • Esther 1:10
    • Esther 1:14
    • Esther 2:9
    • Esther 2:16
    • Esther 9:16

*The Book of Hidden is hinting that God is bringing something full circle, but what?

  • 2 Samuel 16:5-13
    • Shimei curses David, throws stones and dirt, and follows him for miles
    • David orders his men that for as long as David is king, Shimei lives
      •  It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” – 2 Samuel 16:12
    • Shimei constantly is trying to destroy David after this event
    • Shimei is mentioned over 40 times in Old Testament
    • Solomon kills Shimei after David dies– 1 Kings 2:46
  • Esther 2:5
    • “a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei”

God used GRACE to save His people

*In David’s grace and hope that “God restores his covenant blessing”, God used David’s grace towards Shimei by using his bloodline to save the Jews from the first holocaust hundreds of years later!

God did not FORGET

*God answered David’s prayer, but not in David’s lifetime. God did not forget the grace of David hundreds of years earlier. God remained faithful to His covenant blessing as David hoped earlier.

Shimei’s grace depended on DAVID, our grace depends on JESUS

*Shimei’s graced died with David. Our grace died, but ROSE AGAIN with Jesus i.e. our grace is secure in Jesus

  • 1 Samuel 15
    • God tells Saul to kill all the Amalakites and destroy all plunder
    • Saul killed everyone but King AGAG, and only destroyed the despised and weak

*More recent example: Immanuel Kant

Saul’s UNFAITHFULNESS nearly destroyed God’s people later

*His disobedience let to disaster

God did not FORGET

  • God remembered Saul’s unfaithfulness centuries later. Saul chose glory now for pain later, 1 Peter tells us to ward the pain now for eternal glory later
  • QUESTION: Have you thought about how your decision effect later generations? Your grandchildren? Your great-great grandchildren?
  • Why did God order to destroy the Amalakites? For as long as they existed, they would hurt every generation of Jew culminating in the first holocaust in the time of Esther
  • We think God only loves US and those before us. God love us all, across all time, and injects grace to the benefit outside our generation

NOTE: The life giving, eternal God views death different from us

*Example with my son and the shed

Ultimately, the story of Esther is rooted in God using the Grace of David to defeat the Unfaithfulness of Saul

Guided Questions for Discussion

  1. God raised up Esther to influence world powers for God’s ultimate glory and purpose. Is your faith and hope for change put into political leaders or solely on God? Is your activism for Jesus MORE active than your activism for political positions, societal change, etc.?
  2. While God seemed hidden and silent, He was still working for the good of the Jewish people and ultimately His plan. Do you trust God in his silence as much as in His explicit victories?
  3. Does God seem silent to you? Does He seem distant? Does He seem to be hiding? If so, how?
  4. If God seems silent, how do you get His voice back? Is there an area in your life that remains unfaithful that is drowning God out?
  5. Are you at a place in life where you feel you lack direction? Purpose? Have you considered that your will, desire, and energy is focused on something God is opposed too?
  6. Have you ever seriously considered how your faithfulness or unfaithfulness effects future generations? Knowing that, what areas do you brush off as insignificant or inconsequential to others?
  7. God loves, and died for ALL across ALL time. Do we have that eternal mindset as disciples of the eternal God? If so, what areas of your life would, or should look different?
  8. Esther shows how God used David’s grace to conquer Saul’s unfaithfulness. When you are unfaithful to God, do you maintain the same confidence that grace will prevail? Do we allow grace to prevail when others are unfaithful to us, or does their unfaithfulness prevail?
  9. Our grace rests on Jesus. For as long as He lives, we live in grace. Do you feel that immeasurable grace in your life? If this is true, what is a grace-filled life look like?

 

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