Esther and a Time Like This (part 1)

“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14 NKJV

Yes – God’s sovereignty! Although God is never mentioned (and neither is the word prayer) His planning, timing and purpose are all over this story and these Jews (who were not even obedient Jews – until things got scary then they call upon God).  God uses whoever He wants to use. So chose to be a willing vessel.  And of course God made us for a time such as this! We can handle it, we were made for it – and we are equipped for it.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Esther, chapters 1-5 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). Besides fitting in our chronological Bible reading here – let me tell you a bit more about when this story fits into history.

We remember Babylon and Daniel there and when Babylon fell to the Persians – and Daniel was then working for King Darius and the lion’s den happened and all of that? Yes we remember? It was last week.  So Daniel grew old and passed away – King Darius attacked Greece, failed and then a few years later passed away. His son King Xerxes took over.

This king went back after the Greeks, after dealing with a few minor uprisings.  The story of the 300 Spartan fighting the massive army of Persia played out – historians believe Xerxes army was much smaller than historically stated and there is proof that Greeks, Thespians, and other surrounding people all helped at the historic battle so there were more than 300.

Any way the Persian eventually go home after a few more conquests.  King Xerxes has something to prove now – He has been king for 3 years and a lot happened – yet they have nothing to show for it and He needs to show His people He is a successful king.  So he throws himself a heck of a party that lasts 6 months and in the end he divorced His wife in a drunken fit and finds himself alone and depressed. The same advisers who advised him to divorce his wife now tell him to have a beauty pageant to pick the next queen. And that gives us what happened before through the events of chapter one and a couple verses of chapter 2 – but read it for yourself!

So – let’s get back to that famous verse from Esther. I usually avoid giving commentary of such commonly used verses. However, China is occupying our old military base in Afghanistan, And the US has refused promised help to Israel.  Will God permit the US to withhold help without judgment? You think it is a coincidence China secured a key base location the same day and the stories both broke within minutes of each other.

The other night in prayer – I felt the Lord say my people did not repent.  Even in Esther they waited until their lives were at risk failing to see that their lives were always at risk! Repent in order that our land will be saved – it might be too late – BUT COME ON PEOPLE LET’S TRY ANYWAY!!!

It is time to prepare – unless God changes something we are on a course of destruction.  Millions will be without jobs! The markets will crash (China’s already has and their only hope of getting out is a military action).  What will our nations look like with a shortage of doctors, nurses, first responders, etc. In the United States there is already a shortage of school bus drivers and the military has stepped in to drive the children.  But people think it is just a staffing shortage. It is not.

Open our eyes Lord to see the spirit world. Let us understand the chaos that is about to overrun us.  Is it too late for civil disobedience and “let’s do something”? It is great idea in the flesh, but we battle NOT against flesh.  Look past it. Can we stop the birth pangs of the prophesies of this time?

We are under grace – but this grace is dwindling and if you do not have the faith to back it, will you remain?  Tough questions – be we really need to ask ourselves these things.

I offered my testimony to the Religious Liberty Collision – they are working with people who are losing their jobs now.  I look back at my job loss and it is not inaccurate to say that one of the many reasons it happened in the complexity and chaos of it all was because I could not serve 2 masters – God and Governor Cuomo. I have no steady income, and a baby business (only a few months old) and faith in God. Last week, I did not earn enough money. I look around to see what in my house I can sell.  I have sold most of it over the years and there isn’t much left. But what I do have – I have GOD. I do have a business. I do have His blessings immaterially on my life. I do have His anointing. I have grace. I have power through Him. I have God.  And I know my God – I know in whom I serve and He is able!! I am persuaded He is able – and even if He doesn’t I will praise Him.
Now is not the time to be a gummy bear watered down Christian! New Christian are just learning and give it all to him and ask for understanding – He loves you enough to send it to you!! But those who have been here awhile better tighten up the ropes – get your hose in order! It is about to go down!!!

What can we do?

Thank you for asking! I have a great answer!

“When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry.  He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.” Est. 4:1-3

FIRST – REPENT – Mordecai ripped his clothes and put on sackcloth (humility) and fasted (repented).

SECOND – Cry out to God, like Mordecai did!!! Only God can save us. Work on your relationship with Him. Get in close enough to know that you know you hear from Him.

THIRD – Tell others like Mordecai did! Tell everyone! Get everyone on board – maybe God will save us? If not they need to know!  We need to be planting seeds – telling other they need to be saved. If you or they are on the fence – let me challenge you this day to choose a side – because luke warm Christians will be spit out! Warn your friends and family. Ask God to open doors for you to tell people at the store and gas station. Tell them how to have their own relationship with God through Christ Jesus!! If you need help, then let me give you a tool you can pull up on your phone app to help you explain it to people. Just pop open this blog and it is a pinned post and it is also in every single post every single day:

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another great verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand!

1 John 4:4 NKJV – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
NAS – “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
ESV – “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
AMP – “Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].”
NIV – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Esther 1-5  NKJV

The King Dethrones Queen Vashti

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus[a] (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia), in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan[b] the [c]citadel, that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants—the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him— when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.

And when these days were completed, the king made a feast lasting seven days for all the people who were present in [d]Shushan the [e]citadel, from great to small, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace. There were white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turquoise, and white and black marble. And they served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the [f]generosity of the king. In accordance with the law, the drinking was not compulsory; for so the king had ordered all the officers of his household, that they should do according to each man’s pleasure.

Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.

10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.

13 Then the king said to the wise men who understood the times (for this was the king’s manner toward all who knew law and justice, 14 those closest to him being Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who had access to the king’s presence, and who [g]ranked highest in the kingdom): 15 “What shall we do to Queen Vashti, according to law, because she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus brought to her by the eunuchs?”

16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes: “Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but also all the princes, and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s behavior will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, when they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.’ 18 This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media will say to all the king’s officials that they have heard of the behavior of the queen. Thus there will be excessive contempt and wrath. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal [h]decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not [i]be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20 When the king’s decree which he will make is proclaimed throughout all his empire (for it is great), all wives will honor their husbands, both great and small.”

21 And the reply pleased the king and the princes, and the king did according to the word of Memucan. 22 Then he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, to each province in its own script, and to every people in their own language, that each man should be master in his own house, and speak in the language of his own people.

Esther Becomes Queen

After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s servants who attended him said: “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king; and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather all the beautiful young virgins to [j]Shushan the [k]citadel, into the women’s quarters, under the custody of [l]Hegai the king’s eunuch, custodian of the women. And let beauty preparations be given them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.”

This thing pleased the king, and he did so.

In [m]Shushan the [n]citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Kish[o] had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with [p]Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away. And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

So it was, when the king’s command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at [q]Shushan the [r]citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides [s]her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women.

10 Esther had not [t]revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it. 11 And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her.

12 Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women. 13 Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she went, and in the morning she returned to the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who kept the concubines. She would not go in to the king again unless the king delighted in her and called for her by name.

15 Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. 16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. 17 The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 Then the king made a great feast, the Feast of Esther, for all his officials and servants; and he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and gave gifts according to the [u]generosity of a king.

Mordecai Discovers a Plot

19 When virgins were gathered together a second time, Mordecai sat within the king’s gate. 20 Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him.

21 In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, [v]Bigthan and Teresh, doorkeepers, became furious and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 So the matter became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name. 23 And when an inquiry was made into the matter, it was confirmed, and both were hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.

Haman’s Conspiracy Against the Jews

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. Then the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?” Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told it to Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand; for Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.

In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman [w]to determine the day and the [x]month, [y]until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.

Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.”

10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, “The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you.”

12 Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded—to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 13 And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their [z]possessions. 14 A copy of the document was to be issued as law in every province, being published for all people, that they should be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out, hastened by the king’s command; and the decree was proclaimed in [aa]Shushan the [ab]citadel. So the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was [ac]perplexed.

Esther Agrees to Help the Jews

When Mordecai learned all that had happened, [ad]he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

So Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her, and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to clothe Mordecai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs whom he had appointed to attend her, and she gave him a command concerning Mordecai, to learn what and why this was. So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square that was in front of the king’s gate. And Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at [ae]Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.

10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 11 “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” 12 So they told Mordecai Esther’s words.

13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in [af]Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded [ag]him.

Esther’s Banquet

Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the [ah]house. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”

So Esther answered, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.”

Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!”

Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and request is this: If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and [ai]fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”

Haman’s Plot Against Mordecai

So Haman went out that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, and that he did not stand or tremble before him, he was filled with indignation against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. 11 Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king.

12 Moreover Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. 13 Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows[aj] be made, [ak]fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.”

And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made.

Footnotes

  1. Esther 1:1 Generally identified with Xerxes I (485–464 b.c.)
  2. Esther 1:2 Or Susa
  3. Esther 1:2 Or fortified palace, and so elsewhere in the book
  4. Esther 1:5 Or Susa
  5. Esther 1:5 palace
  6. Esther 1:7 Lit. hand
  7. Esther 1:14 Lit. sat in first place
  8. Esther 1:19 Lit. word
  9. Esther 1:19 pass away
  10. Esther 2:3 Or Susa
  11. Esther 2:3 palace
  12. Esther 2:3 Heb. Hege
  13. Esther 2:5 Or Susa
  14. Esther 2:5 palace
  15. Esther 2:6 Lit. Who
  16. Esther 2:6 Jehoiachin, 2 Kin. 24:6
  17. Esther 2:8 Or Susa
  18. Esther 2:8 palace
  19. Esther 2:9 Lit. her portions
  20. Esther 2:10 Revealed the identity of
  21. Esther 2:18 Lit. hand
  22. Esther 2:21 Bigthana, Esth. 6:2
  23. Esther 3:7 Lit. from day to day and month to month
  24. Esther 3:7 LXX adds to destroy the people of Mordecai in one day; Vg. adds the nation of the Jews should be destroyed
  25. Esther 3:7 So with MT, Vg.; LXX and the lot fell on the fourteenth of the month
  26. Esther 3:13 LXX adds the text of the letter here
  27. Esther 3:15 Or Susa
  28. Esther 3:15 palace
  29. Esther 3:15 in confusion
  30. Esther 4:1 Lit. Mordecai
  31. Esther 4:8 Or Susa
  32. Esther 4:16 Or Susa
  33. Esther 4:17 LXX adds a prayer of Mordecai here
  34. Esther 5:1 LXX adds many extra details in vv. 12
  35. Esther 5:8 Lit. to do
  36. Esther 5:14 Lit. tree or wood
  37. Esther 5:14 About 75 feet

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