Week 2 DAY 2
- LOOK at Esther Chapter 8:11-12, a small bite at a time.
- 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 –
And Continue With an Attitude of Prayer
O LORD, You are the center of our being. In You we live and move. Forgive our indifference, our sin this week, our wandering. We come today to see You in a fresh new way, and to see ourselves. May we have ears to hear what You are saying to us in Your Word of Truth. Oh give us the understanding we need in order to live in obedience to You. May we know the fullness of blessing and bring You honor in Your Son’s name. Thank you.
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.
In Esther Chapter 8:8-14
We left off seeing the picture Mordecai and Haman’s edicts give us of God’s 2 edicts. Thus we searched out God’s New Edict that superseded His Old Edict.
These verses are loaded so we are going to take our time and concentrate. Let the Holy Spirit open your understanding.
Today we want to see if Mordecai and Esther were justified in killing their enemies under this new edict. We know the king granted the Jews the right to kill anyone who might attack them.
Today: The Right to Defend
At Verses 11-12
Always Begin By READING
READ Esther 8:11-14 again and ask the who, what, where, when, why, and how questions.
Reflect on the events that demonstrate God’s hidden hand.
Let’s Zoom In.
Take a small but big bite today, LOOKING at just verses 11-12. As you do, you will want to check out:
Cross References (aka CR) on These Key Points.
Note: Remember to check the context of these passages.
THINK and REASON
In one day, what are the Jews granted the right to do, v11-12?
Why don’t we focus on their right to defend themselves?
What does ‘defend their lives’ mean?
Remember: We see the same exact words that Haman used back in Est Ch 3.
Re: ‘children and women‘, scholars say, this was the ordinary custom, to destroy the whole family of those convicted of great crimes; and whether this was right or wrong, it was the custom of the people, and according to the laws.
Let’s see what God has to say about defending their lives.
THINK and REASON
a. What was the law for a property owner?
b. What does the Old Testament encourage?
Ecc 4:9, 12
c. What did God’s people, who were rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem do when threatened by their enemies?
d. What does Jesus say about resisting an evil person when insulted?
e. But what did Jesus say to His disciples knowing they would be threatened?
Luk 11:21; Mat 12:29
f. What did Paul do?
g. What did the widow do?
LISTEN to the Spirit
When and how have I had to defend myself, my family, and/or my property?
Respond, LIVE It Out!
You should be getting the hang of this. Let that conversation begin, this is how communion takes place with your Creator!
What Did You LEARN
Check Out GODcha’s #4 LEARN Question(s).
#4. The king could not cancel the old edict that would destroy the Jews, so a new one was written to supersede the old. Consider Mordecai’s edict:
a. When was it written? How did it intentionally and deliberately parallel and counter Haman’s in Ch 3?
b. What were God’s people allowed to do to their enemies on one day?
c. Do you see God’s hand working behind the scene? (v8-14)
We answered (a) yesterday. Let’s focus on point (b) of this LEARN Question.
Bring It Together!
In these letters, the king granted the Jews the right to defend their lives (KJ says ‘to stand for their life‘).
Defend means to stand, to rise up; to take one’s stand. To stand over one’s life (nepeš) is to defend, protect one’s life (Esth. 8:11).
God does give us the right to defend ourselves.
In both the Old and New Testaments believers took steps to defend themselves, even arming themselves, in the face of potential danger.
In the Old Testament
There is a law in Exo 22:2-3 that gives the property owner the right to defend his property if he catches a thief breaking in at night, even if he has to kill the thief!
v2 – If the thief is caught while breaking in at night and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness – no guilt for shedding his blood.
v3 – But if the sun has risen on him there will be bloodguiltiness on his account.
Understand: These verses are in the context of Exo 20:13 and Exo 20:15 – ‘You shall not murder’ (meaning you shall not intentionally kill someone) and ‘You shall not steal.’
“…it is important to note this is in the context of the Ten Commandments. The 1st 4 deal with our relationship with God, while the last 6 commandments relate to our relationship with each other. In Exodus 21-23 God focuses primarily on the last 6 commandments spelling out specific details on how the sons of Israel were to interact with one another.” Dr. Gene Getz
Do you wonder what is different about the night versus the day?
1. Some Scholars Explain:
‘The sun rising on him’, means if the crime takes place during the day then nothing would hinder the homeowner’s judgment, and there is a far better chance to identify and apprehend the thief, so no need to kill the thief.
“This allowed for the factor of darkness and the increased fear of what cannot be seen at night and the increased possibility of harm to the victim. Traditional interpretation allowed that homicidal intent (on the part of the thief) might be assumed at night when residents were certain to be at home and were, therefore, more vulnerable.” Buckner
2. Other Scholars Suggest:
The law says if the thief breaks in at night, catching the property owner by surprise, then in self-defense, the thief is killed while committing the crime.
But to wait until the sun rises on him, and then go after the thief, and kill him during the day, would be vengeance, not self-defense.
Whatever the case –
Understand: the right to self-defense depends on the circumstances. No one should rush to use deadly force against another, even someone who means to do him harm.
We See: We are not to intentionally attack, murder, but we can defend ourselves. Killing a thief to defend ourselves and our property should be a last resort.
Ecc 4:9, 12, tells us 2 are better than 1 …if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.
Deut 22:23-27 says if a man forces himself on an engaged woman and lies with her (rapes her) then he should pay the death penalty. The woman cried out for help and none saved her.
Psa 82:3 we are to vindicate, defend, the weak and fatherless.
We See: We are to assist others who need help defending themselves.
Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall of the city of Jerusalem. When threatened by their outside enemies, God’s people prayed, then stationed the people in families fully armed working with 1 hand, while holding a weapon in the other, Neh 4:9-23.
We See: The Israelites were ready to defend themselves, but they did not actively attack their enemies.
We See: We can defend not only our property, but our families, ourselves, and others.
In the New Testament
In Mat 5:38-39, Jesus tells us “You have heard that it was said, `AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Note: Most Scholars see this slapping as a personal insult rather than an act of physical violence.
“Even in our day, a “slap in the face” is a metaphor for an unexpected insult or offense. Did someone insult you? Let him, Jesus says. Are you shocked and offended? Don’t be. And don’t return insult for insult. Turn the other cheek….Turning the other cheek does not imply pacifism, nor does it mean we place ourselves or others in danger. Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek is simply a command to forgo retaliation for personal offenses.” GotQuestions
“Striking a person on the right cheek suggests a backhanded slap from a typically right-handed aggressor and was a characteristic Jewish form of insult. Jesus tells us not to trade such insults even if it means receiving more. In no sense does v. 39 require Christians to subject themselves or others to physical danger or abuse. Jesus’ law of love is to “turn the other cheek” to an insult, not to a violent offender intent on inflicting upon you grave bodily harm or death.” Dr. Richard Seim
In Luk 22:36, Jesus wanted His disciples to understand they were now going into a hostile world, where they would need to support, supply, and protect themselves saying, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one”.
NOTE: Some Scholars suggest this is just figurative.
Others suggest Jesus knew that now was the time when His followers would be threatened, and He supported their right to self-defense.
In Luk 11:21 and Mat 12:29, Jesus used word pictures and stories about self-defense, to make broader spiritual points, such as ‘the strong man fully armed‘ which seems to assume the simple right of self-defense.
In Luk 12:11-12, Jesus told His disciples they would need to defend themselves against accusations, and the Holy Spirit would help them in their defense.
We See: Believers defended themselves.
In Act 16:36-39, Paul defended himself over and over, as in this passage when he was about to be flogged by the Romans in Jerusalem he informed them that he was a Roman citizen.
In Luk 18:3, the widow was persistent in going to a judge wanting legal protection from her opponent.
We See: There are non-violent ways by which we defend ourselves.
Understand: This is a delicate issue, but as we see God’s Truth we now know the parameters and rights God has given us to defend ourselves and others.
THINK and REASON a bit more. Bring this all together.
Mordecai and Esther, and all the Jews, God’s kids, were dealing with those who wanted to murder them because they hated them. They were confronted with a genocidal annihilation, a war.
So Mordecai and Esther’s new edict is for self-defense, right?
Mordecai’s edict gave the Jews the right to defend, stand, fight for their lives. The right to defend themselves against anyone who would come to harm them because of Haman, the Agagite’s written edict that was still active.
THINK and REASON even more.
This new edict would be defending God’s family line, for the coming of Jesus.
Thus, this would be in line with God’s promise to Abraham that we have seen in Gen 12:3. God would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.
What is the lesson for us today?
THINK and REASON:
Don’t police officers and soldiers have the right to defend themselves?
What about citizens? Don’t they have the right to defend themselves, their family, and their homes under the law?
Is it not worthwhile to defend, stand for the life of the unborn, against abortion?
Is it not our responsibility to stand, defend God’s Word that is Truth, even when existing laws are written differently?
It’s a lot to ponder and chew on, isn’t it?
Stop and Take a Breath!
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,” (Col 3:16).
Reflect and Meditate on what you have LEARNED!
Talk to God about how you are to live in the light of this Truth.
Now, Record What God Has Taught You
Expressing Yourself is Part of the Learning Process.
When you record your discovery and how God spoke to you,
it affords you the opportunity to go back again and again to refresh your memory,
talk to God, and
be obedient to your response.
Let’s Close in Prayer
OH FATHER GOD, LORD JESUS, AND PRECIOUS HOLY SPIRIT, we bow before You and praise You this day. This day that You have made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it. We thank you for Your Word that You continue to open up to us. And are most grateful for all You are showing us in this book of Esther. As we look at this new edict and the Jew’s right to defend themselves, we thank you that we too have been granted the right to defend ourselves. Help us to understand our right to self-defense depends on the circumstances, that no one should rush to use deadly force against another, even someone who means to do them harm. May we grasp that we are never given the right to intentionally attack or murder another.
As this plays out for us today Father I ask that You protect precious families out there, giving them the wisdom to know when and how to defend themselves according to our laws if necessary. Show each of us how to respond in situations that may arise and call for us to defend ourselves.
And we ask that governments everywhere, especially our national government, do what it is supposed to do according to Your Holy Word. May our government return to enforcing the law. May it punish evildoers so they can’t harm other people and thus deter would-be evildoers by letting them know what the penalty is.
We also pray for the police officers and their families, for those who defend our communities, establishing law and order and justice. Oh, Father keep them safe, as they try to keep us safe. Comfort them and strengthen them as we know they see the wicked ugly side of this world that we cannot even comprehend. Lord weed out the bad, the corrupt, and exalt those who have integrity and are truly committed. Give them back the honor and respect they deserve.
And Father, we pray for the armed forces and their families, for those who defend our nation, our freedoms, and our liberties. May they all seek to strengthen their faith in You. Keep them safe. Comfort them in times of separation and deployment.
Oh, Father, may we be quick to defend the rights of the unborn, and Your Word of Truth. May we do so in non-violent ways, ways that would woo and draw others to You! We thank you for hearing our requests on behalf of so many and ask these things in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.
I am so proud of you! You are doing great!
Next: LOOK@ Esther Chapter 8:11-14 the right to avenge.
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