Friday, October 22, 2010

Esther 5 - The Right Time

Bible study: The Book of Esther

Some days are just plain important, and the third day in a fast is one of those days. It's the day that Israel traditionally looked for deliverance (Hosea 6:1-2). Esther had called her people to fast, and it was a drastic fast. But when you're in dire straights, that's what you have to do. On the third day, Esther dressed in her royal robes and went to the king. Not in her neglige. She put on her full queen attire, her power suit. That girl knew how to dress and she dressed for the job she was called to do.
A paramount theme in Esther is what God can do when we resolve to obey and “if I perish I perish.” ~Beth Moore
Esther faced her fear and stepped forward into the the king's court not knowing how he would respond. It took great determination to step into view, but she did it, and when King Xerxes saw her, he saw the queen of Persia. Xerxes extended the golden scepter to her, just as our great and might King does for us. God offers not only extends the scepter of Christ's cross, and God offers us deliverance through that cross. What an image that is to hold on to!

Isn't it interesting that although the king asked Esther what she wished, and gave her almost the equivalent of a blank check, she simply invited him to a private dinner. And Haman, too. Why on earth would Esther invite the man who instigated the massacre of her people? Why didn't she just ask for Haman's head and be done with it?

Remember, the book of Esther paints a picture of God's providence working behind the scenes, even when we can't see Him and think He's nowhere around. The intricacies of God's details are amazing. Haman's presence at that private dinner with the king and queen is one of those intricacies. Esther was ready and in motion, so what held her back when Xerxes asked her a second time? God did. There were still details to work out. Details for Xerxes and Haman.

Esther was seeking deliverance for her people, not personal, or even national revenge. If she were after revenge, she would've asked for Haman's death, but she knew her goal, and revenge wasn't it. Revenge doesn't get you far, but deliverance? Deliverance saves you. If Esther had forced her hand at that first private banquet, the outcome would have been oh-so different because although the timing seemed perfect and the opportunity sure was there, there was something that held Esther back—and she listened to whatever it was. She may have been ready but it was the right time for Xerxes yet. He wasn't ready to hear the man who wore his signet ring—his trusted friend—had decreed his wife's death.

There are times when we think “it's time!” and we want to race ahead through the open door, but we've got to stay tuned in to God and go with God's timing, and often that means we need to wait and keep silent!
Never in our wait is God ever inactive. We've got to trust that if He asks us to wait, God is doing something! ~Beth Moore
Haman left that private banquet with the king and queen of Persia with such a fat head, he probably had a hard time fitting through the king's gate. But he fit. I wonder if seeing Mordecai sitting there, not even standing to his feet this time, helped Haman squeeze through that gate? Haman was so fixated on Mordecai that he was actually in bondage to Mordecai, instead of it being the other way around.

Make no mistake, we serve whatever masters us, and nothing masters us more completely than the person who refuses to bow to our rights, desires, or demands. We become fixated on the one from whom we cannot get what we want. ~Beth Moore

Haman went home, gathered his family and friends and spent the night partying and celebrating his greatness. When he remembered Mordecai, his wife and the others advised him to hang Mordecai high—to disgrace him even after he had been killed. That's pretty drastic for a quick fix! But those kind of fixes usually are.

Thank God Esther did not settle for a quick fix!

A paramount theme in Esther is what God can do when we resolve to obey and “if I perish I perish.” Any time He calls us to die, His purpose is to reveal larger life. ~Beth Moore

Have you resolved to obey God and if you perish you perish? 
Have I?
**Why do you think Esther invited Xerxes and Haman back for a second banquet?
**Are you so fixated on something that it's stealing your joy and holding you in bondage?
**Do you ever give people poor advice just to shut them up so you don't have to listen to them or to put an end to a situation?

7 comments:

  1. Thank you Patty! I really needed this lesson--right now!

    I am going through a situation where I want something to happen now! I say the rights words, It'll happen in God's timing! Then I find myself complaining about the slow progress and other's involved. I've been praying and asking God to help me have patience while waiting for His timing--which is always perfect.

    With another project I've recently stepped out and began obeying God. It's not easy, because within my own thinking I see many, many obstacles.
    Both of these situations are requiring much prayer and time in His word.

    Trusting in God means letting go and giving control to Him!

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  2. Oh Rita! God's timing is SO hard to live sometimes! In the audio session Beth shared a verse that jumped off the page at me, and I've run into since then, too. Surely it's something I need right now!! Here it is:

    "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. THOUGH IT TARRIES, WAIT FOR IT; FOR IT WILL CERTAINLY COME, IT WILL NOT DELAY."

    God's answers and God's time WILL come!

    Love you!!

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  3. I'm right with you Rita, and that's a great sentence, Patty. Had I been in Esther's shoes I fear I would have had the entire Jewish culture exterminated faster than Haman even wanted thanks to my rash words and actions. I learn so much from her waiting and trusting God.

    Thanks Patty!

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  4. So powerful. And I'll say it again. I LOVE this book!

    "Revenge doesn't get you far, but deliverance? Deliverance saves you." This TOTALLY grabbed me.

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  5. I need to go back and catch up--this was so good, Patty.

    My problem, btw, isn't that I wouldn't be willing to perish--I would in a heartbeat. My problem is that it's hard to die a LITTLE to myself in those areas that don't seem monumental. Yet, I know they are.

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  6. Thank you Patty!

    I so needed this verse from your post! I will print it and keep where I can read it often.

    "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. THOUGH IT TARRIES, WAIT FOR IT; FOR IT WILL CERTAINLY COME, IT WILL NOT DELAY."

    I'm with Julie, I would have been trying to take things by storm.
    Lisa, wow you are so on target--it is the dying just a little in many areas of our lives that is so difficult. Surrendering--too often easier said than the actual doing.
    "Revenge doesn't get you far, but deliverance? Deliverance saves you." Wow! Thank you Joanne for calling attention to this line. It grabs me too!

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  7. "it's hard to die a LITTLE to myself in those areas that don't seem monumental." YES!! Dying to self is so hard, but even harder when it's in an area that seem monumental. Those little things really get me.

    Thanks for pointing that out, Lisa. Definitely something to mull over and work on changing.

    ReplyDelete

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