When people are out to get you.
** Sermon audio is not available this week due to technical difficulties we experienced on Sunday morning. We apologize for the inconvenience.
I. The PLOT THICKENS. (Chapter 3)
A. The ELEVATION of an EVIL man. (3:1)
B. MORDECAI makes things DIFFICULT. (3:2-6)
C. The ABDICATION of RESPONSIBILITY. (3:7-11)
D. PLANS for GENOCIDE. (3:12-15)
Last week we saw the character and temperament of Xerxes and how it led to the fall of Queen Vashti and the rise of the new queen, Esther. We also noted that through the whole book of Esther “God” is never mentioned. This week we move on in the story to a series of decision that creates some great tension in the lives of Mordecai and Esther.
1. As you read the story of Esther in chapter 3 and 4, what questions does the text raise in your mind and why?
2. Why do you think Mordecai didn’t honour Haman? When is it proper for us to refuse to surrender to laws or directives in our own society?
3. Can you identify with Mordecai’s grief? When has a decision you made impacted others in a painful way?
II. The NEWS reaches the QUEEN. (Chapter 4)
A. Mordecai’s REACTION and REQUEST. (4:1-8)
B. Esther’s REALITY and RESPONSE. (4:9-11)
C. The DRAMA of the deeper STORY. (4:12-17)
This is no small incident. The wiping out of an entire race because of the offence to one man’s ego is a travesty, but a reality that Esther is forced to face. Mordecai mourns publicly, according to the tradition of the Jews, when the edict is proclaimed. News travels back quickly to Esther.
4. Kid’s question: When have you been scared to do something, but you knew you needed to do it?
5. Have you ever felt God calling you to do something and resisted? What happened in that situation?
III. RESPONDING to our own REALITY. (Eph. 5:15-16)
A. Be CAREFUL defining “PERSECUTION”. (4:3; Is. 8:11-12)
B. We ARE not ALONE in this. (4:12-17; Eph. 4:15-16)
1. WORKING with GOD… (4:16; Phil. 2:12-13)
2. ALONGSIDE of OTHERS. (4:16; Rom. 12:4-5)
C. Expect MOMENTS and embrace RISK. (4:14,16; Jn. 21:21-22)
D. LEAVE the RESULTS to God. (4:16; Ps 37:1-9)
Once again we are confronted with the connections between a story that happened 2500 years ago and our own lives today. What is God saying to us from this proposed genocide of the Jewish people and the actions that it triggered? What is the “truth” in this story and how do we apply it so many years later?
6. How can we tell if we are fighting battles that aren’t really battles? How about when we are trying to live out our faith as individuals instead of a community of believers?
7. When have you had a “moment” that entailed risking something for God? What was the result?
8. Is there an area of your life where God is calling you to act and leave the results to Him? If so, how will you respond to that call?