Esther: God Is On The Move (Part 1 of 4) – Simple Bible Study
We (David + Lianna) are extremely excited to release the 4-part Simple Bible Study series on Esther, and get intentional on studying the Word of God!
Esther is a short book in the Old Testament, written by an anonymous author, and is an overall story of how the Jews were rescued by Esther and Mordecai, her cousin. But, guess what? God is never mentioned throughout the whole book, not even once. However, as you read + study Esther, you will begin to see God working behind the scenes and is a part of every situation, circumstance, and event. God is STILL on the move.
Part 1 covers: Chapters 1 & 2
A short encouragement to get fired up:
Here’s why a Simple Bible Study is about being intentional: being “intentional” with studying the Bible is to really get deeper into what the Word of God says. We definitely want to grow more intentional to grow closer to God and know Him more than I can ever imagine.
So, we dare you to be “intentional” along with us as we study the book of Esther and her story before and after becoming Queen and how she risked her life to save her own people. So, go ahead and make some time, get a journal, get cozied up with a cup of strong coffee or tea, and let’s get intentional because it’s that simple.
If it seems difficult for you or you feel like you lack the desire to read and learn more of God and His Word, don’t worry, you are not alone. Many people, like Christians and us, have struggled with wanting to read the Bible – but you can pray every time before you read for that desire to grow stronger each time. The Holy Spirit will help you even in your weaknesses. (See Romans 8:26-27)
We definitely recommend having a physical Bible of your own if you do not have one – try out the ESV Bible or the NLT Bible below but you can have fun exploring all the options! I (Lianna) personally have the ESV journaling Bible and have had it for 5 years, and love it!
2. NLT Bible
Okay, now, let’s get started!
Esther Part 1: GOD IS ON THE MOVE (read ch. 1 & 2)
Wealth On Display
Recap of Esther ch. 1: King Ahasuerus reigned in 127 provinces and lived in the capital, Susa. The story starts when the king hosted a feast for all his officials, servants, the army, nobles, and governors of the provinces which lasted for 180 days. In other words, the king wanted to show off “the riches of his royal glory and the splendor and pomp of his greatness.” (Esther 1:4) After this great feast, King Ahasuerus gave ANOTHER great feast for all people in Susa that lasted for SEVEN days in the court of his palace.
“There were white cotton curtains and violet hanging hangings fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rods and marble pillars, and also couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones.” Esther 1:7 (ESV)
Taking a pause here from reading these verses, what do you think of King Ahasuerus? What kind of a person is he? The king is showing off his greatness, high position, and his wealth. He spared no expense to showcase the great riches of his kingdom to all of the people attending the palace.
Have you ever met someone like this? Or even worse, are you this person? The king, yes, is the king, but that kind of power and wealth can truly go to their head if they are not careful. And I can tell you that King Ahasuerus was no exception.
However, the king had one more prize he wanted to show off: his queen. King Ahasuerus asked for his queen, Queen Vashti, to let his eunuchs (palace officials) view her beauty. (Warning: it is thought that the king, in his drunkenness, wanted his queen to show off her beauty…naked). But she absolutely refused. (And, good for her.) It’s not known how long she was queen or if she was mistreated like this, but she declared that night, that enough was enough.
Easily Hotheaded & Drunk
When the king heard of Queen Vashti’s refusal, he became hotheaded and was enraged with fury. The king took advice from his own officials, some very bad advice.
“Then Memucan said in the presence of the kings and the officials, ‘Not only against the king has Queen Vashti done wrong, but also against all the officials and all the peoples who are in the provinces of King Ahasuerus. For the queen’s behavior will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’’” Esther 1:16-17 (ESV)
Okay, is that some good advice from one of the king’s officials? No, because they jumped to conclusions on how the people in the kingdom would respond, but at the same time, I think the official was saying exactly what King Ahasuerus wanted to hear. He was angry. He was hotheaded. And a bit of a drunk.
And this is what happened next.
“So when the decree made by the king is proclaimed throughout all his kingdom, for it is vast, all women will give honor to their husbands, high and low alike. This advice pleased the king and the princes, and the king did as Memucan proposed.” Esther 1:20-21 (ESV)
Have you ever had a friend or family member that was angry or hot headed towards a person? When they were still angry, how did you console or comfort them? Did you end up taking their side or disagree with them? I admit that sometimes it’s very easy for us to side with someone that is angry and agree with what they’re saying or how they’ve been wronged, because we do not want to make them even more angry OR we are mad. Or even worse, how to get revenge. We tend to surround ourselves with people who will agree with you or to say yes to everything you are feeling and wanting to do.
Sometimes, when we get hot headed, like the king, you are blinded by the sting of the burning anger and do or say things impulsively in the heat of the moment. But, whenever the burning of our anger is gone, we look back and sometimes regret over what we have actually done.
God Still Has A Plan
Recap of Esther ch. 2: After the king had calmed down from his anger and hot-headedness, he realized the extent of what he had done to Queen Vashti. Of course, King Ahasuerus took more advice from his officials again, but this time, they suggest for all beautiful, young virgins to come to the palace and be under the care of the official. Then, whoever pleases the king shall take the place of Queen Vashti.
Look, we are not hear to make light of this subject of presenting new young virgins to the king. This is a terrfying thing. The king did not give the women a choice: it’s known that they were possibly taken without any choice or say in the matter. And, the king, from history, was possibly in his forties. Not a very good situation. This was the world they all lived in at the time, and as we can see, it is brutal. Just remember this context as you keep reading about Esther coming into the story.
Mordecai, a Jew, lived in Susa close to the king’s palace and was raising Hadassah (Esther), his late cousin’s daughter because she was an orphan. And she was beautiful. We don’t know exactly what she did or the struggles she has been through, but Mordecai brought her to the palace when the officials were calling for all young, beautiful virgins for the king.
All of the women were required to go through a lengthy process of beautification, up to one year – 6 months with oil of myrrh and 6 months of spices & ointments. Esther, during all that time, won favor with everyone she encountered. After that time for beautification, each of the seven women chosen, including Esther, had one night with King Ahasuerus. Unless the king liked her and called her back by name, the women would not see the king again.
We do not know what happened in each of their one night with the king, we can assure you, again, it may not have been a choice of theirs. Each woman had to do what the king wanted and what pleased him.
“When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch, who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace…the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set his royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.” Esther 2:15-18 (ESV)
It wasn’t an accident that the king only chose Esther because she was the best. God was in part of the whole plan. Everything that Esther went through in her early childhood has led her to this: becoming Queen. God made sure that Esther would win favor from everyone, even the king. I cannot picture Esther as spoiled, unkind, and unloving. She lived with such grace, courage, integrity, and faith even in the midst of the Persian palace with the king himself.
For the king to love her immediately, I picture Esther being kind hearted, giving, a good listener, patient, and wise with her words and actions. I think Esther’s kindness and grace impressed King Ahasuerus so much that she inspired him to be gracious when he granted a remission of the taxes and gave generous gifts, possibly soon after they were married. God had His Hand over every aspect of King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther’s life.
“God chose Esther to become queen long before King Ahasuerus first met her.”
A Noble Act Doesn’t Go Unnoticed In God’s Eyes
Mordecai, at the king’s gate, told Esther not to speak of who her people are, Jews, and she obeyed him just as she obeyed him when she was young. While Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, he uncovered something.
“…Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.” Esther 2:21-23 (ESV)
Because Mordecai knew Esther and she was queen, they were able to catch the men before they did anything to harm the king. A noble act from Mordecai, but as you see, it wasn’t celebrated or acknowledged other than being recorded in the book of chronicles. Mordecai saved the king from harm and nothing was really done to thank him for it.
Have you ever done something or served somewhere but you weren’t acknowledged or thanked by the person directly? Don’t worry about those things because if you did those things from the heart and not selfish intentions or reasons, God will bless you in His own time whether here on earth or in heaven.
Questions & Application
We will be doing a short recap of what we just learned from our bible study of Esther & through the rest of each Simple Bible Study on Esther blog posts. This is a way of bringing the Word to life and to truly apply His Word into your day-to-day walk.
1. Are you displaying or showing off your possessions, things, or people?
Pray about this as you go along with your week and let God reveal your heart.
2. Are you easily angered? Hot-headed? Do you do or say things in the heat of the moment that you later regret?
Pray for forgiveness and ask God for guidance to a place of healing and being kind in the heat of the moments
Ask for forgiveness to people that you’ve hurt when you were angry or hot-headed, even if they don’t accept your apology.
3. Are you trusting God’s plan for your life even when you’re struggling?
This is a big one for many people, including us. Each of us have a purpose & a God-given mission in their life, but we can quickly be overwhelmed with fear and worry on what to do. We have to decide to trust God through it all and allow Him to guide you on the path that you are on, even when you are struggling. He is always here for you. (see Psalm 119:105)
4. Have you feel like you have done something great or served without being noticed or acknowledged?
Pray to God to reveal your heart’s true intentions. Praise God because He sees all that you do and doesn’t go unnoticed in His eyes. We live to please God, not man or even ourselves. (see Colossians 3:23-24)
We hope and pray that this Esther – Simple Bible Study will inspire you to study and meditate on the Bible even more – it’s all about taking notes, being open to the insights of the Holy Spirit in your mind, your soul, and your heart, and being faithful. But, you have to make the decision to try by opening the Bible and reading it, and ask the Holy Spirit for fresh insights and understanding!
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,