Esther: Maintaining Peace (Part 4 of 4) – Simple Bible Study
Since this is part 4 of 4 of Esther, we wanted to do something different to end this Bible study well. We will briefly go over the last three chapters but not as in detail as we have been the last three weeks with you. To start off, we felt led to begin with a prayer.
Prayer: God, I pray that we are truly intentional, not just to these four parts of Esther of the Simple Bible Study, but ALL the time. Whether we see someone at the store or restaurant who has hurt us in the past, or haven’t talked to in a while, let’s be intentional and not avoid them but rather be the light. Whether the temptations that held you back from God come back again to destroy you, let’s be intentional to not fall back to old patterns but hold fast to Your Word and Your loving embrace.
Whether it’s to turn away from the lies we believed about ourselves and look to Your Truth of our purpose and worth in Your Eyes. Each and every day that we wake up, I pray that we run to you first with joy in our hearts and with purpose in our steps. I pray that each week of Esther and every week after that, you truly change us, mold us, and fit us into who you created us to be for Your Kingdom. AMEN.
Now, let’s go over part 4, the last part of the Esther Bible Study. Let’s get into it!
Esther Part 4: MAINTAINING PEACE (read chapters 8 – 10)
Being Loyal and Faithful
Recap of Esther ch. 8: It seems that all is now well in King Ahasuerus’s kingdom and Esther’s people are saved. But, there is still much work to be done because remember, Haman passed a decree stating all Jews are to be killed and destroyed and plundered of their goods.
“And the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.” Esther 8:2 ESV
Wow, just wow. A complete turn-around! What seemed so hopeless and lost became victorious and so good! Mordecai took himself to such a humble position of serving the king by staying loyal at the gates, and because of his integrity and faith, he ended up being one of the most trusted advisors for the king.
This is something that we sometimes don’t see nowadays in this world. Some people get all the credit or the position that maybe someone else should have gotten or rightfully deserved. But, this is a purposeful ending from God in the book of Esther. So, why am I focused on this? Because being exalted and honored on earth isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters is that you have already won true favor and “signet ring” from God Almighty who calls you His precious child.
So I say this to you: don’t let your only focus be the most successful person or have high honor or position, because that is not what Mordecai did. He was honored by the king because of his integrity, loyalty, faithfulness, and love. His focus was never “When is it my turn?”.
Because the truth is, we may never get to be honored, we may never get the apology we have waited for, we may never be recognized or get the credit. But, you, you still have worth, you are still loved, you are still treasured regardless by the One True God.
Called to Fight
Esther then asked for the king to send orders to change the decree of which Haman sent out to destroy all Jews. And the king said that in his name, Queen Esther and Mordecai may do what pleased them in regards to the Jews. What?? The king let them change the orders themselves of saving the Jews!
“The king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed forces of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, on one day throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus…” Esther 8:11-12 ESV
The people who are enemies of the Jews have the upper hand, the ultimate victory. If anyone tries to attack them or destroy them, they have the right to fight back and destroy them back. God doesn’t leave. Nor forsake. He is going to fight for you. He will conquer whatever struggles you are going through right now.
No matter how hopeless things get. No matter what the enemy says. No matter what you have witnessed in your life. In the end, God and His people are victorious over every small and big struggle on earth.
No, we are not saying to destroy everyone in your path that tries to hurt you. Remember who the true enemy is…Satan. Not your frenemy, your neighbor, your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, or people who tried or have harmed you. The enemy is at hand behind all the deceptions, hurts, harsh words, bullying, persecutions, and harms.
Please don’t cower or hide in fear. God has never said go hide or not to do anything. Queen Esther stepped out in faith because she was led to fight to save her people. Imagine just how different the world would be if we all step out in faith when called by God? We don’t have to be afraid, for God is with us every step of the way. So, just as the Jews are called to fight against anyone trying to hurt them, we are called to fight against the powers of darkness and the tricks of Satan.
Fine Line Between Defense and Offense
Recap of Esther ch. 9: The day finally came for the Jews to fight back against all their enemies. What seemed hopeless and all peace gone in the past, it is all restored back into the hands of the Jews.
“…on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all people.” Esther 9:1-2 ESV
Okay, let’s focus on some of the words here. The “reverse” happened, meaning that the Jews had the upper hand over their enemies, over the ones “who hated them”. And no one can be “against” the Jews because the king himself sealed the decree with his signet ring that he gave to Queen Esther and Mordecai.
However, they only sought their hands on the ones who meant them “harm”, no innocent people. No killing someone “just because”. Only enemies. This decree is not meant to kill those who have not intentionally tried to harm the Jews.
There may come a day when you are wrongfully treated, ignored, stabbed behind your back, pushed away, uninvited, or harmed. Although it is very much different in the case of the Jews, how they chose to react, however, is the same for us. We have an ultimate choice: to just keep fighting back as much as you can or choose to reach lovingly.
What we are trying to get across is that we believe we are called by God to fight when it’s time to fight or fight for those who can’t defend themselves; however, there is a fine line between defending and fighting so much that you cannot take a breath or take a step back on what you are really doing.
The innocent people were not harmed or attacked. The Jews only meant to defend themselves and only let their rage go towards their enemies and attackers. The Jews were on the defensive side, not the offensive side. This is a true example which we should follow in the world today. We aren’t called to attack, state our opinions “just because”, or go out of our way to make sure someone is truly hurt or harmed even if they did you harm. What I am trying to explain is there is a balance to this. We will be blunt, we are not called to be ugly, “throwing shade”, be passive-aggressive, or intentionally hurt someone that is not your true enemy.
“And Esther said, ‘If it pleases the king, let the Jews who are in Susa be allowed tomorrow also to do according to this day’s edict. And let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows.” Esther 9:13 ESV
Sometimes, for the enemies to truly understand and not try to hurt anymore, things need to be done a second time. Queen Esther here explained that the decree for the Jews to defend themselves from their enemies be done again the next day in the same guidelines applied as the first time. For the ten sons of Haman being hanged, this is another example to the enemies of the Jews to showcase the true leaders in the kingdom of Ahasuerus.
It is just like with the world today and in our communities surrounding us, people need to be told or shown more than once to get the point or idea across. God does this with us. When we are called by God, do we really answer the first time and run to His purpose for us? No we don’t. We doubt. We falter. We stumble and we fall. This is why God calls us again and again. This is what happened in the book of Esther; Queen Esther has called for the decree for the Jews to happen again the next day to show the enemies who the real Victorious One, God.
“For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur (that is, cast lots), to crush and to destroy them. But when it came before the king, he gave orders in writing that his evil plan that he had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Therefore, they called these day Purim, after the term Pur.
Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.”
-Esther 9:24-28 ESV
We have to do what they did. They remembered all that had happened to them. All that COULD have happened but didn’t. They were saved, not just by Queen Esther, Mordecai, or even the king himself, but by God. He was watching this whole time and He Himself put everyone in their rightful position in order for His people to be saved. Remember God, remember the days that He pulled you out of the pit, when He saved you from going under and drowning in the water. Remember God’s goodness. Remember to give thanks to Him, all the time. Constantly. Continuously. Daily. Day and night.
Giving & Maintaining Peace
Chapter 10 of Esther is fairly short, so there is no need for a recap, but I will share one of the best verse from chapter 10 that sums up Mordecai and the book of Esther as a whole:
“For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and was popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.” Esther 10:3 ESV
Wow, it seems like the last chapter was just so relaxing and calming because the evil person was dead and they stopped their evil plan. Reading chapter 10 felt like a breath of fresh air.
God called us to be peaceful with people. ALL people. Let’s make peace with people who we haven’t spoken to in awhile. Let’s make peace with our frenemies. Let us not just show or speak peace but to think peace. You are wondering what I mean by that? Truly think peace about people. Don’t think, “Okay, God, get them back or let them have a taste of their own medicine.” of people who have wronged you. Truly think peace of all people. It’s like what Psalm says, “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (34:14)
Recap & Application:
1. Are you wholly faithful to God and all that He commands you to do? Or do you give up too easily when things seem so bleak, hopeless, and lost?
Pray to look to God as your hope when things seem hopeless, look to God as the light when things seem too dark and you don’t know which way to go. Dedicate your life to Him, grow your faith in Jesus.
2. Are you fighting back when God has called you to fight and defend those who cannot defend themselves?
Pray for your fears to be relieved and to step out with courage and faith in your heart and soul. And if you cannot fight physically, fight by praying. Pray for the lost people in the world. Pray for the enemies to be defeated whether close to home or in the darkest parts in the world. You can find ways to contribute by donating, volunteering, and, of course, praying.
3. Are you fighting offensively or defensively? Are you choosing (at the appropriate, right times) to show love and kindness to people who have wronged you?
This is a hard one. You have to choose to do the hard thing and reevaluate yourself on all the things that you have done or said to people recently. If you are not liking it, then chances are you have to change how you are treating people. Now, don’t try to justify your actions or words, because I know we have done that many times before, but truly understand from a different perspective of how your actions or words have affected people and where you are at in your relationships with other people.
4. Are you taking the time to remember God?
Now, it is kind of selfish if you don’t remember God during your good, blessed days. We recently were at a Bible study and one of our good friends led it. She was sharing how she was challenged to see Jesus in every moment of her life. And, she made a good point: how horrible are we if we do not take the time to remember and thank God for all the blessings in our lives.
Now, I am not saying that you have to only reference God in every single breath, but be sure to dedicate specific times in your day, like your commute or during your lunch hour. Get creative and use the time that you have already – we have to make the time to remember God.
And, truly give thanks to Him who has saved you from powers of darkness and for leading you to the light of His purpose for you.
5. Are you speaking, showing, and thinking peace to all people?
It is really from the matters in your heart. To really find out, check to hear yourself speak with the words that you say when you react to something happening to you. This is an area in which was revealed to me by God that I need to improve on. How? By praying a humble prayer. To admit that you’re wrong. To reveal where you need to work on.
Throughout the whole book of Esther, they fought for peace, both Esther and Mordecai, to save their people. But, sometimes pursuing peace is not easy but you have to fight for it with God on your side.
Well, this is the end of the Esther Bible Study (part 4). But, don’t worry, we will do more Bible studies soon on the blog and on The Simple Mission Podcast (head over here if you haven’t listened or subscribed to it yet).
Please share where you can on the Esther Bible Studies if you so enjoyed them – you never know if someone you know might be reached!
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,