CHUCK SWINDOLL SAID:
THOUGH GOD IS NOT MENTIONED IN THE BOOK OF ESTHER
HIS FINGERPRINTS ARE EVERYWHERE
THE BIBLE IS NOT ABOUT US, BUT ABOUT GOD.
AND WE MUST BE ALERT TO SEE HIS FINGERPRINTS EVERYWHERE.
AS IN OUR WORLD.
This week in our series on Bible study that transforms I want you to be alert to the fingerprints of God in the book of Esther. When we read the Bible as it is meant to be read, with God at the center instead of with us at the center, we read it differently. In the same way, when we look at life with God at the center, and not us at the center, everything changes.
This week be alert to the fingerprints of God in Esther in our study, but also in your life. Take a walk and really see the fingerprints of God in creation. Watch the people in your life and be alert to see the fingerprints of God in them. And even in the hard things in your life this week, be alert to see how God is in them, how He is with you, and how that helps you to trust Him.
It’s a shorter lesson because many of you will be traveling this Labor Day Weekend.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. Share a few ways you have seen the fingerprints of God this summer:
A. In the beauty of the earth
B. In the joy of human love
C. In the storms of life
Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study
If we make Mordecai the hero in Esther, we have to put up with some big chinks in his armor. In fact, we might be tempted to put a spin on his behavior that is a distortion of reality. He’s lived in Susa for most of his life, and no one even knew he was a Jew. What does this tell you?
Some say, for example, that it was noble for him to refuse to bow to Haman. Yet we are told to show respect for those in authority because God instituted the office. Though it is true there are times we are called to disobey because they are asking us to disobey God, it is also true that we are to pray for them and show respect for the office — for it was instigated by God. Daniel models bowing to a king and yet also, when asked to disobey God, respectfully refusing.
There was an ancient feud between the Agagites and the Jews (note how often it is mentioned that Haman is an Agagite and that Mordecai is a Jew) and most commentators agree it was the feud that aggravated Mordecai’s pride and kept him from bowing. It was Mordecai that caused everything to come crashing down — so it takes a lot of stretching to make him the hero of the book of Esther.
The hero of this story is not Mordecai but God. He is with Mordecai and uses him, not because Mordecai is wonderful, but because God is a God of mercy and grace and faithfulness.
There is so much we cannot cover, for this is not meant to be a study of Esther, but a study showing you how to study the Bible in a way that transforms. I am going to show you glimpses of the real Hero.
3. Read Esther 2:19-23
A. What fingerprints of God can you see in this account that prepared Mordecai to have favor with the king?
B. What does it mean to you that God was with Mordecai and was preparing to use him?
4: Observe these “fingerprints of God”
Read Esther 3:7
It is helpful to know that the roll of the dice caused the date for the planned holocaust to be a long way 0ff — in fact the longest possible. This gave time for the Jews to prepare, to become aware of who there real enemies were, and to fast and to pray.
5. Read Esther 4 s l o w l y!
A. When Mordecai tells Esther to go and tell Xerxes that she has hidden from him that she is a Jew, why is she afraid to do it, according to verse 11. (Find at least two reasons)
B. Then God quickens Mordecai in a very persuasive speech. He is using Mordecai, not because Mordecai is a hero, but because God cares for His people. Read it in The Message and then find all the persuasive points that you can.
When Hathach told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai sent her this message: “Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this.”
What persuasive points do you see?
6. How does Esther respond? What transformation do you see?
7. In Esther 5:9, how does God turn the sin of each of these men into His purpose to save His people?
8. In Esther 5:14, how does God use Zeresh to bring down Haman and his descendants?
9. In Esther 6:1, how do you see the fingerprints of God?
10. What have you learned about the importance of putting God at the center of your Bible reading?
11. How have you seen the fingerprints of God in your week thus far? (In creation, life, or Scripture) Share two ways.
Thursday/Friday: Read the following essay at this link and share your thoughts: Link
12. What is your take-a-way and why?