Week 2 DAY 3
- LOOK at Esther Chapter 2:8-11.
- LEARN ‘how‘ to incorporate GODcha’s tools along the way.
- LISTEN to God speak to us as we focus on GODcha’s LEARN/LIVE questions.
Let’s Begin With Prayer
And Continue With an Attitude of Prayer
O LORD, we come to You, asking that You lead us and guide us in Your Truth. Help us see Your Word today. Please open our minds to understand what You are saying, and help us to see why You are saying these things. Lord, teach us to think and live in the light of what You show us. Teach us Your ways so we will walk in Your truth. Thank you so much. (Luk 24:44-47); (Psa 86:11)
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 have been introduced to a Gentile king who is chasing after his own fame and glory. Instead of turning to God, this man turns to others for wisdom, and actually now wants a woman to fix his life.
Then we were introduced to Mordecai, who took his cousin Esther as his own daughter. Both were Jewish, but had Persian names, clueing us in that they were living 2 identities, having been subtly indoctrinated and living compromised lives.
Perhaps this is why they did not return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, thus they were living far away from the presence of God at this point in their lives.
Keep all this in mind as we move forward, and remember we left off being told Esther was beautiful in form and face.
Today: Esther Is Taken
Now Let’s LOOK at What God Says
Begin LOOKING By READING
READ Taking Small Bites.
READ the next paragraph, Esther 2:8-11, with purpose, asking the 5W’s and H questions.
- Notice the timing, the when?
- What happens?
- What happens to Esther?
Reflect on the events that demonstrate God’s hidden hand.
What Questions Arise?
Don’t you wonder why Mordecai didn’t fight or resist this? How could he let his daughter be used to satisfy the pleasure of a pagan man to whom she was not married?
Being a Jew, would he be worried, and try to find a way to save his daughter?
Or, was he hoping to get Esther a better life?
Or, was he secretly thinking if Esther were to be chosen, he could rise to power there in Susa?
What would you do?
Or why didn’t Esther fight and resist?
Some would say she couldn’t, but we must remember Vashti resisted.
What would you do?
And why instruct Esther not to make known her kindred?
Were they hiding who they were? Hiding their faith?
Hiding, to be safe? Or to fit in?
What do you do?
Let’s focus on verses 8-9.
Like a KEY – they‘ unlock’ the meaning to what God is saying.
GODcha suggests we take a LOOK at ‘ found favor’.
We might check out ‘taken’ and perhaps ‘cosmetics’ and ‘food’.
What’s a harem?
Check Out The Meanings
You should know how to do this by now.
Tap on the words in your Bible.
Do you see the definitions pop open?
Hebrew: ḥēn; graciousness, A masculine noun meaning grace, acceptance. Ge 6:8 stands as the fundamental application of this word, meaning an unmerited favor or regard in God’s sight. Beyond this, however, the word conveys a sense of acceptance or preference in a more general manner.
Greek: cháris; grace. Graciousness, of manner or act; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude). (II) Grace in reference to disposition, attitude toward another, favor, goodwill, benevolence. (A) Generally favor, goodwill. Spoken by metonymy of the object of favor, something acceptable. (B) Spoken of the grace, favor and goodwill of God and Christ as exercised toward men.
TAKEN, lāqaḥ; Its exact meaning must be discerned from its context. It is used of grasping or seizing a person or an animal, and/or it can mean to be brought in.
COSMETICS, tamrûq; A masculine noun meaning scraping, rubbing, purifying. This Hebrew word carries the connotation of scraping away that which is impure or harmful. This word appears three times in reference to ritual purification following menstruation (Esth. 2:3, 9, 12).
FOOD, mānāh; A feminine noun meaning a portion or one’s share. Of officially appointed portions of food (Esth. 2:9).
HAREM, bayit; A noun meaning house, dwelling, family, temple, palace. It is used basically to denote a building in which a family lives but can also refer to the family or household itself.
Webster’s Dictionary: A household reserved for wives, concubines, and female servants.
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 these in your hardbound Bibles.
Check Out The Cross References
1. What did GODcha tell us about the ‘many young ladies’ that were gathered to the citadel in verse 8? How many young women would have been preparing for this one night with the king?
2. As we see Esther found favor with Hegai (a eunuch) who was in charge of the women:
a. Who else was granted favor (grace)?
b. And who grants the favor and why?
Pro 3:3-4, 34
Psa 84:11; 90:17
c. Favor is better than what?
3. We see because Esther found favor with Hegai, he quickly provided Esther with cosmetics, food, maids, and the best place in the harem. What do you discover about food that gives us more clues about Mordecai and Esther living a compromised life?
Okay, Let’s Bring It All Together
What Did You LEARN
If you need help. . .
Open the Deeper Discovery
Check Out GODcha’s #14 LEARN Question(s).
#14. What happened when the king’s decree went forth? LOOK carefully, describe what happened to Esther as her 2 worlds collided.
a. What does ‘taken’ mean? Did Esther have a choice? Why didn’t Mordecai do something?
b. Is there any indication Esther or Mordecai are walking with God?
c. What about God – is He walking w/Esther? What did He do that shows His unseen hand is working? How does this give you hope? (v8-9)
Sum It Up!
When the king’s decree went forth, many young ladies were gathered to the citadel in Susa.
GODcha tells us that Josephus, the historian, says the number of ladies that were gathered was well over 400.
Esther was taken. This is now where Esther’s 2 world’s begin to collide.
We don’t know how, but we know she was taken which could mean a seizing or grasping of a person, but it could simply mean to be brought in.
Esther may not have had a choice, we don’t know.
But we don’t see Mordecai or Esther resisting the king’s orders.
Esther was taken because God made her beautiful in form and face.
We see God working behind the scenes: creating Esther beautiful, ordaining a part for her to play in His divine drama.
Esther was taken to the king’s palace, into the custody of Hegai who was in charge of the women.
Esther pleased and found favor with Hegai. So he provided her with cosmetics and food, giving her 7 maids, and transferred her to the best place in the harem.
Esther was pleasing to Hegai, finding favor [grace, acceptance] with him.
-Favor is better than silver or gold, because favor is grace, which is kindness and faithfulness, that are the foundation of God’s actions and character.
-God grants favor to mankind, the righteous and the unrighteous.
-God granted favor to Noah, God’s people, Moses, Joseph, Samuel, Daniel, to name a few, and Jesus.
-God grants favor to the wicked, but it does not change them.
-Those who love God’s ways such as kindness, and seek His wisdom being Truth, open themselves to His favor.
-God will not withhold favor from those who walk uprightly.
We have to wonder if Esther found favor with Hegai because of her beautiful form and face.
No matter, ultimately we know God’s hand is working by granting Esther favor with Hegai who provided her with everything she needed, and transferred her to the best place in the harem [a separate part of a household reserved for wives, concubines, and female servants].
Hegai provided Esther with cosmetics [scraping away that which is impure or harmful; A ritual purification following menstruation] and food [officially appointed portions of food], giving her 7 maids, and transferred her to the best place in the harem.
-Daniel and his friends refused to eat the food of the Babylonians and refused to bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar.
-We don’t see Mordecai or Esther doing this. Instead they seem to be embracing the Persian culture and food.
Re: Harem – We see these young ladies (400+) are taken, including Esther, to a place in the palace to be concubines, wives, and/or female slaves to the king, and given a whole year to prepare to be with the king for one night.
Don’t Miss LISTENING to God
If you need some help. . .
Check Out GODcha’s #14 LIVE Question(s)
#14. When and how have my 2 worlds collided? What happened? How did I survive?
a. What kind of choice(s) have I and others made that have complicated my life?
b. How do I know that I am walking with God?
c. How is God’s unseen hand working as He gets me through the tough spots? When and why has He granted me favor with others, (Pro 3:3-4)?
Perhaps there is more to consider. . .
Am I compromising, trying to follow Jesus and the world?
Are my affections for Jesus growing numb, and my desires for the world growing?
Am I a hypocrite?
Am I in a difficult situation? What kind of trouble have I gotten myself into?
Have I married an unbeliever and it’s a mess?
Am I in a hard place with a child?
What tough things am I going through at work?
Respond to God . . . LIVE it out!
If you belong to God, He is right there with you! Talk to Him! He will get you through whatever you are going through!
LOOK a Bit More
Read Esther 2:10-11 again, asking the 5W’s and H Questions.
Check A Few More Cross References
1. What do you grasp about Esther ‘not making known her people’ in verse 10?
a. What was the attitude and the acts towards the Jews who were seeking to rebuild the temple at this time in Jerusalem?
b. And yet, what does Jesus say?
LISTEN to the Spirit –
The Personal Question(s) Might Be:
What kind of resistance and opposition have I experienced for my faith and/or work that I was doing for the Lord?
What accusations have been spewed against me to stop the Lord’s work?
What was the result? Did I become frustrated and quit?
Has opposition caused me to hide my identification with Jesus?
Or, am I strong enough to confess Jesus before others?
2. What did Mordecai do in verse 11?
How does this parallel with God, and give me hope?
What Else Did You LEARN
If You Need Help. . .
Check Out GODcha’s #15 LEARN Question(s)
#15. What had Mordecai instructed Esther? Why would Mordecai think this to be wise, (Ezr 4:1-6)?
What did he do every day? (v10-11)
Sum It Up!
Mordecai instructed Esther not to make known that she was Jewish. Why?
There was a persecution against the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple that persisted up to the beginning of the reign of King Ahauserus. The people of the land discouraged the Jews and frightened them from building and wrote an accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem to King Ahauserus.
So Mordecai may have given this instruction because of the attitude and actions at that time towards the Jews.
THINK: Esther being a girl, even an extraordinarily beautiful girl, might run the risk of being taken and abused, and if she was known to be a Jew, she could be treated even more shamefully and cruelly.
But we must Remember: Jesus’ strong word to us in Matthew, that if we confess Him before men, He then will confess us before the Father. BUT if we deny Him before men, then He will deny us before His Father.
Understand: Jesus told us to be shrewd as serpents but gentle as doves, Mat 10:16. Think of Christians in China or Saudi Arabia where it may be dangerous to profess openly. So, there may be times when we are to be silent about our Christian identity waiting for the opportune time to reveal it.
And we see Esther is respectful to listen, and wise enough to obey her father’s instruction.
We see Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the court of the harem every day to learn how Esther was and how she fared.
As we see Mordecai’s love and concern for Esther, we can parallel that to God who is watching over us!
Remember LISTEN to God
Will you LISTEN to the Holy Spirit and LIVE out your discovery?
HEARING God’s voice takes awhile to master.
But this is what time with the King of kings is all about!
Just be intentional to LISTEN.
Godcha’s #15 LIVE Question(s)
#15. Consider Mordecai’s instructions.
a. Do I honor my parents, and/or the elderly, by listening to them and taking their advise?
b. Do I conceal my identity as a follower of Jesus? Why? Will I take Jesus’ warning in (Mat 10:32-33) seriously?
c. What difference does it make to know God is watching over me, (Pro 15:3); (Job 29:2)?
Respond to God . . . LIVE it out!
At This Point:
We don’t see any indication that Mordecai, or Esther, are walking with God because they:
Did not return to Jerusalem to be in the presence of God;
Seemed to have duel identities, living in 2 worlds;
Did not resist Esther being taken to the king;
Were disobedient to the Lord by eating foods He forbid in the Old Testament.
Let’s Take a Breath!
Meditate on what you heard God Speak!
“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear…Take care what you listen to,” (Mar 4:23-24).
You just don’t stop and rush into the world! I want to encourage you to think on all these things throughout the day. And carry on your communion with the Lord all day. You will be amazed!
Put the Definitions and CR in your Notes.
Don’t forget to jot it all down in your Hardbound Bibles.
Journal your intimate chat with the Lord
How did He stir your heart?
Let’s Close in Prayer
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, thank you for loving us. We thank you that in that love You speak Your Holy Word to us for our good and Your glory. May we all see that we all at some time have been like this king – chasing after our own glory, rather than living for Yours. We have been guilty of turning to others to fix our lives rather than turning to You. And if we are willing to really let Your Word be a mirror, we too have been like Mordecai and Esther at some point in our lives living 2 identities. If a dad with daughters, like Mordecai, we must consider what we are like, and what we would do if in such a circumstance. And if a daughter, a young woman, what am I like, and what would I do?
Many have claimed to be believers, but actually if they are honest with themselves, that has been in name only, for they really are living in the world, the world’s way, instead of living for You, Your way. Oh Father, if we are guilty of this, please show us where and how we are living in disobedience to You. We confess all of this to You Lord knowing that when we confess our sin to You, You are faithful to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Oh please forgive us for the times we have replaced You Father God with people and things, and been disobedient.
We so praise You and thank you that You are working behind the scenes in our lives. Father, thank you for granting us favor (grace) even when we have been like Mordecai and Esther. In the blessed name of Jesus we pray. Amen!
Next: we will LOOK at another small bite, Esther 2:12-16.
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