Friday, March 16, 2012

Esther Bible Study - Chapter 6

Esther 6:1-3

This portion of scripture reminds us that God’s is working to save His people. And that those things we count as “coincidence” are often a matter of God’s hand at work in our life.

In these verses the king is referring to the events that transpired in Esther 2:21-23. In that chapter, I asked you two questions:

  1. What transpired in verse 21? Two of the king's chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus.
  2. What two things came of it in verse 23? Mordecai notified Esther who sent word to the king, and the men were both hanged.

    Finally (but no doubt due to God’s timing) the king notices the records and inquires about the incident.

The king asks, “"What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?"

When I read this I got to thinking… Okay, truth is I got excited and then I got to thinking… How many times have I done a good deed that went unnoticed? There’s been more than a few.

And then it hit me—the reason our good deeds go unnoticed is because God has a better plan for our lives than we have for ourselves.

What if God purposely held back a reward to show His glory in my life? Wouldn’t that be so much better than getting recognition from my peers? Absolutely! The glory of God trumps self-gratification any day of the week!

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. ~ James 5:7, KJV

What are some areas of your life where you seek self-recognition? In what ways could you change your focus?

Esther 6:4-9

The bigger the tree is, the harder it falls. Think about that. If a seedling falls to the ground, no one hears the rumble of its collapse, but when an enormous tree is taken down at the roots, the thunder of its fall is unmistakeable. So it is with those that God strengthens before a fall.

Compare the events that are transpiring with Haman to that of Pharaoh in the story of Moses:
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. ~ Romans 9:17, KJV

If you remember the story at all, you'll remember that God sent many plagues upon the Egyptians including the death of the firstborn in each household, but each time Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go. Incredibly stubborn and full of pride, he even changed his mind and pursued them after they left, which ultimately resulted in his death.

He was like Haman in so many ways.

What we see in this chapter is pride (Haman) warring against humility (Mordecai). This is a common battle within each and every believer, which is why we must be alert to the dangers of pride. Haman didn't only give into his pride, he was driven by it.

It’s God’s style to wait until the storm has reached full force before He calms the waves. That’s when we see the glory of His mighty power.

We see the same thing happening with Haman as he has risen to a position of authority, and dining at the kings table. He has no idea what is going on behind the scenes, but he is about to fall--and fall hard!

The king asks Haman, “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?”

And Haman said to himself, "Whom would the king desire to honor more than me?"

The irony is rich here as God is about to use Haman’s pride as a weapon against himself.

Haman offers two suggestions:

  1. Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head.
  2. And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him.

Esther 6:10-11

Here we see that Haman himself put the robe upon Mordecai and led him through the streets proclaiming, "This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!"

Remember as you’re reading this that we were told in chapter three that King Ahasuerus promoted Haman above all the princes. This would have been a very humbling experience for any ruler, not to mention that this is one of the highest rulers who had serious contention with the man in the royal robe upon the horse.

Let’s also look at the spiritual symbolism here:

The horse is a symbol of power and strength. (Job 39:19-22)
The crown is a symbol of holiness. (Exod. 39:30)
The robe is a symbol of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10)

Esther 6:12-14

Chapter six ends in a similar way to chapter five did, with Haman going home to complain to his household about his struggle with Mordecai.

This time however his family isn’t as positive as they were the first time. Even they are starting to see that his plan is coming apart.

This entire chapter has a strong focus on the dangers of pride and the blessings of humility. It is further exemplified here as Mordecai is exalted and Haman is cut down.

Compare this verse:

A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. ~ Proverbs 29:3, KJV

What are some of the ways that you might protect your heart against pride?

In an article called, “How to Fight the Sin of Pride, Especially When You are Praised,” John Piper writes, “I strive to cultivate a joy in Christ and his wisdom and power and justice and love that is more satisfying than the pleasures of human praise, with the goal that, by the Spirit, I would be granted the miracle of self-forgetfulness in the admiration of Christ, and in love toward people.”

If you'd like to read the rest of John Piper's article, you can find it here.

That's our study for today! We'll tackle chapter seven on Monday!

Find the other chapters here:

Esther Chapter 6

If you are studying along with us, you are welcome to leave a link to your site in the Linky tool below. But rather than linking up with a graphic from your blog like we usually do, it would be nice if you could post your profile photo so we can all see each other. If you don't have one--not a problem, another graphic will do. The Linky tool is just a way for all of us to get to know each other, it's not necessary to write a corresponding post.

I'm also posting the button code to the Bible study in hopes that you can add it to your post or sidebar.

You are loved by an almighty God,


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