Monday, March 19, 2012

Esther Bible Study - Chapter 7

Esther 7:1-2 - So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? And it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? And it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.

Setting the stage here, we know from chapter six that they had all experienced a big day. King Ahasuerus hadn’t slept much the night before, and Haman was no doubt feeling the sting of that afternoon’s events. They return to the banquet where the king is anxious to finally hear Esther’s request.

Again he says, “What is thy request? And it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom.”
This offer is generous, but scholars say it’s not one to be taken literally. It was customary for kings to say this, with the intention of giving a generous gift. Compare, this portion of scripture from Mark 6:

And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.

This is the third time that Esther is offered a generous gift from the king, and each time she refuses to value the riches of this world over “life.”

Let’s look at Matthew chapter 18 where we see the account of Jesus talking to the rich young ruler:
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (v.18)

Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. (v.22-23)

The point here isn’t that believers can’t have money, a nice house, or a car. What it does mean is that eternal life should be more important to us than anything this world has to offer.

The riches of the world aren’t necessarily monetary either. They can be anything from the praise of family and friends, addictions, and lust, etc. Any of these things can draw our hearts away from the prize ahead, which is eternal life with God.

Consider your life and ask yourself if there is anything that draws you away from your relationship with God, or distracts you from serving him.

If you have friends or family that disagree with your faith, ask yourself if you are driven to satisfy them or to live for the Lord.

Esther 7:3-4 - Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request: For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king's damage.

Notice in verse four that Esther says, “For we are sold…” What I am reminded of here is that all humanity was sold and sentenced to death by the sin of Adam and Eve. It was because of that original sin that we were born with a need for redemption (someone to pay a ransom for our sins).

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. Romans 7:14, KJV

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: ~ Romans 5:12, KJV

Looking at Esther 3:9, we are reminded of who it was that purchased them:

If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I [Haman] will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.

Esther 7:5 - Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?

As we read these words I can only imagine the terror in Haman’s mind. The king asks, “Who is he, and where is he?” Up until this point, king Ahasuerus wasn’t aware that his beloved wife, Esther was sentenced to death by his own hand. He was only aware of the situation according to what Haman had told him, which we have known all along was driven by nothing but pride. In fact he had outright lied to the king in Esther 3 verse 8 when he said, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.”

Haman is a devil type who prowled around seeking for ways to destroy God’s people.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: ~ 1 Peter 5:8, KJV

One of Satan’s weapons of destruction is the opposition of unbelievers. In what ways has he used unbelievers against you? In what ways can you prepare yourself for the next attack?

Esther 7:6-7 - And Esther said, the adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.

When you feel overcome by evil, remember that Satan is terrified of the wrath of God, in fact we are told that the demons believe and they tremble (James 2:19). You’re not going to see this however, because evil is driven by pride and does everything in its power to conceal its fear of God's wrath.

Because of redemption through Jesus Christ, we are overcomers in this life. Faith in God tells me that trials, pain, and suffering are here for a season, but there is coming a day when Satan and his angels will be punished and put away once and for all. We have access to throne of God, we have been saved by His grace, and we are the beloved Bride of Christ.

Look at the similarities in the following scripture when we hold it up for comparison to the events of this chapter. I went looking to paste one little verse here, but when I read the passage in its context, it only made sense to share this in its entirety with you.

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:31-39, KJV

Imagine the King saying to you, “Who has put this charge against you?! Who is he that condemns you?! You are MY bride. Nobody can touch you, and nothing can separate you from my love!”

Can we all say a big “amen?!”

Look at the trials that you’re facing in your life. Whether they are big or small, write them down on a list. Now take that list and bring it to God in prayer trusting that He is willing and able to fight for His bride. But before you do that, look at that verse again, 2nd paragraph. It doesn’t say that you can conquer these things. It says, we are MORE than conquerors through Him that loved us. That’s a powerful statement!

Esther 7:8-10 - Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of king's mouth, they covered Haman's face. And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.

Things went from bad to dreadful for Haman as he started to unravel before Esther and the king. Haman rose to plead his life to the queen and fell on her bed.

If you’re confused about the word bed here, let’s look at the following verse for some clarification. This same verse in the NIV is translated as “elegant couch.” So it would seem that elegant couches (also called beds), were placed in dining areas:

And satest upon a stately bed [elegant couch], and a table prepared before it, whereupon thou hast set mine incense and mine oil. ~ Ezekiel 23:41, KJV

Throughout the entire story we see God’s thumbprint at every turn, and this time is no different. I believe that Haman falling on Esther’s bed was an act of God that moved the king to further see the extent of Haman’s evil. If not the fall, then the timing was.

Would it not have been for Esther, Mordecai, and the Jewish people fasting and praying beforehand, things might have turned out quite differently. They sought God with all of their heart and the reward was far more than they expected. Haman was put to death, and they were given their lives.

Many people wonder why Haman’s face was covered, but few people answer the question. I had to know, so I did a little digging. I love that about scripture—if you dig, you’ll find answers!

Covering one’s face represents shame. Look at these two verses:

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. ~ Isaiah 50:6, KJV

My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me. ~ Psalm 44:15, KJV

In the last chapter, Esther 6:12, we see that right after Haman led Mordecai around on horseback he, “hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered.”

I remember doing this exact same thing once when I got fired from my first job. I put my coat over my head when I arrived home and walked through the door. I think it’s in our nature to cover our head or face when we’re put to shame, but it was also a custom executed by others.

Now compare that, with this and we see the flip side:

Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me… But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. ~ Psalm 3:1&3, KJV

Finally, a good lesson in all of this is the reminder that everything we do will be revealed. There is nothing that we can hide from God:

For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. ~ Luke 8:17, KJV

It is important for us to live an authentic life that is grounded in Christ.

Find the other chapters here:

Esther Chapter 6

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You are loved by an almighty God,


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