ESTHER – 10 Points for Bible Study

10 Study Points for Bible Study of Esther

Esther’s Relationship with Xerxes

Xerxes in search of a Queen:

1-  2:3 Let the King appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful girls into the harem at the citadel of Susa.
**NIV note 2:3 Parallel to the Joseph story of Israelite commoners rising to prominence and saving their people
2-  2:8 Esther was also taken to the King’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.
**NIV note Neither she nor Mordecai had any choice in the matter.
** Ruth & Esther Life Change note p.98 Probably not forced but to refuse the summons would have meant death**
3- 2:17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
**Ruth & Esther Life Change note p.98 Favor or hesed was a reminder to Jewish readers of the divine hesed toward Esther and her people.

Esther’s Relationship to Mordecai

Family:
4-  2:7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.
Obedience:
5-  2:20 But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.
Loyalty:
6-  2:22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.
Strong Influence:
7-  4:14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.
**NIV Note 4:14 Mordecai’s knowledge of God’s fulfillment of his promise to the Jews, his continued knowledge that there are consequences if one does not fulfill one’s own responsibilities and his wondering if God put Esther this influential position of queen to save their people.

Esther’s Relationship with God

Fasting:
8- 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law.  And if I perish, I perish.
( Esther’s reply to Mordecai)
**Note NIV 4:16   Prayer usually accompanies fasting and presumably was a part of this fast.  Though God is not mentioned specifically in this whole narrative, God is who is orchestrating and directing all that occurs.
**Esther states a similar comment as Israel in Ge 43:14 If I am bereaved, I am bereaved. It is in God’s hand what happens to all us.

Devine Providence or Co-incidence

9-
a) 5:2 When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.
Note 5:2 NIV
b)  6:10 “Go at once”, the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse  and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”
Note 6:1 NIV
c) 7:8 The  king exclaimed, “Will he (Haman) even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?”  
d) 7:10 So they hung Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
Esther’s Legacy / The feast of Purim
10-
a) 9:31 to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to the times of fasting and lamentation.
 The 2 day celebration of Purim illustrates God’s sovereignty and fulfillment of his promise, preventing the annihilation of his people using commoners Esther and Mordecai who rose to prominence during the reign of a Persian king.
Sources:
1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995 (All scriptures, Footnotes)
2. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups,
Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan 1999
3. Ruth & Esther Life Change Series
Navpress, The Navigators 1987

 

 

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HULDAH – 10 Points for Bible Study on November 7, 2015

  1. Huldah – her name means weasel. (2, pg 135)
  2. Huldah was trusted by the King and her word generated a significant religious reform. (2, pg 135)
  3. Huldah, a prophetess, was the wife of Shallum, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the 2nd District, probably located in a newly developed area between the 1st and 2nd walls in the northeast part. (1, 2 Kings 22:14)
  4. Huldah was one of four Old Testament prophetesses – Miriam, Aaron’s sister and Deborah, wife of Lappidoth. (1, Ex 15:20; Jdg 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14)
  5. Huldah had been sought out by King Josiah’s messengers including Hilkiah, the high priest to inquire of the Lord what was written in the Book of the Law. (1, 2 Kings 22:14) The Book of Law was discovered in the temple during the reign of Josiah and was probably made of papyrus. (2, pg 136)
  6. Huldah told them what the Lord, the God of Israel said and told them to tell the man who sent them. (1, 2 Kings 22:15-16)
  7. Huldah emphasized the words of judgment Josiah had already read in the Book of Law. (2, pg 136; 1. 2 Kings 22:16)
  8. Huldah reported that the Lord would give a reprieve to Josiah because of his sorrow for the sins of his people and when Josiah died he would be buried in peace and not see the disaster God would bring on Jerusalem. (1, 2 Kings 22:19-20; 2, pg 136)
  9. Once again, God has shown his faithfulness, his divine judgment and his divine willingness to forgive. (2, pg 136)
  10. King Josiah along with all the people from the least to the greatest renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord to obey all that was written in the Book of Law. (1, 2 Chron 34:29-31)

Sources:

1.The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All scriptures, Footnotes}

2. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan 1999

Naomi -10 Points for Bible Study 7/25/2015

For our lesson of Naomi, found in Ruth 1; 4:13-17 and our workbook, Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Groups, by Jean E. Syswerda. The lesson is found on pages 75-78.

  1. Naomi’s name means “My Joy” or Pleasant. (2, page 75)
  2. Naomi’s husband dies while in Moab, Naomi’s sons marry Moabites, Orpah and Ruth. (Ruth 1:3, 4)
  3.  Naomi suffers a threefold tragedy – the death of not only her husband but her 2 sons as well leaving her with 2 young daughter-in-laws who are childless and can not support her. This tragedy creates a childless widow (Naomi) too old to remarry, worthless and empty. (2, page 75; 3, page 22)
  4. After learning that the Lord had come to the aid of his people, Naomi and her daughters in-law prepared to return to Bethlehem. (Ruth 1:6)
  5. Naomi in asking both daughters-in-law to return to their own homes believed she had nothing to offer them. (Ruth1:11 & footnote)
  6. Naomi express her sorrow and seems resigned to what she attributes as the will of God. (Ruth 1:13)
  7.  Upon her return to Bethlehem, Naomi urged she be called “Mara” which means bitter. She has been brought home empty, bitter and filled with misfortune. (Ruth 1:20, 21 & footnote)
  8. Naomi’s transformation was about to begin as her arrival in Bethlehem was also the beginning of the barley harvest. (Ruth 1:22 & NIV Introduction to Ruth)
  9. At the conclusion of the book, Naomi was blessed by God bringing her from emptiness to fullness through the love of Ruth and Boaz.  She adopts their son Obed as her own. (Ruth 4:16 & footnote)
  10. The Baby Obed is Naomi’s go’el (kinsman-redeemer) and through him she will have descendants. (Ruth 4:14, 3, page 50)
**Resources
  1. The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995. (All scriptures, Footnotes & Introduction to Ruth)
  2. Women of the Bible, 52 Bible Studies for Individuals and Group, Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan 1999
  3. Life Change Series, Ruth & Esther, The Navigators, Navpress 1987
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Competence Through Christ – 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

2 Corinthians 3: 4-6 (NIV)

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

One of the many messages that I have received from study of scripture is that as we grow into mature Christians we become as Paul states “ministers of a new covenant”, made competent by God. From this original posting and even up to now, I sometimes feel quite the opposite of competent, very immature and lacking confidence. These negative thoughts and feelings are heightened by the belief systems of others. I read a chapter in a book by Jetola Anderson entitled Presumed Incompetent in which she depicted a black woman wearing a suit getting on a plane who was assumed by some as being the flight attendant.

As a woman and African-American I too have had a large share of other’s assumptions and presumed incompetence. There are times when I do feel confident, valued and competent but what I am learning is that relying on my own skills and talents will only take me so far.  The assumptions that others make about my abilities, the erroneous presumptions by others are also traps that take me away from the real mission. Jetola Anderson suggested surrounding oneself with positive people, uplifting literature and I wholeheartedly agree. To become ministers of this new covenant I have to surround myself with God the Father, Jesus our Lord, and the Holy Spirit and to do this by reading the word of God. It’s here that I am learning that it’s not about my abilities, talents or skills. Boasting, getting or receiving recommendations or praise are not the important factors. Recognizing that my competence comes from God, that the Holy Spirit has enabled me and “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”; Philippians 4:13. My mission is to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.

At my church (Pinellas Community Church), we have a card that I think states how the mission can be put into practice. It reads: “Dear Lord, Today as I go about my everyday life, help me see how my passion, for You can make an impact for good.”

Originally posted June 2010

LUKE 10:41-42 – Bible Verse and Reflection

“Martha, Martha,” The Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

We need to focus on what is important and that is one thing, Jesus Christ. He is instructing us in this Scripture that He is the right choice and nothing else is as important…Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives. And if things don’t work out, take another shot…GodVine.com

Jesus is always available to us. We have to make the right choice to choose Him over all else.

God is…

These are my reflections from the teachings of a sermon series called God is…

Who is God to me and more importantly how can I grow to know him more fully in order to establish and foster a relationship with him.  During our study we looked at scripture to first glean why it is important to God that we know him.

Jeremiah 9:24(NIV) …but let him who boasts boast about this: that he who understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight, declares the Lord.

We can learn who God is by his own words and how he describes himself. In the earlier verse (v.23) he chides us about our own placement of importance on such things as wisdom, strength and riches. We have a tendency to boast about these things and place them high on the list of how we feel about ourselves and our accomplishments. We decide that being smart and having the money to purchase and use the latest smart phone is important. These things have no value to God; they are not important to him. What is important, God declares, is our knowledge and understanding of him, that we know that he is the Lord. He teaches us in his word that our knowing his attributes, what he does for us, his purpose, his love for us – in all of these he delights.

Another scripture we studied in the God is… series was Isaiah 6:1-3 where Isaiah looked upon the Lord and described him seated on a throne with a robe that filled the whole temple. Seraphs or angels called to one another:

Isaiah 6:3 (NIV) Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory.

We learned that triple repetition of the word holy denotes God’s infinite Holiness; a way to exclaim before there were exclamation marks. Holy is defined in Webster’s dictionay as revered, set apart, awed. The majesty, splendor and grandeur of God is described by Isaiah who is so awed and inspired that he answers God’s question to be the one God sends to deliver his message. Will we be so inspired and not run away from the tasks, the challenges that God puts before us? Will we listen and obey; will we run to him and welcome the relationship offered to us. God’s invitation is clear.

We can learn who God is by exploring how God describes himself. This time we looked at scripture where The Lord asks:

                 Isaiah 40:25 (NIV) “To whom will you compare me?”… and in V.28 Isaiah responds “The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.”                 

There is none to compare to him. He can name every star by name; he most assuredly knows who we are and wants us to know who he is. He wants us to understand who he is and to develop a relationship with him.  We are to be in awe of his power and his majesty but we also are to be aware of his love, his kindness and his righteousness provided for us the faithful, obedient people he created. God you truly are Awesome, awesome, awesome to me. You are wonderful and to be praised.