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God wants to work through you

By Belina Sithole

The book of Esther shows that God works through people to fulfil his purpose for our lives:

·God gave Esther the gift of beauty, and this gift allowed Esther to find favour in the eyes of the King

·God used Mordecai to save the King’s life from the guards who were plotting to assassinate him

·God used the palace servant who was reading to the King to bring Mordecai’s kind actions to the King’s knowledge

·God used Esther and the King to bring proud Haman down. Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall

·God used the King to save Mordecai’s life from Haman’s plot

·God used Esther, the King and Mordecai to save the Jews from their enemies

We also learn that it is important to be wise and humble in all situations, continue to do God’s work and he will lift you up in due time.

Esther 10:3 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.

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God Saves and Rescues

By Belina Sithole

Esther 9:1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned, and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.

God lifted Mordecai from a man that used to sit outside the palace gate to a powerful man that was in a position to write decrees in the name of the King and write orders to protect his people. Mordecai was loyal to his King by saving his life from the guards that was plotting against him, and in turn, the King saved Mordecai’s life from Haman’s plot.

God saves and rescues us from trouble and situations that we are not even aware of.

Esther 9:4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.

Esther 9:29 – 30 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. 30And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance.

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Favour

By Belina Sithole

The King and Haman were at the second day of queen Esther’s banquet when the kings asked again what Esther’s request was, to which she finally answered:
 

Esther 7:3 “If I have found favour with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. 4For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.

Esther was the queen but even she had to be humble before the king and phrase her request in a way that didn’t come across entitled. The king loved her so much that he was willing to give her anything, but Esther was wise enough to not take this love for granted.

It’s easy to feel entitled and expect special treatment in some situations but we can see that humility goes a long way.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Esther clearly had found favour before the King, in Chapter 5 we saw that she went before the king without being summoned which is punishable by death but he allowed her to see him, and here she phrases her request in a flattering and polite way.

The king was furious to hear Haman’s plans and he had Haman killed on the same pole he had set up for Mordecai.

Esther 7: 9 Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.” The king said, “Impale him on it!” 10So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.

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Discern the time

By Hannah Ng’uni

‘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 fulfil 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.” Esther 5:7-8

On the third day of the fast, dressed in royal robes, Queen Esther went into the inner court and appeared before the king. Remember one was permitted to go there uninvited (Esther 4:11). This was a courageous. It is no coincidence that she summoned up the courage on the last day of the fast, I believe God directed her and gave her the assurance that she would be protected.

Queen Esther found favour in the sight of the king (Esther 5 vs 2), he did not hesitate to extend his welcome and offer, twice, to grant her request whatever it would be (vs.3 and 6). It seemed like Esther was hesitant to mention the request at the first banquet. You would think with the pressure she was under, as the only hope for her peoples’ deliverance, that she would have immediately said it. But I believe Esther was operating in wisdom and being attentive to God’s direction regarding the right time. God had a plan but it was Esther’s part to trust in His timing and be willing to obey.

The Bible says there is a time for every matter, and it takes wisdom to discern that right time (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6). Sometimes we may have our own agenda or life plan mapped out with times allocated for when we would like something to happen. No, there is nothing wrong with planning ahead and setting smart goals, that is great. The point is there may be certain decisions we need to make with the guidance from the Lord. Like Esther, sometimes it may take setting aside some time to fast and pray. Ephesians 5:15-17 says we should be wise, make the most of every opportunity and understand the will of God.

So, let us seek the Lord’s wisdom to discern the time because He knows the end from the beginning and accomplishes His purpose.

‘declaring the end from the beginning

    and from ancient times things not yet done,

saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

    and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ Isaiah 46:10 (ESV)

For this weeks bible study guide

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Inner beauty

By Hannah Ng’uni

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. Esther 2:17

In chapter 2, we meet Esther, a lovely and beautiful young Jewish woman. An orphan raised by her cousin Mordecai as his own daughter.

Some years after Vashti was dethroned, King Ahasuerus’ servants felt it was time for him to find a queen, a decree went out to all provinces in his kingdom for young beautiful virgins to gather at the palace under a custodian of women Hegai. Esther was taken to the palace and something about her stood out to Hegai, she found favour and received preferential treatment including everything she needed for the 12 months of beauty preparations before meeting the king. When it was her turn to meet the king, Esther she did not request any special jewellery or clothes like the others and kept to what she was advised. The king fell in love immediately and wasted no time in crowing her Queen Esther.

Esther’s humble heart and grace in this chapter that set her apart, it is no wonder she found favour in the sight of all who saw her (vs. 15). She was humble enough to follow Hegai’s instructions during the preparations, 12 months may have sounded like a long time to spend preparing just to meet the king for one night but I believe this was more than just a physical but also a spiritual preparation. Do no negate your time of preparation, there is always a due time (1 Peter 5:6).

Esther was also wise enough to obey Mordecai’s guidance not to reveal she was a Jew just yet for her protection. There was also an element of faith in God and trusting in His timing as the events in her life unfolded, we will explore this further on day 4.

In this chapter, we see that beyond a physical beauty, was an inner beauty of the heart more pleasing to God.

‘Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God’. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Before you ask, no there is nothing wrong with taking care of your outward appearance but what is more precious to God is a gentle and gracious spirit. Let what is admired about you be the condition of your heart, a heart after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

What do you learn from this chapter? Feel free to comment, would love to hear from you.

For this weeks study guide click the link below