Friday, October 08, 2010

Esther 4 - An Impossible Call

Bible study: The Book of Esther


This week, in Esther 4, we studied the pivotal point in Esther's life, and how God used a huge crisis to turn her, and her people, in the direction He wanted.

Mordecai heard the edict Haman concocted and he hit the streets in sackcloth and ashes—not the kind of clothing he could wear inside the king's gate, so he parked himself in front of it and wailed. But it wasn't just Mordecai wailing. It was all the Jews. Can you imagine the sound? Loud, anguished wailing. Truly a haunting and gut-wrenching sound. Do you remember when this took place? During Passover—a time that should have been a happy time for God's people.

When Esther heard Mordecai was in mourning, after her initial anguish, she sent clothes to Mordecai. After all, Esther's life in the palace was all based on appearances. But God was calling her to more. He was calling her to a life of transparency and honesty, even though it could cost her her life. And look where she was: 30 days after her last visit with her husband. 30 days too late to be able to talk with the king about it.

Through their messenger, Mordecai made sure Esther understood what was going on and let her know that she had to deal with the problem, that she couldn't ignore and expect to be exempt from the edict because she was in the palace. He knew that relief and deliverance would come for his people, with or without Esther. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?
The hard truth of Mordecai's exhortation to Esther also applies to us. We can refuse to walk in obedience to God or cower in fear from our calling and He will undoubtedly still accomplish His agenda. As for us, however, we will pass up the fulfillment of our own entire life-purpose and we—and perhaps even “our father's family”—will miss a mighty work. ~Beth Moore

Esther 4 mirrors Joel 2:12-17 in many ways, and look what God wrote in Joel before the Jews ever landed in Persia:
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.” Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him... Blow a trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation... and let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not make Your inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, 'Where is their God?'”

Esther had a choice: listen to Mordecai, obey and possibly die, or ignore the call and die. What a choice! Look what she did: she followed the path Joel pointed them down. The path of seeking God and His way. Esther faced her fear and did not let it manipulate her.
Courage is when you look in the face of your fear and you don't deny it, you deny it's authority over you.~Beth Moore
The most common command in Scripture is Do not be afraid! God knows how fearful we can be and many times Jesus said Take courage. I Am with you! He didn't say He'd take us out of the situation, He promised to be with us—but we need to TAKE the courage He offers us. It will always be possible to be brave because God is with us.

This week in our study of Esther chapter 5 be on the look-out for this week's scenario: It's tough being a woman in the tight fist of fear. Conditional trust in God will leave us in the tight fist of fear, but we can say, “If this thing happens to me, then God will take care of me.”

If you have the audios or the videos of this study, listen to or watch Session 4: If You Remain Silent. 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 104 & 105 in the workbook.

How about you?
**Have you tried to dress up a problem to make it seem better? Or have you tried to fix a problem by making it appear better?

**Have you ever felt like God's timing is all wrong and that the call came at the worse time possible? If you have, then you're not alone. That's how Esther felt, too.

**Has God called you to a task that you feel is far too much to even ask? That it would reveal too much of what you've carefully tucked away in a safe corner of your heart? Maybe you went through those things for such a time as this.

Remember, there's nobody in our lives that is a bigger obstacle in the fulfillment of our calling than we ourselves. 
What are you going to choose?

3 comments:

  1. Patty, I wish I were one of the fortunate ones to be in your Bible study. You applications are so timely and convicting.
    “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not make Your inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, 'Where is their God?'”
    should be our daily prayer.
    Wonderful lesson.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Nancy, the girls laugh themselves silly at me sometimes because I'm such a ditz! LoL

    I'm learning SO much from the lessons and from the girls at study--they're a GREAT group and I LOVE their insights. God's blessed me tremendously with them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the story of Esther. SO much to be gleaned and incorporated into our lives.
    Because of a turbulent childhood, boy do I ever try to dress up problems. It's an on going struggle to trust God with the details and walk in faith.
    Another great week Patty!! Blessings!!
    Sorry I'm late we where out of town a couple of days!

    ReplyDelete

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