Esther 1:1-3:15, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Psalms 35:17-28, Proverbs 21:19-20
Today is the 18th day of August, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it is wonderful to be here with you today like it is every day as we gather around the Global Campfire and move forward together. Yesterday we concluded the book of Nehemiah which means we’re in new territory today and some favorite territory. For the next couple of days we will enjoy the book of Esther in the Old Testament.
Introduction to the book of Esther:
And the book of Esther is quite a dramatic story to tell indeed. It’s about a young girl, her name is Hadassah, and she was an orphan. She was also an exile in Persia. And just so we understand this, we’re still in the same time period we’ve been in, the time of the exile, the time when the children of Israel or the Hebrew people were taken into exile by the Babylonian Empire. Babylon was conquered by the Persian Empire and the Persians are a little bit more favorable to the Hebrew people than the Babylonians had been allowing for stories like Ezra and Nehemiah to take place. And the story of Ezra is situated in the same time. So, Hadassah is an orphan, an exiled orphan in Persia, which would not be unusual. She was raised as a daughter by her cousin Mordecai, who was of the tribe of Benjamin. It also wasn’t unusual for exiles to…to take on more localized names so they wouldn’t seem so foreign. And, so, Hadassah was given the name Esther, which translates to be “star” or maybe “morning star” in Jewish tradition. And we know from the story itself is that Esther was stunning. She was absolutely beautiful in her appearance, and she was kind of a quiet mannered young woman with no big ambitions, especially ambitions of royalty. But King Xerxes had a falling out with the Queen. Her name is Vashti. She…she humiliated him at least in his mind, she humiliated him, and he banished her. And, so, eventually a new Queen was needed. But around the same time, there’s another figure that enters the story. Hs name is Haman, and he becomes a high official, but he hates Hebrew people. He hates the Jews. Haman was a descendent of King gag of Amalek, and we’ve heard of the Amalekites before the Hebrews in the Amalekites were hostile to each other. This goes all the way back to their origins, which are Jacob and Esau. And we’ll remember that when we read to the books of Samuel. Samuel executed King Agag after Saul had defeated the Amalekites in battle. And, so, Haman hates the Jews for this which causes a lot of conflict between Mordecai, Esther’s uncle who is treating her like a daughter and Haman, who expects to be honored since he’s a high official of the king and everybody has to bow down to him. But Mordecai won’t bow down. And, so, Haman decides in response he's…he’s got a plan to completely annihilate the Jews from the Persian Empire, like everyone to be killed, which basically sets up our drama. We have a beautiful Hebrew Jewish Queen, Esther, and we have a high official Haman intending to wipe the Jews from the earth and we have a king in between them who will make the decisions and bring this story to its conclusion. The book of Esther is the basis for the festival of Purim for the Hebrew people today, and this…this festival of Purim was established in the book of Esther by Mordecai, which will see. And we’ll also see many parallels in the book of Esther that…that apply to our lives and bring us hope, hope that God will show up hope, that what we’re looking at as circumstances doesn’t always dictate how things are going to turn out, that everybody is important and has a role to play in God’s kingdom, that even we are here for such a time as this. And, so, let’s begin. Today we will read Esther chapters 1, 2, and 3.
Father, we thank You for Your word. We thank You for each and every day something new is there waiting for us to consider and contemplate and incorporate into our lives. And, of course, we…we don’t have the self-discipline to do everything right. If we could make ourselves perfect, we would’ve done that. But nobody can do that, but You and we thank You for coming for us transforming us. And we thank You for this new territory in the Scriptures that we are in right now, the book of Esther. And as we contemplate what we’ve already talked about just kind of flying over the book of Esther to get orientation and now as we’re in the thick of the story as we think about Esther today as we think about an unlikely person pulled into a very high-stakes dramatic story, what we are learning and what we will learn is You are the only hope. You allow us to stand in and be a representative and be in a place for a time. But it’s You who work Your will and Your ways. So, we trust You and we look forward to the next step forward in the book of Esther tomorrow. Come Holy Spirit plant what we’ve read into the soil of our lives. May we cooperate with You as You prune and weed the things out of our lives that don’t belong, so that the fruit of the spirit is healthy and bountiful inside us. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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Community Prayer and Praise: