How do I make decisions?
Week 1 DAY 4
- LOOK at Esther 3:7, just one verse.
- LEARN ‘how‘ to incorporate GODcha’s tools along the way.
- LISTEN to God speak to us as we focus on GODcha’s LEARN/LIVE question –
Open GODcha to the Book of Esther
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Or, use your hardbound Bibles and follow along.
You can print off this week’s posts and put in a notebook!
Do you remember. . .
What is the Purpose of Esther?
Remember: Everything written in Esther points back to the purpose.
Let’s Begin With Prayer
And Continue With an Attitude of Prayer
Perhaps. . .
Oh Lord, thank you for this book of Esther, that is Your Holy Word that is powerful and piercing. As we come to Your Word today, quiet our hearts and open our eyes to see and understand what You are saying and why. Help us to understand how we are to think and live. Please help us live according to Your Word. Thank you Lord, (Psa 119:169).
If you get STUCK at any point in your discovery, stop, and pray!
GOD, your Creator, loves you and desires to reveal much to you.
We Need To Consider CONTEXT
After Mordecai saved the king, the king promotes Haman, an Agagite.
Now Haman, an Agagite, an enemy of the Jews, becomes Mordecai’s new boss. Mordecai decides to take a stand, refusing to bow down to Haman, publicly humiliating Haman!
So now … what’s Haman going to do?
Take a LOOK
Remember: Begin LOOKING By READING
READ the Next Paragraph, Esther 3:7-11 and reflect on what God is saying.
This isn’t hard, but it does take time to develop this skill, which by the way is the most important skill any of us could learn to accurately see God’s Word.
1. We have a Time Phrase. Notice the ‘when‘.
2. What happens?
Reflect on the events that demonstrate God’s hidden hand.
READ verse 7.
What Might Be Key?
As you can see, it would be helpful to understand what a Pur, a lot is?
LOOK at the Meaning
Tap on ‘Pur‘ in your Bible?
Do you see the definition pop open?
PUR, pûr; a lot cast to make decisions; in plural, Purim, a Jewish feast day. It refers to the Jewish feast day celebrating the great deliverance of the Jews under the Persian Empire (Esth. 9:24, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32). The pur was an object used in deciding a matter seemingly by chance (Esth. 3:7).
Understand: Haman and his advisors are pagans who superstitiously cast lots to make decisions.
DON’T STOP THERE!
NOTE: Take what you have learned back to the text, to see what it means in its CONTEXT.
TIP: I would encourage you to note this in your hardbound Bibles.
Let’s Check Out Some Cross References (aka CR)
Remember: As you read the CR, keep asking the 5W’s and H questions.
1. Who, when and how is the lot cast?
“What a strange thing to interject here! This casting of lots to determine a lucky day on which to do something was a common practice in oriental kingdoms. It was similar to the practice today of shooting dice in order to determine an appropriate, propitious day. This account does not mean that for a whole year they shook dice in front of Haman. It means that every cast they made stood for a different day. They would cast the dice out and name the cast for a certain day of the calendar year. If it was a propitious number then that day was a lucky day. Thus they went through three hundred and sixty-five casts before this man — a whole year’s time before they found a lucky day, and when they found it, it was in the twelfth month which is the month of Adar.
This is nothing but the rankest superstition! All superstition is a form of fear, and fear is the enemy of faith. Fear is the opposite of faith. Superstition, then, is a sign of distrust of God. Why is it that whenever we acknowledge that our business has been good, or our health has been good, we like to knock on wood? We really do it to frighten away the jealous spirits which we think may take our prosperity away. We distrust the gods. It’s strange, isn’t it, how many Christians resort to these superstitious practices? They smile and joke when they do them, but down underneath there is a lingering suspicion that they had better do them or they might bring bad luck. This is simply fear of the jealousy of God. The tempter has planted in our hearts the feeling that God is not really interested in our welfare, that we must take care of all things ourselves. We have begun to distrust the goodness of God.” Ray Stedman
GODcha tells us the 1st month, Nisan, is the time period March/April . . . and the 12th month, Adar, is the time period Feb/March.
Almost one year. . .did you catch that?
The month and day to destroy the Jews was set by casting the lot. We discover this specific date is almost a yr, actually 11 mths, before Haman would attack.
2. Who is sovereign over the casting of the lot?
Understand: God is in control of every lot cast, every roll of dice. God rules over everything!
Do you see God’s hand working behind the scenes?
Even though Haman, a pagan, whose casting of lots was divination, demonic, God who rules over everything was controlling when, where, and how the lot landed.
“If the disposal of the lot is the Lord’s, whose is the arrangement of our whole life? If the simple casting of a lot is guided by Him, how much more the events of our entire life.” C. Spurgeon
3. God’s people would cast lots to determine God’s will.
How did casting a lot reveal God’s decision?
Understand: When God’s people cast lots we know God is the One who was really controlling those lots to reveal His will.
Understand: Today we determine God’s will through his Word by His Spirit!
What Did You LEARN
If you need help
Check Out GODcha’s #4 LEARN Question(s)
#4. How does Haman determine the date to destroy the Jews, CR? (v7)
SUM It Up!
It is the 12th yr of the king, probably around 474 BC. And in the first month, which is the month of Nisan (March/April), Pur, a lot, was cast before Haman from day to day and from month to month, until it fell on the twelfth month, that is the month of Adar (February/March).
The date was set by casting the lot.
For pagans, to cast lots was divination. But God’s people cast lots in the OT to determine God’s will.
God determines how the lot falls, Pro 16:33.
The casting of lots determined:
– The division of the Land, Jos 14:1-3;
– The Gatekeepers (guards) for the temple gates, 1Ch 26:14;
– Who brought the wood for the constantly burning altar, Neh 10:34;
– The apostle to replace Judas, Act 1:26.
Act 1:26 is the last biblical mention of the lots as the coming of the Spirit made it unnecessary to cast lots.
God’s hand was at work by controlling the lot to give the Jews almost a year before the attack.
LISTEN to God Speak
And LIVE it out!
Check out GODcha’s #4 LIVE Question(s).
#4. How do I make decisions? (v7)
A Helpful Hint:
Years ago my husband and I went through Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” study that changed our lives as we came to know our God and learn how to discern His will. For what it is worth, I would like to share how we have learned to make decisions, hoping it might be helpful for you moving forward.
God speaks through:
1. The Bible – His Living Word (You all are learning this, right? And how we respond is crucial.)
3. Circumstances –Usually reveal God’s directions to us that must be checked through His Word and prayer. Never determine the truth of a situation by looking at just a circumstance. You must hear from God.
4. The Church – God uses other believers to line up to say the same thing that He has said to us in His Word, prayer, and circumstances.
An Example: Our daughter had been in Christian schools all the way up to high school. As there was not a Christian High School in our area, we had to decide what public school she should go to. And I might add it took much time and discipline on all our parts to be sensitive to the Lord’s voice and guidance.
1. The Bible: We searched and searched God’s Word daily for months.
2. Prayer: We prayed, she prayed, and others were praying for God’s will.
3. Circumstances: In the spring, our daughter shadowed 4 different high schools (1 being out of our district) watching what God did through those trial runs at each school, helping her to eliminate one, narrowing the decision down to 3.
4. The Church: Many of us had been praying for a year that the high ranking school that had not been open to our district would open up. IT DID OPEN!
The night before we had to make our decision, God gave us Mat 10:16 in our family devotion for that day. Jesus was giving His 12 disciples instructions as He sent them out to nearby regions to give the gospel. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.. . .”
My thoughts: ‘Yes Lord, we know we are sending our baby out to the wolves, but to which wolves?’
My husband nudged by the Spirit observed Jesus was speaking to His 12 disciples.
The Lord didn’t speak audibly, but impressed upon Doug’s heart to think and ask Tori:
1. How many from her class were going to L High School? “1″
2. How many from her class were going to H High School? “2″
3. And how many from her class were going to A High School (the school that opened to out of district students)? ‘”11″
As Jesus was sending His 12 out. We decided Tori should go where she would make the number 12. Twelve little sheep who would help one another to be shrewd as serpents, but innocent as doves among the wolves.
Understand: God’s Word, Circumstances, Others and Prayer all lined up pointing us to move in the direction of A High School.
Was it perfect? No! But it was a Blue Ribbon school, with a great principal and some outstanding teachers, with many wonderful upstanding families that became a part of our lives. And when difficult circumstances arose, we had this spiritual marker to look back on, and knew that we knew that this school had been handpicked by God, and indeed was where He wanted our child to be for her education and to be His witness.
Respond to God. . . LIVE it out!
Remember: God has spoken to us. His Word is active, alive and sharp. To hear Him, we must be tuned into the right frequency, that being our hearts are humbled before Him, and now we respond!
Take a Deep Breath!
Meditate on all God is teaching you about evil horrible Haman, who cares only about himself.
Reflect on how God’s hidden hand is working as He decides the lot that is cast.
God wants you to “consider what He is saying and let Him give you understanding in everything,” (2Ti 2:7).
NOTE Your Discovery!
Put the Definitions and Cross References (CR) in your Notes.
Don’t forget to jot it all down in your Hardbound Bibles.
Include how God has stirred your heart.
Let’s Bow Before the Father
GRACIOUS FATHER GOD, LORD JESUS, AND WONDERFUL HOLY SPIRIT, oh we so praise You for who You are and what You do! Father God, thank you for the sweet nugget today that You decide the lot that is cast. As we see Your hidden hand at work, deciding the exact date that would give the Jews almost a year to prepare for this horrible attack, may we be encouraged. Oh to the point of making the decision when a lot was cast, how much more are You here involved with every event and circumstance in each one of our lives. Please help us to grasp hold of this mighty glorious Truth!
May we be willing to look at ourselves. May we be honest with ourselves and consider how we make decisions. What an incredible privilege to have Your Holy Word to guide us and give those of us who have surrendered our lives to You Lord Jesus, wisdom through You Holy Spirit. May we understand we can determine Your will through Your Word by Your Spirit. It takes time –hours, days, perhaps months and diligence on our part to pray and spend time with You in Your Word, shutting out all other voices, and truly listen to You speak to us. And when You tell us what we can and cannot do, may we obey You.
If there are any with us on this journey who are superstitious, or been taught that casting lots is for today, please set them free with Your Truth! Thank You Father God! In Your Son’s name we pray. Amen!
Next: We’ll look at Esther 3:8-11.
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