Esther: For Such A Time As This (Part 2 of 4) – Simple Bible Study
It’s Part 2 of Esther, and we will cover chapters 3 – 5 on this Simple Bible Study. If you are wanting an overview of the book of Esther, haven’t gone through chapters 1 & 2, or just need some encouragement, head on over to part 1 here to get ALL of that – you won’t be sorry!
Okay, let’s get right into the Bible Study & get started!
ESTHER Part 2 – FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS (read ch. 3 – 5)
True Colors Revealed
Recap of Esther ch. 3: Haman, the Agagite and official in King Ahasuerus’s court, was promoted by the king. It is not known how long Haman has been serving the king, but being advanced by the king was a huge honor at the time.
“And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, ‘Why do you transgress the king’s command?’ And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew.” Esther 3:2-4
Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage not just because he didn’t like Haman but because their people (Mordecai a Jew, and Haman an Agagite) have been enemies for a very long time, centuries long. Mordecai did not want to bow down due to him honoring his belief in God and his people. God calls for His people to not bow to anything other than Him.
When Haman found out Mordecai refused to bow down to him, he was furious. Just imagine that, when Haman sees that he is not being bowed down to, in his mind, he needs to be bowed down according to his standing, his status, and his power. He devised a horrific, evil plan to not only destroy Mordecai for his refusal to bow down before him but all of his people, the Jews.
“But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.” – Esther 3:6
I know I’ve gotten angry before towards a person but not enough that I want to destroy not only this particular person but also all their people! Haman planned to hurt, planned to destroy, planned to completely wipe out every Jew in all of King Ahasuerus’s kingdom. And Haman is the most powerful position besides the king and he knew just how to destroy the Jews. Haman is personally using his status and power to accomplish his own, evil agenda towards Mordecai.
Abuse of Power and Trust
What did Haman do first to accomplish his own personal agenda? Go to the king, although Haman did not exactly tell him the whole truth or even really why. And when did Haman speak to him? In the time of casting lots which is more of like making decisions and leaving it up to God every day, every month until the twelfth month.
“Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, ‘There are certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.’ So the king took off his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. And the king said to Haman, ‘The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.’” Esther 3:8-11
Haman tricked the king by using vague, non-specific words (by not saying who the people were that should be destroyed) and using bribery. Haman said a certain kind of people, so he briefly mentioned “destroyed” but did not say what or who.
The decree had all that Haman commanded was written under the name of the king and with the signet ring to seal and finalize it. But, Haman had used the ring given to him by King Ahasuerus because the king trusted him. The king giving Haman the ring was a clear example of an extension of power and trust. And Haman was abusing those privileges from King Ahasuerus.
“Letters were sent by the couriers to all the king’s provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their good.” Esther 3:13
God’s Purpose Is Higher Than Your Fears
Recap of Esther ch. 4: Mordecai found out about this decree and he tore his clothes, went into the middle of the city of Susa and cried a loud cry. And in all the kingdom, when it was made known of the decree for all Jews, they all cried and were in great mourning. They found out the Jews, all Jews, were going to die, and it was under the name of King Ahasuerus.
Did the king betray them? What was done for this to happen? All these thoughts are probably going through their minds, but Mordecai was determined to speak with someone that may have a chance to end this terror. Hathach, under Esther’s commands, was the messenger between Mordecai and Queen Esther. Mordecai explained exactly what happened and even sent her a copy of the decree in the hope that Queen Esther may be able to do something to beg the king to stop this for her people.
“Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, ‘All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law – to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.’” – Esther 4:11
Esther was overcome with her fears and her justifications on why she can’t go to the king by coming up with excuses. The king in the beginning of Esther was known to give anger fits if things weren’t run his way. Mordecai reminds Queen Esther of how she, even as Queen, may even be put to death if they found out she is a Jew (she still did not reveal that she is a Jew). If she stays silent, she and her father’s house will die.
“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14
This is a beautiful reminder that Queen Esther needed the strength and courage to step out in faith, no matter what happens to her. Like with us humans, Esther had to be reminded by Mordecai of where she came from and who she really is.
The “who knows” is emphasized here because it means that Esther was chosen and favored as queen for a dangerous time for her people. God is all-knowing and planned every step for Esther to become Queen, and Mordecai stated out what God was speaking to her in that moment, “I created you and you were born for such a time as this.”
“Then, Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, ‘Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.’” Esther 4:16
I know that it took so much out of Esther to be fearless, to be courageous, to run to the unknown. But with God on her side, she knew she was not alone. God knows all things and orchestrates everyone in their own position such as Esther becoming queen.
Esther was meant for this, this is her purpose, she was born for this. Even with everything that happened to her when she was young, it all led to this moment in time. For such a time as this. She had to choose God over her fears. She had to choose wisdom, praying, and fasting over running away or not doing anything for her people and let them perish.
“Esther knew that God had a purpose for her to become queen even if she was to be perished.”
Guided By God
Recap of Esther ch. 5: After three days of fasting and prayer, it was time for Esther to step out in faith. Esther went inside the inner courts on the third day, and when the king saw her, she immediately won favor and held out his golden scepter (to save her from death).
“And the king said to her, ‘What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you, even to half of my kingdom.’ And Esther said, ‘If it please the king, let the king and Haman come today to a feast that I have prepared for the king.’ Then the king said, ‘Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther has asked.’” Esther 5:3-5
All the Jews in Susa had fasted and prayed for Esther and so did she, and what she got in response from God is to invite the king and Haman to a banquet. God has a way of doing things, so that what He wants accomplished will be done. Esther was guided by God to prepare a banquet for Haman and King Ahasuerus. And, guess what? We know from the beginning of the book that the King loved to feast, drink, and to party, and Esther knew this.
They all feasted together and at the end of it all, King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther what she wishes and requests for. And Queen Esther asked them to ANOTHER feast that she will prepare for them the next day. So, they are like, yeah, another party! But, all of these things were going accordingly in God’s plans, for the feast that day and for the one tomorrow has made Haman feel even more important and proud than every official in the king’s court.
Pride and Wrath Do Not Mix Well Together
Towards the end of chapter 5, Haman goes out after the feast all merry and happy that only he was invited to a feast with the king and queen. He can say, “Look at me, I enjoyed a great feast in the presence of the king and queen, and the queen herself invited me and the king. And, that’s not all, I was invited by Queen Esther to another feast tomorrow along with the king!” But as Haman is walking out all happy and full of food, and drink, and himself, he sees someone in which all the happiness is quickly replaced with bitterness and malice.
“…But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai.” Esther 5:9
But, Haman restrained himself here, so instead he went home to his wife, family, and friends. And he went over and they counted every success, every honor, every promotion, his children, his high status, and his wealth. Then, Haman declared, “Look at me, Queen Esther herself invited me and the king and no one else to attend the feast today and I was again invited for another feast with them tomorrow!”
But, deep inside, Haman was not fulfilled. He was not satisfied. Even with all the blessings, riches, promotions Haman had, his wrath would not be contained and he still wanted Mordecai killed. Everything he has doesn’t matter to him without Mordecai dead.
“‘Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.’ Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‘Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.’ This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.” – Esther 5:13-14
50 cubits tall. That’s about 75 feet. Haman wanted Mordecai to be hanged and for everyone around to see. A glorified killing. Almost for sport to make Mordecai become worthless not only as a Jew, but also as a person. Haman was not satisfied with what he had, which was such an overflow of blessings, and he wanted to have Mordecai hanged.
Knowing Haman’s wife and friends were the ones that gave him the idea of building the gallows for Mordecai, it’s safe to think that they were not a good influence for Haman. Haman wanted comfort and advice from his family and friends, and they influenced him.
Mordecai’s life was at risk and he didn’t even know it. It seemed that Haman’s plan to take down Mordecai couldn’t be stopped. He was going to tell the king about this idea in the morning which means Haman was not going to let anything stop him when he woke up that morning. But, God is still in the midst of it all.
Questions & Application
1. Have you ever had someone think they were better than you because of their status, position, popularity, etc.? Or did you ever think you were better and higher than a person/s?
If you had someone (or currently still have someone), pray for them. I know this is hard, and this is something I’ve struggled with and still am, but how can we move forward and be intentional with God with the Bible study if we aren’t trying? Little by little, when you pray for them, you begin to see them through God’s eyes, for He still loves them regardless of how they treat you.
If you are the one that thinks you’re better than someone else, I will be blunt and say, just drop it. Run to God, let Him overwhelm you with His loving embrace and lay it all down. You have to face yourself and better yourself by pursuing God, and He will change you from the inside out. But, you have to humble yourself first and bow before God, for He wants your heart.
2. Are you so fearful to pursue God’s purpose for you that you are staying within your comfort zone?
God has called you to do His Works on earth long before you were born. He alone will provide the strength and courage that you need to tackle your fears. Everyone has a moment or, as I like to call it, a “such a time” when you have to step out in faith when fears start to creep in and cripple you to stay right where you are.
Esther had to overcome her fears and being killed, and she did not want to do anything. But, Mordecai reminded her to not think of just because she was in the king’s palace doesn’t mean they wont find out who she is and get her too. However, Esther got her strength to step past her fears after fasting for three days.
Whatever it is that is keeping you in your comfort zone, know that God can help you through it – He sees your heart and knows you are human. You can trust in Him that His plans for you are better than your own.
3. Is there pride in your life in which it takes over your actions and emotions (such as anger, wrath, and bitterness)?
Here’s a way to do this: lay down your pride (we have to do this daily), give Him Your all (pride, emotions, and all that messiness). And allow Him to change your view and your heart by seeking His Word daily and praying continuously. This is a hard one to deal with, but with God, nothing is impossible.
Thank you for joining us for Part 2 of Esther! Let us know what you learned from your Bible Study.
Resources for Esther Bible Study:
1. Live Beautifully: A Study in the Books of Ruth and Esther (Fresh Life Series) by Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose
They are both linked so you would like to look them up or get them if you’d like!
Thank you for reading,