Friday, September 24, 2010

Esther 2 - A Beauty's Beauty

Bible study: The Book of Esther

Recap of Week 2 in Esther: It's Tough Being A Woman.
Did you do the workbook? Wow, but it's good stuff! Be sure you do, if you haven't! Yesterday I posted two short video clips about beauty that helps put it in perspective and ties in so well with our study of Esther. Never Beautiful Enough?

Esther 2 introduces us to two of the main characters: Mordecai and Esther. Last Friday we chatted about them some here, so let's press on. =]

Let's start by stopping and thinking about all Esther has already gone through in her life. She was an orphan and when the king's stewards took her to the citadel for her beauty treatments, she once again lost all she knew. And think about how Mordecai felt. His actions show us a father who deeply loves his (adopted) daughter and misses her and is worried about her.

Do you ever feel like God asks too much from you?

Yet through it all, Esther did not become withdrawn or bitter. One phrase we see 3 times in Esther 2 is that she “found favor” with those around her. That it's mentioned 3 times tells us that it's important. But what does it mean? Beth Moore said this: The Hebrew conveys that Esther pleased Hegai and “gained” or “took” kindness. … Esther neither curled up in a corner and passively received the favor of Hegai nor blended in so thoroughly that his favor would have gotten lost trying to find her. Something actively and openly exuding from her won his favor.

Hegai was the eunuch in charge of all the beautiful young girls before their night with the kings. Her physical beauty would've meant little to him, but her inner beauty captured him, enough that he went out of his way to care for her needs. When Esther went in for her night, Hegai advised her, and she listened to his advice—something we see her doing many times. Something that I think added to her inner beauty and made her stand apart from all the other beautiful girls there with her.

The other person Esther found favor with was King Xerxes. Of all the girls he had access to and could have chosen, he chose her. By the time Esther's night with the king rolls around, 4 years have passed since that initial banquet Xerxes threw to impress and win the princes' and officers' support. During those 4 years he was badly defeated in a few battles with Greece and those defeats seem to have knocked him down quite a bit.

So Esther found favor with the king and was crowned queen. Not only was Xerxes pleased with her, but she found kindness with him, more than all the other girls. The Hebrew word for kindness expresses the kind of graciousness and blessing prompted by close kinship. Even though she was beautiful, her inner beauty shone brightly—even brighter than her physical appearance.

Our culture has strangely confused significance with independence and subservience with weakness.
Esther 2 closes with telling us of how Mordecai saved the king's life and that the king forgot to reward him, as was usually done. If the king had not forgotten, we might not have the book of Esther in the Bible! One of the rewards that was customarily given was an exemption from taxes and from bowing down in homage to others.
Sometimes providence can be defined as times when God trumps your perfectly good plan with one of His own...then seems to disappear from it. Take heart, Beloved! He's right there and He's there right!

This week we're on to chapter 3 and our scenario is “It's tough being a woman in a mean world.”
If you have the audios or the videos of this study, listen to or watch Session 3: A Raging Passion for Honor. If you don't have them, you can download this week's audio here for $3.99 and the video here for $4.99. These are optional. If you do not have the audio or the video, you can find the Viewer Guide answers here. This week's viewer guide is on pages 58 & 59 in the workbook.

Let's think back through Israelite history for a moment...
The Amalekites were the ones King Saul (a relative of Mordecai's!) was supposed to utterly destroy, but he didn't (1 Samuel 15:10-23, 30). They were the ones who raided Israel in Gideon's time. They'd wait until the Israelites had done all the work and the crops were ripe then swoop in and steal them (Judges 6:3-5). AND they were the ones who attacked Israel from behind, where the weak stragglers were after they had been freed from Egypt (Deut. 25:17-19). The Amalekites were their wilderness enemies. And Haman was an Amalekite.

We have Amalekites in our lives today. Wilderness enemies waiting to attack us in our weak times.
The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation. ~Exodus 17:6 NIV
God will fight the Amalekites (and the Hamans) in our lives. Leave it to Him! Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is ine, I will repay,” says the Lord. ~Romans 12:19 NAS

But it's not only the world that's mean. Sometimes that meanness is right here inside ourselves! Meanness raises its ugly head when we feel threatened. So when that mean girl inside you starts shrieking, stop and look around to see what's making you feel threatened, and why. Once we're aware of it, we can deal with it more effectively. Meanness comes from insecurity and insecurity comes from pride. And pride needs to be confessed because pride is sin and pride is the root of meanness.

As we tackle Week 3 in Esther: It's Tough Being A Woman, keep this week's scenario in mind: “It's tough being a woman in a MEAN world.”

So tell me...
**What were some of the things you noticed about Esther as you studied her?
**What impact do you think Xerxes hunt for a queen had on the kingdom?
**How can we, as modern women, find favor with those around us?
**What can we learn about true beauty from Esther?

Don't forget to check out Never Beautiful Enough?

3 comments:

  1. Great post!

    I noticed Esther gave thought to her actions. I'm not sure if that was Mordecai's influence but she never flew off the handle and worked off the cuff. She was a prayerful, deliberate girl.

    Esther also was beautiful because of her inner beauty. She didn't take on any self entitlement because of her beauty, something I see a lot in our celebrity culture.

    I'm thinking the kingdom was just abuzz during the hunt. Chatting up why one queen was gone and who would the next be.

    There is a lot to learn from her!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not doing the study, but Esther's subservience to Mordechai has always humbled me. She is so a woman to be modeled.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm with Julie! I think the gossip chains were mighty busy!

    Esther was beautiful in person and character. But she was also courageous and wise. When we have the faith and courage God will work miracles.

    I agree with Joanne, "Esther's subservience to Mordechai has always humbled me."

    A powerful woman of God worthy to be emulated!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by! I love hearing from you.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Fonts from:

Fan of kevinandamanda.com! Free Fonts. Recipes. Scrapbooking. Photography. Blog Design. Tutorials. Giveaway. Everything you're into!

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009. Design expanded and personalized by PattyWysong.com 2011.

Back to TOP