Friday, April 11, 2008

About Esther

Sweet Pea asked what the month of Adar, month of Nisan, and month of Sivan meant in the text. These are the names of months in the Hebrew calendar. IC posted the list of them. Adar is the 12th month, considered the last month in the Hebrew year, and it is the month in which the festival of Purim is celebrated based on the Jews deliverance from Haman’s plot. The month of Adar (February/March) is also considered the happiest month of the Jewish year because of Purim. The motto of that month is, “When Adar comes, joy is increased.” Nisan is the first month of the Hebrew year and is considered the month of “Ziv”, which means “beauty.” It begins about when our spring begins in March/April. Our calendar, by the way, comes from the Greeks and Romans' calendar.

Esther (Hebrew name Hadassah) lived in the 5th century before Christ, after the massive exile of 75 percent of the Jews from the Holy Land, following the fall of the city of Jerusalem. Esther was in Persia, which is modern day Iran/Iraq. Anti-Semitism ran strong in the countries into which they fled – as it still does. Many Jews concealed their heritage and religious beliefs during this period, and Esther’s uncle advised her to do so as well. She might have been disqualified to rise to the status of Queen of Persia otherwise.

Once she enters the king’s harem, from which the next queen would be chosen, we see Esther’s wisdom (combined with God’s favor). She looked to the king’s eunuch (a castrated male) in charge of the harem for guidance. This man knows the king. He has taken many a gal to appear before the king and he would know what “worked” and what didn’t in the king’s eyes. After a year of various beauty treatments and a special diet, her turn came, though she was not over eager like the other girls. She had a sense of value and dignity that came from another source. Sure enough, that shines through along with her great beauty, and she wins the king over and becomes queen.

Meanwhile, another of the king’s men, Haman, is much more powerful in status than the lowly eunuch. In fact, Haman requires that people bow before him when they see him. When Haman encounters Esther’s uncle Mordecai, the man refused to bow explaining that his Jewish beliefs didn’t permit him to bow to anyone but God. Haman is outraged and seeks death for not only Mordecai but also all the Jews. (I once read that Esther was a descendant of King Saul, while Haman was a descendant of King Agag who’s empire Saul nearly wiped out, but not completely, which set them keen on revenge.)

Haman casts lots – which would be something akin to throwing dice – to decide the best date to carry out his lethal plot. He believed his gods would determine the outcome of the lot casting. Therefore, the day of death is set for 11 months in the future. Then Haman had the king send out a decree that the killing will take place on March 7 and anyone who killed a Jew on that day could take all that Jew's possessions.

Can you imagine being a Jew after this decree goes out? Can you imagine living knowing that people have permission to kill you in 11 months? Can you image the Persians eyeing you and your possessions each day while plotting your death? The Jews considered Haman purely evil.

Mordecai challenges Esther to use her position to do something about this. She hesitates a bit, knowing she could die trying to contact the king to discuss this, and not even pull it off. Then she would die and so would the Jews a few months later. What would you be thinking? What would you plan to do?

Mordecai seeks to convince her to move into action. He tells her she may hold this position (by God’s doing) for such as time as this. She was a Jewish orphan who had become the queen of a non-Jewish empire! In fact, he tells her not to assume that she can escape death herself by keeping quiet about her heritage because he assures her, “If you keep quiet about this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place." (In other words he seems to be saying if you do not step up to fulfill God's purpose for you in His grand plan for His people to be spared, God will carry out His grand plan some other way and you will miss out.) Sobering thought, huh?

So Esther wisely calls for a 3 day fast, we can assume to beseech the LORD. She realizes she has two playing cards in her hand: 1) She has favor with the king … the only problem is she can’t speak with him unless he summons her, to do so is risking death, and 2) she is a Jew herself, though the king doesn’t know it. If she could just get an audience with the king, she could play these two cards together and see if its enough to win the hand against Haman. She decides to risk her death to play her hand.

The king wholeheartedly receives her when she shows up unannounced in his inner court – so far, so good, she evaded death. What’s more, he offers to meet her request, whatever it is. Instead of telling him the deal, she invites him – and Haman! – to dinner. At dinner, she still doesn’t tell him the deal, though he keeps asking her what she wants and telling her he will grant it. She invites them both back for another dinner, promising to explain her request then.

Why did she keep delaying? Was she working up the nerve? Was she trying to butter up the king first? It seems the king was already in the palm of her hand. Was she keeping Haman away from Moredcai as best she could? Or perhaps Esther was simply following God’s leading each step of the way … perhaps He was whispering to her heart, “not just yet, there is something else I want to do first”?

Next, we see an interesting twist happen. Haman leaves the dinner with the king and queen feeling very important and proud. He sees Mordecai again, feels "dissed" and decides Mordecai needs to die immediately. Haman builds a gallows that night after his feast with Esther and plans to hang Mordecai on it the next day. Only at the same time, the king cannot sleep and reads the history book only to find Mordecai had once saved his royal life and had never been thanked for it. So the king decides to honor Mordecai. The next morning, before Haman could ask for Mordecai's death, the king asks Haman how best to honor someone. Haman spouts off his own dream list of ways he wants to be honored. Then the king sends Haman to honor Mordecai in that way, on that day!

“Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.” ~ Proverbs 16:18

“God sets Himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” ~ James 4:6

After that humiliating experience for Haman, he and the king go once again to have dinner with Esther as planned. This time when the king asks what she wants, Esther tells him the whole deal. Haman is exposed and winds up hanged that very night on the very gallows He built for Mordecai the Jew.

God wasn’t finished reversing things ... the decree to kill the Jews was also reversed by another decree that would not only give them protection from others seeking their harm but it gave them the right to seize the possessions of anyone who might try to harm them on March 7. So, God’s people were saved and Esther was their queen-heroine.

The name Esther is often said to mean “star” in the Persian language. However, a great many Jews translate it, such as in the Hebrew Midrash, to mean “hidden.” In fact, in the Jewish mindset, the book of Esther is all about hidden things that become known. Esther’s Jewish identity was hidden, but became known. Haman’s evil nature was hidden, but came to light. And, God, who seems to be “hidden” in this book of the Old Testament, comes to light … shining through between the lines of the plot for those who have spiritual eyes to see Him there.

Esther’s book is a fascinating story and an interesting book to me because it seems to reflect the way most of our lives are lived as Christians today. We pray, we fast, we seek wise counsel from scripture and from friends, and we try to do what we think God wants us to do. Then we have to trust Him that it will turn out OK. For the most part, there are no angels stopping by to tell us that we will have a baby in a year, like Sarah had. There are no audible voices and burning bushes like Abraham experienced. We, like Esther in this story, simply have to try to discern God’s leading in our hearts, His purpose for our lives, and then take the risk to follow that.


You tell us, what came to light for you in the story of Esther?

78 comments:

  1. Hi All,
    Certain xters of Esther kept jumping out at me as i read the story.

    1. She was humble. Even tho' she was chosen out of thousands of girls by the King himself....She did not let that get to her head.
    Another woman in a similar situation would have leaned on her favour with the king and probably wont have remembered to lean on God by asking her people to pray and fast with her. She realises the situation was more than she would be able to handle without God's intervention.

    2. She was PATIENT & WISE. I imagine if i were in her shoes i might have jumped at the opportunity given by the King when he said she shld ask anything she wanted and he would give her. She applied wisdom and patience and as a result she got more than she bargained for. God caused the king to honour her uncle by the same man who was planning evil against him.

    A lot of times in our lives, we miss out on God's grand plans for our life bcos we hasten to do things and neglect the voice of the Holy spirit telling us...Not now....!!

    3. She was also a brave and considerate woman. She heeded Mordecai even tho she knew it could lead to her death.
    Her rational could have been.......I stand a better chance of living if i hide behind this royal status where nobody knows i am a jew than if i approach the king and risk death.

    Those r some of the things i got from reading the passage.
    Has anyone seen " one night with the King"? It's all about Esther. Nice movie.

    Looking forward to reading from everybody.

    Prayer point pls.............
    I lost a pregnancy last year ( would have been my second child).
    Now i am pregnant again and i need prayers to NOT walk in fear as a result of what happened the last time.
    I have a couple of friends praying with me. But it is so important for me to walk in confidence of God's promise that i know the devil is going to try and push in some fears. Thus the prayer request.

    Thanks all.

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  2. Good morning everyone,
    I realize this is a little off topic, but will some one please explain to me why Uncle Mordecai would not bow down to Haman? After all, Esther had no problem bowing down to King Xerxes. For that matter, Abigail bowed down to David and Joseph’s brothers bowed down to him. Joseph was second in charge... just like Haman, right?
    Thanks for your help with this.
    Elizabeth in Maryland

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  3. First off, to lolls...my prayers will be with you, as well as many other woman I'm sure. Congratulations on this miracle. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings!
    About Esther....
    This passage clearly told me (the holy spirit did) to allow God to deal with the pride of man. Remain humble, and don't jump to my own defense. God is in control. He knows our hearts. Praise God!

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  4. I really loved Esther's story. As lolls said, "patient, wise and humble".. how I wish I had more of Esther's qualities.
    Patience to wait on God instead of rushing ahead thinking I know best. I ask for your prayers to help me be more patient and to wait on God. I really struggle with this one.
    I am often amazed by how the women of the O.T. have these qualities with all the hardships they go through. What faith!
    lolls, my prayers are with you and your growing child.
    have a great weekend all.
    joan

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  5. I think about Esther as she goes through her preparation...A year she goes through eating right, excercising right...being groomed to be queen-- if chosen. I can not even imagine! All of the qualities that you have listed I would agree with. She was a very gutsey young women. Her strength was incredible. Her soundness of mind was stupendous. God took care of every detail--His timing was perfect. Thanks for sharing some more of the background commentary with us Rachel. We will be praying for your blessing, lolls-

    JoAnn-Slidell

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  6. The stress she must have been under deciding what to do, looking for God's guidance when her life was at risk....I admire her courage very much. She made no rash decisions, as the men in the story seem to do, she fasted and prayed, seeking God's guidance. She is definitely a role model to us today
    Beth Ann/Ohio

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  7. Thanks, Rachel, for your comments. I also was struck by Mordecai’s blatant resistance to Haman’s demand. Mordecai’s behaviour was certainly not hidden—I expect the Lord was behind him in that, a part of God’s plan. Esther’s part in God’s plan was certainly not an easy role to play, but young as I imagine that she must have been, she relied on all the gifts and talents the Lord had given her, and she accepted and acted prudently on the advice of her uncle. Her manner and actions remind me to look more carefully into how I behave towards the Lord and worthy advice. Am I willing to allow God complete control of me, in order to bring to fruition His desired plan?
    That’s my prayer for you, lolls, while you await this new baby. In the meantime, may you enjoy your family and first child with all of God’s peace and love in your heart.

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  8. Thanks Rachel for your insights on Esther. I see Esther as a great woman of faith. I love the verse when she says “And if I perish, I perish”. I’ve read this story many times and never realized that God was not mentioned in this book. That tells me that although I may not see God’s hand working He is always there working behind the scenes. It also tells me to read between the lines of my life before I start thinking that God is not working on my behalf. Esther surrounded herself with someone she knew could help her prepare to become the queen. That let’s me know we have to chose wisely the people we surround ourselves with. We are Queens but do we also surround ourselves with people that will help his walk as a Queen should walk? We maybe the only Bible someone will read, we don’t have to walk around with a bible 24/7 and every word that comes out of our mouth does not have to be God and Jesus for someone to see there is something different about us. In our day to day actions they should see Christ in us even if we never say a word.

    I may not know everyone by name but I want you all to know that I left up everyone on this site in prayer. That is the great thing about our God I don’t have to know names and even when I forget with the need was God knows just who I’m talking about.

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  9. God has the timing for her as he does for us, patience is the key.
    I too need to stop listen have more patience and not just be so ready to jump into things, As it is said, and i repeat this to myself often, "Relax God is in Control". Great Story, Thanks Rachel!!!
    Hard for me to focus today Please help me pray for my Mom, As most of you know we just lost my brother due to a horrible accident. But last night We had to put down our dog that we lovedddd so much, and it was very hard. she was a beautiful shepard, it was like opening all the wounds all over again. I am sooo worried about my Mom! She is all I have left, 75yrs old... pleaseee keep her in your prayers... I am really trying to be strong myself, so she can't see to keep her as calm as possible, but you know inside I hurt too. I just pray everyday that my Lord give me strength, and peace. Thank You to You ALL!!
    God Bless You
    Sharon/Florida

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  11. Thank you all for ur prayers. i am fortunate to be connected to u all thru this bible study

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  12. Thanks Rachel for explaining the book of Esther. She was a very brave woman who loved God and His chosen people. She had to have sought God's guidance and put Him in total control in order for her to do what Mordecai asked her to do. God is a loving God who wants to help us all, but we must give Him complete control. Mordecai reminds me of Daniel. He had no fear and followed God's plan. I need more faith and trust. The two people who asked for prayer, I will be praying for you as well as all the others. Reading Esther has been an eye-opener, especially for me.

    I have started a blog but am having a difficult time getting everything on there to make it work. If anyone looks at it and can give me some advice I would appreciate it. I'm not even sure how to sign in with my Blogger name. The Website is litlal.blogspot.com.

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  13. I found this story to be fascinating! There are so many qualities about Esther that I admire, but the point that *really* jumped out at me was how the story unfolded...Esther prayed, fasted, prayed again & TRUSTED that God would deliver...much like Christians today. I think these events are a clear example of how the Lord works in our lives & how we must have FAITH that He will deliver.

    LOVE this story!!
    Pat in NYC

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  14. Debbie in Goose Creek,SCApril 11, 2008

    Rachel--you summed up how we ALL need to approach life's problems through prayer..."to discern God’s leading in our hearts, His purpose for our lives, and then take the risk to follow that". We so quickly try to FIX the situation by our interference or perhaps pray and if we have no answer that day, we do whatever to fix the situation. I want to 'Be Still and Know' that He is God more often. I want to pray and then patiently listen for answers. Sometimes we get answers we don't like and do it our way any way. Esther prayed, got good counsel,had others pray and then (even though she was scared) followed what she knew God wanted.
    I want to be like that. :o)My son and son-in-law need good jobs(smart-educated-sweet Godly men) and nothing comes through, even after many searches and interviews. I cry out to God often and say,"What can I do?" I just 'feel' Him say, "Keep praying...I'm in control...I know best." The waiting is so hard. Debbie

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  15. Esther is clearly able to put herself aside to follow God's plan. If she did not give Mordecai credit for learning of the assassination attempt, it would not have been in the record book for the king to remember. This may have saved Modecai's life.

    Esther did not see how she could approach the king without dying. She prepared herself to ultimately face the threat to her life to fulfill God's purpose for her. What most came to light for me is how that can relate to God's call on my life.

    Isn't it easier to follow God's directions when you have an idea where they are leading you? The path of the unknown can seem threatening. When we face the threat, seek God's will and trust God, He will bless us (and others through us) in ways we could never imagine. May we all have Esther's courage.

    Lolls - I will keep you in my prayers.

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  16. Throughout this reading I was struck by Esthers’ courage, wisdom and faith. I was almost moved to tears when I read Esther 4:13-14, “ Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
    I can’t imagine what she felt at that exact moment, realizing that her divine destiny was to save her people.
    And I am so impressed that she accepted her destiny, even though she could have lost her own life for approaching the king without being called. Her obedience even led to her being allowed to change the law, allowing Jews to not only defend themselves, but also slay their enemies. How many of us pray to know God’s will for our life? When it came down to it, would I be so willing and obedient if God did reveal His will, and I had a “such a time as this” moment in my life? I can only hope so and am now inspired to work on building my faith and strengthening my character just in case! What a woman!

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  17. First I just want to say how much I enjoy reading everyones shares...it's so enlighting!!!

    What stands out most for me in Esther is...once again...be patient and wait on the Lord...as with all the others we've read before this. And then to know that she had a very specific act that the Lord wanted her to do to save the Jews makes me wonder how many opportunities we might have in our lives to be in the same position and because I didn't have patience and trust fully in the Lord that I might have missed it. It encourages me to be more aware of my walk in faith and to look for opportunities that Christ might ask me to do something so that I can be a more willing servant.

    JT - Southern IL

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  18. I was struck in the first chapter by:
    how long a time that the celebrations were going on--6 months of showing off his wealth and power,
    and the fact the author felt inclined to mention all the names of the 7 eunuchs serving King XerXes as well as his advisors.
    It appears the King was mighty, ruling 127 provinces and pridefully wanting to show off his wealth. No wonder his pride called for dethroning his Queen when she refused to be displayed.
    I also kept thinking about Ester in the year of preparation how she kept her focus on God. I just imagine with all those potential "queens " under one roof that there had to be stiff competition among all of them. I was picturing some of the TV reality shows like top model or the bachelor and how "katty" the women were with one another. Did anyone else think of that? Was Esters unwillingness to play that game what favored her with Hegai?
    With all the focus and preparation on outward beauty how did Ester remain close with God.
    I know how much I struggle when I get caught up in worldly things. Did she have other believers that she lived with during that time?
    These questions make me ask myself how or what would I have chosen to do. Thanks everyone for all your insight into another Woman of God.

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  19. Lolls, I have been in your shoes 3 times, and am currently working on building my faith as we are going to try for our second child soon. I have lifted you up and will continue to stand in faith for you. A dear friend gave me a book that includes this prayer to rebuke fear and doubts just thought I'd share it.

    "Father, I come before You in the mighty name of Jesus and the covenant of blood, and I rebuke fear and doubt and unbelief. Your Word says You have not given me a spirit of fear but of love and power and of a sound mind. Your Word also says that fear has torment but that perfect love casts out fear and that God is love, and I've got God living big in me so fear and torment go far from me now in Jesus' name. I trust in the Lord; I will not fear; I will not be afraid. I have the mind of Christ and the peace of God. My mind and my body, as well as my spirit, are relaxed and at peace. I refuse to let my heart be troubled or afraid.

    The Lord, Most High, is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord, El Shaddi, is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?

    (protection against miscarriage/casting fruit before time)
    Bring ye all tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
    And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:10, 11

    Body, I speak to you to be at peace, relax, rest. Muscles, nerves, be at peace. I rest in faith in God's Word and thank You, Father, for total and complete peace and confidence in Jesus' name, Amen.

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  20. I prayed for deeper understanding and this reading finally produced that!! My husband and I are just starting to enter the empty nest and we are asking God where he wants us to go and what he wants us to do. I want to know now what his plan is but what have we been learning....WAIT upon the Lord!

    I was struck by several things:

    1) Preparation
    Esther spent an entire year in preparation. Ask God to show you further preparation that you need to fulfill his plan. Then embrace it. This prep time is so we will be well equipped when the time comes to act.
    Ask the Lord to show you people who are sources of wisdom and Godly counsel.



    2)God's plan
    What were Esther's dreams before the young ladies were ushered to the King? God's plans may be different then our plans. Following God requires sacrifice and a willingness to be uncomfortable- during this time do your good deeds for the Lord and not for others

    I think about all the "Nabal" responses. I have prayed for you. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband. I am sure you have questioned why you are where you are?
    God has placed us where we are for His purposes. Look for the opportunities around you, your neighborhood, workplace and yes, even your home for ways the Lord wants you to partner with him in the work of His Kingdom.


    As Joyce Meyers commentates:
    Stand still and trust God. Enter into God's rest and seek the welfare of others and speak peace to everyone you meet. Quit worrying and trying to figure out everything that is going on in your life. When you are tempted to waiver, take your position and see the salvation God has planned for you.

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  21. ttm...... Thanks a lot for the encouraging words. And the prayer . I have copied it. Is the book by any chance " supernatural childbirth"? If it's not, i would love u to look for it and buy. it is a wonderful book. i have an old copy of it.
    I shall be praying for you and by the grace of God we shall give wonderful testimonies here even as we stand in gap for ea.
    The Lord if ur strength

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  22. Lolls, it sure is Supernatural Childbirth. What an impact that book has had in my life. I look forward to our joyful testimonies!
    Be blessed!

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  23. This is my 1st time to post. I haven't had the courage before now.

    This is an awesome bible study and all of you ladies have great insight.

    I've wanted so much to ask for prayer because I feel like my life is so crazy and out of control right now. The only thing that I am sure of, is that I can count on God, although I will need great patience. I would be so gracious if you would pray for me physically, mentally and emotionally. Thanks to all of you! You have been very encouraging and inspiring to me, just like the women that we've been reading about. A special Thanks! to Rachel. Blessings to all of you.

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  24. Esther is a much debated book in the Bible. It is never mentioned again and some think the book is untrue. Some think it is just a story. The author put details in the book I think in order to show it is true (dates, names, places).

    I agree with Anonymous who pointed out the importance of preparation and God's plan in the story. God even today uses time, trials, and our prayer life to prepare us to do His will. He molds us in these times. These are our beauty treatment, making us acceptable in His sight and allowing our inner beauty, which is heightened by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, to shine.

    God has a plan for us, a plan to prosper us, and not to harm us, a plan to give us hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11). He orchestrates our actions and puts us into position to carry out his will. And he is with us always! Today, in a devotion written by Charles Stanley, "God’s will, the great discovery" http://www.intouch.org/site/c.dhKHIXPKIuE/b.2264355/k.BE55/Home.htm), he talks about misconceptions we all have re: God's plan. I have pasted part of the devotion here:

    “Some believe it’s a special bit of knowledge that He imparts only to super-spiritual people. Others think, it’s simply His call to do something dangerous, painful, or uncomfortable. Too often, God’s will is seen as something we have to do, whether we want to or not.

    God’s will isn’t something to fear. It’s meant to give us clarity of purpose and power to live a life of many blessings. It provides us with direction at every turn.”

    Dr. Stanley likens following God's will to driving with GPS directions on. He suggests we let God lead us turn-by-turn because He knows where we're going and how to get there safely. I think Ester did this at each "turn" in her story; when she prayed before going un-asked before the King, when she did not give her request to the King until he had asked three times, when she invited both the King and Haman to dinner twice, and when she revealed the story to the King. God was doing the steering.

    What a great example! My prayer is to increase my faith and allow God to drive even if I can't see the destination.

    I also pray every day for all of you and the trials you are going through. Please rest in Him and be assured that His plan is to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.

    Have a blessed weekend!

    - Karen, CA

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  25. I made notes when I read this three days ago...so bear with me as I desifer my notes.

    I noticed characteristics of Esther. She had beauty inside and out. She didn't reveal her background out of honor for Mordecai. She asked for nothing when presented to the king. She was not taken in by the "prestige" of being in line as queen. She gave credit to Mordecai for revealing the conspiracy. She went to the king, against the law, putting her life in jeopardy, which showed great courage and bravery. She felt her convictions and stood for what was right. She allowed the Spirit to be stronger than her fear...she was willing to sacrifice herself for God's way. She was very bold in requesting the King's presence at dinner without being willing to share the reason. She stood her ground and continued not to reveal her request as he continued to ask. She was highly trusted and regarded by the king and wrote a decree as best SHE saw it.

    My thoughts after reading and reflecting today...
    The king must have been really smitten to grant Esther's request without even hearing it!!!!! Or maybe it showed his high respect for her knowing she wouldn't ask for anything unwise or foolish. At any rate, wouldn't we love to have our requests granted by our bosses (or whomever) without even hearing the request!

    I think this is the best "novel" of all that we've read. There is so much suspence and intrigue. I think those who really struggle with reading the Bible, particularly the OT, just need to give it a chance. This book was so easy to read in the sense of following it just like a story or novel. There's so much truth and value in ALL of the Bible.

    Many of you have brought up why Mordecai didn't bow to Haman. That is a good question and I too would like clarification of that. Rachel can you address that? Or does anyone else know? I'll have to re-read that section and see if my Bible comments on that.

    Also, I have a note asking: is this Benjamin the son of Rachel and Jacob. I guess there was a Benjamin mentioned in the text. Does anyone know????

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  26. I wonder how many times I am not a willing vessel to follow God's plan for my life, or to be used in the lives of those around me. How many times does He choose someone else to do the job? I pray that I can be like Esther and be willing to take risks (mine aren't quite life-and-death ones!!) I pray today for the courage to speak out for Him and make a difference!

    Lori/Canada

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  27. Sweetpea,

    Yes, the Benjamin listed in the son of Jacob and Rachael, Joseph's brother and one of the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel.

    I personally think that Mordecai did not bow down to Haman for a couple of reasons; one, Haman was descended from the Amalekites (interestingly enough, descendent from Esau’s first born), arch enemies of Saul, from whom Mordecai was descended. Second, since Mordecai is clearly faithful to God, he may have felt bowing down to Haman, who was not Mordecai's lawful king, was heresy
    .

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  28. What really stuck out to me, was the fact that God didn't prevent the attack from their enemies. He simply gave them the strength and courage to fight and gave them victory. I always expect God to stop the bad circumstances and sometimes he does, but not always. Most of the time he provides another way out. That way is through the fire.

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  29. Hi Everyone,

    I absolutely loved this chapter. Wow, how I wish I would be more like Esther and have Uncle Mordecai's faith (if you don't do this our help will arise from another source). I picture Esther as someone who really could have done without all that beauty preparation. I think her inner beauty, her wisdom, and a humble spirit made her just adorable! It is probably a little naughty of me, but I loved it when Haman's plan backfired on him. It was almost comical how he had to show honor to Mordecai.

    I love reading all of your comments. Almost everyone brings something new to me.

    lolls- congratulations.
    Delight thyself also in the
    Lord; and he shall give
    thee the desires of thine
    heart.
    Psalm 37:4

    Lifting you all up in my prayers. Thanks for yours!

    Love
    Dana

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  30. Oh, this study is so great. I anticipate the comments from all you Rachel and from all of the ladies. This has helped me read and study God's word more than I have ever in my life.
    I, also like the others, want the confidence that Esther had. She had to be patient with all of the grooming that he had to do first.

    I just think if I had my own personal trainer to encourage me like she did, I too, would exercise more, eat healthier, and study his word. Esther did everything to get herself ready to be presented to the King, physically and mentally. It makes me stop and ask myself, Am I getting ready for the King? Am I doing what needs to be done to save my people? Am I fasting and praying anticipating the arrival of The King? Because He's coming again and I need to be ready.

    Thanks again for this study.

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  31. Hi Rachel & ladies,
    I have been here reading, but haven't posted lately. I really love this story. Queen Esther is so brave and awesome. She really does have God's favor, and God's prescence is very evident although he is not specifically mentioned. The previous Queen had been kicked out after showing disrespect, or refusing to take part in, the King Xerxe's request to wear the royal crown and show off her beauty to his friends during a party. The king consulted his advisors and they were afraid of the trouble all the women would cause in their households if they discovered what had happened. So he pretty much did it to save his pride and that of his advisors. It seemed to me that he later felt a little guilty for making such a harsh decision, but he did it any way to go with the crowd.
    Then Queen Esther was so bold to break the LAW and go in to see the king without having been requested, but he didn't have her killed and he didn't consult his advisors either about what to do with a woman who breaks the law(God's prescence was apparent here).

    I am reminded of the importance of going to God first with my worries rather then acting first without consulting God. Esther prayed and fasted and enlisted in her other prayer warriors to do the same before going forward with her actions.

    Just wondering if anyone knows, but how come the Jews didn't take any plunder after they slaughtered their enemies although they had been granted permission to do so by the second decree that was issued?

    Praise God in his infinite glory!
    For those who seek Him
    They shall Find.
    Tender hearts open and waiting
    For the whisper of his voice.

    God Bless you all!

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  32. Esther truly knew the meaning of the saying "Be still so that you may hear the whispers of God" Not only did she hear them, she listened & obeyed. She TRUSTED God with her life. She knew the power of prayer and fasting. What a great role model for us to follow. There is no doubt in my mind that God's hands covered her and Mordecai.
    Bless you all.
    Tommie

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  33. What comes to mind is the obvious.... God is awesome... he can turn anything into your favor if you let him... And for the record, I have been talking with a man about a place and he is going to approve me despite my "misfortune". Ain't God something? (smile) Just had to share it with you all who have been praying for me and my other internet sisters. Plantlady, you are beautiful... Rachel, I would love to meet you one day.... I am giving everyone a "virtual hug " and kiss... God Bless... have a great weekend.

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  34. As I read all your thoughts I hear the song "Everlasting God" in my head. "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord!"

    Esther did just that! She waited for the right time and then trusted God enough to take that "step of faith". A lesson for me to learn.

    Blessings!

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  35. I've read all your comments, and you gals have said it all; I just wanted to agree with 5Skis about the "step of faith"; that's what I mainly meditated on after reading the book of Esther. I need to trust more in God, pray and fast and then GO FOR IT, but I sometimes don't act with faith and lose that opportunity to grow in Him. Esther's faith is admirable!

    Have a blessed weekend!

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  36. Everyone's comments are so inspiring to me. I to would like to have Esther's faith and be patient and wait upon the Lord.
    I'm praying for everyone that is requesting pray. Iwould like to ask for everyone just to remember me and my family in pray. Thanks Cassandra From VIrginia

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  37. Hi Ladies,
    I know we are posting comments on Esther but I need your prayers. Today when I got out of the shower and got dressed, I noticed my left breast was hurting. I checked it and noticed blood on my bra. I called and made an apt. with the doctor who got me right in and she looked at it. She said she thought it was just a scrap/cut but to be 100% sure she has ordered a mamogram and sonogram scheduled for Mon at 8:20am. She asked if breast cancer runs in my family, which it doesn't but when you here that word you know what runs through your mind. Please pray with me that it nothing but a scrap/cut and also that the Lord gives me peace through the weekend to keep focused on Him and not the "what if's". The enemy will try to use this to get to me and I need the Lords strenght to keep me strong and not let him get to me. I know you all are great prayer worriors so thanks for your prayers!
    Blessings to each of you ~
    Christi in TX

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  38. One of the most important things I took away from this reading is that I need to trust that God will do His part when I face challenges. It was obvious that Esther had faith in God's protection and wisdom when she approached the King and asked for him to reverse the decree to kill the Jews. In the same way, I need to pray to God and listen to what he wants me to do during life's challenges and be confident that he will do his part. Typically, I worry and become anxious during life's struggles instead of doing what I can and handing the rest over to God. In contrast, Esther took action with confidence because she knew God was with her. When I struggle with anxiety, I try to remember the Serenity Prayer (God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference). Esther strikes me as a woman who undeniably had the serenity, courage and wisdom that God wants us all to accept as His gifts to us in challenging times.

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  39. Christi in TX,
    You are in my thoughts and prayers! Keep your eyes on Jesus. He is in control. I know you must be apprehensive of the situation. I have had a similar situation when a mammogram I had showed something abnormal...but after another look, it was O.K. Trust in the Lord with all your might! I'll be praying for you!

    Love,
    Plant Lady

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  40. To--Iwanttobegodly, I will lift you up in prayer, that God will surround you with a hedge of protection.
    Christi in TX. You are so right, satan will use whatever he can to get to us. Enjoy your weekend and know that God is with you. This is a time when you can use the faith and trust that we've all been talking about. Yes it's hard, but I'm sure all of us will be praying for you.
    Lolls---congrats and remember God did not give us the spirit of fear.
    Now ladies if you don't mind could you lift me up in prayer. For the last few months I've had a terrible fear that I'm going to die. I have been having panic attacks which I loose my breath and feel like I'm smothering. I have acid reflux and on meds for that, but they don't seem to be helping. I get a pinching feeling in my chest.Dr says my heart sounds good. I have to go back to the dr in 2 more weeks and since the chest exray, back exray didn't show anything, she may do an upper gi or a ct scan. I know that the panic attacks are from satan. Thank you Rachel and each lady here for your friendships and prayers.
    In Him
    Tommie from Ky

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  41. I loved everyones comments and learn so much from each of you. As I read them, I find my self saying YES! to the computer like we all were in a room together having a conversation. I am so blessed by all of you! I am learning so much. Thanks Rachel for pulling us all together in this study!

    Isn't it awesome when we go through something and sometimes don't feel God's presence, but when our trial is over and we look back, we can see His fingerprints everywhere!! I love it!! Thank you Jesus!

    Also I think it is so wonderful how Esther risked her own life for what was right! To help carry out Gods plan. I wonder how many times the Lord has called me to do something and I didn't do it because of disobiedence or just not listening and He used something or someone else to fullfil this perfect plan. Man did I miss out or what! I pray that I have my ears open to hear His voice and my eyes turned upward gazing on Him so I make sure I never miss out on anything has in store for me!

    Thanks for your prayers!
    Blessings ~ Christi in TX

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  42. You are all in my prayers.

    May the Peace that can only come from God fill your hearts and minds!

    Hugs!

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  43. What I noticed about the story was the fact that Esther got the Jews of Susa to fast (not eat or even drink anything for 3 days!) and also she and her maids did the same. She was deadly serious about enlisting Gods help and would not even begin to try anything without covering herself fully.
    Someone mentioned they would have told the King the problem when he first told her she could have whatever request she wanted. I can relate to that! I too would have blurted out what I wanted straight away. What patience and wisdom she showed. When God is fully involved he usually wants us to be patient for His answer. Think about it: PATIENCE IS THE MAIN INGREDIENT OF FAITH.
    Jillian -NZ

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  44. In response to Elizabeth in Maryland:
    I think that the choice by all of these people you mentioned, as to whether they would or would not bow down to someone, had much to do with respect or lack of respect for that person. God’s word tells us to give honor to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7 “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” KJV ). Abigail would have no problem honoring David nor Jacob’s sons honoring Joseph (who saved their family and showed forgiveness to them in spite of their evil intentions for him). Even Esther had respect for her husband and king. But for Mordecai to bow down to an arrogant and evil man such as Haman would be offering respect and dignity to a man who did not deserve it and who actually deserved scorn. Sometimes we must make a distinction between the office and the person who fills it. When someone in a position of respect abuses the power of that office, we must choose to not honor the individual but respect the office. More and more we see that in our own society where individuals actually bring disgrace to the office to which they have been elected or promoted, by behavior which brings shame to it.

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  46. Hello All,
    I love this story of Esther it shows God's Sovreign hand weaving all through it, even though His name is not mentioned. Last year I read this book of Esther in the Bible, then I read Chuck Swindol's book about Esther and then I watched the movie "One Night with the King", very good movie, and Chuck Swindols book is excellent.
    I took away from this God has a plan for each of us and I am sure there have been times in my life someone else has done what I was supposed to because I chose to ignore the still small voice of God. Esther was a very courageous woman indeed.
    I am praying for each one of you: lolls for your pregnancy, trust in God and lean not to your own understanding of things, I lost a baby, my second child he died one hour after birth, I carried him for eight months...God is faithful, loving and in His mercy I gave birth to a happy, very healthy baby boy the next year, keep praying and put your trust in Him.
    Christi, in TX. I too have had a scare with a mammogram everything turned out okay...PRAISE GOD...put your trust in Him, He will take care of you.
    For all the rest of you, I am praying as I go down this list each time.
    Rachel many blessings to you.
    God Bless, Josie

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  47. What an incredible risk Esther had to take, and yet she handled it with grace, wisdom, and patience. She didn't seem to even stress out about it. She must have completely trusted God to get her through!

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  48. Hey my sister in KY... I also suffer from Acid Reflux Disease and I had pains so bad in my early twenties, I feared the worst and had a mammogram. Apparently, stress tends to worsen the condition and I have learned that the more I used those prescribed drugs, the more dependent I felt. I cut back on my morning coffee and other foods, and praise God, I only take it if necessary. The enemy will use anything--our bodies, our minds, our pocketbooks to scare us. But don't give up, I will continue to lift you up in prayer as well as Christi in Tx. It will be okay... remember you are a Daughter of God and I love you... May God continue to bless everyone...

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  49. I have prayed for those who've asked, and know God is active in your lives at this very moment. His ways are wise, and He uses everything for His/our good. We may not see it, it may be painful and hard, but will draw us closer to Him and be used by Him. Trust Him. Always. Who better to trust! Our heavenly Father wants only what's best for us, because He loves us so very much. More than we ever can imagine. Count on that, it's true.

    Please send up prayers also for me in my job, working for someone who seems more and more filled with anger, hate, resentment, and evil. It's clear to me that the devil want to crush a spirit that loves and want to serve God in any way I can! I know God wins. I know I can trust in Him, always. I need Him to implant love for this person, so that I can be an example of His love, even when it feels imposible. He can put that in me. Thanks ladies. I'm greatly enriched by us sharing with each other, and praying for each other. I've said many "yes!" and "Amen"'s to my computer too! :)

    Love ya
    Traci, WA state

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  50. I loved the fact that Esther displayed such wisdom, courage and humility. She was very humble despite being Queen. What came to light for me was the benefits of "favor". Esther had favor with the enuch and the King and I am quite sure this is because she had GOD's favor resting upon her as well. Favor can open doors that money can't. Also, you can't go wrong when you are fasting and praying. That alone is powerful. I just loved reading this book. It is one of my favorite ones.

    LaTonya-FL

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  51. To answer your questions as to why Mordecai would not bow down to Haman.

    John MacArthur states the following: The historical genesis for the drama played out between Mordecai (a Benjamite descendant of Saul--Esther 2:5) and Haman (an Agagite-- Esther 3:1,10; 8:3,5; 9:24) goes back almost 1,000 years when the Jews exited from Egypt (ca.1445 B.C.) and were attacked by the Amalekites (Ex. 17:8-16), which lineage began with Amalek, son of Esau (Gen. 36:12). God pronounced His curse on the Amalekites, which resulted in their total elimination as a people (Ex. 17:14; Deut. 25: 17-19). Although Saul (ca.1030 B.C.) received orders to kill all the Amalekites, including their king Agag (1 Sam. 15: 2,3), he disobeyed (1 Sam. 15: 7-9) and incurred God's displeasure (1 Sam. 15:11, 26; 28:18). Samuel finally hacked Agag into pieces (1 Sam. 15: 32,33). Because of his lineage from Agag, Haman carried deep hostility toward Jews.

    The time of Esther arrived 550 years after the death of Agag, but in spite of such passage of time, neither Haman the Agagite nor Mordecai the Benjamite had forgotten the tribal feud that still smoldered in their souls. This explains why Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman (3:2,3) and why Haman so viciously attempted to exterminate the Jewish race (3:5,6,13). As expected God's prophecy to extinguish the Amalekites (Ex. 17:14; Deut. 25:17-19) and God's promise to preserve the Jews (Gen 17:1-8) prevailed.

    Esther could be compared to a chess game. God and Satan (as invisible players) moved real kings, queens, and nobles. When Satan put Haman into place, it was as if he announced "Check." God then positioned Esther and Mordecai in order to put Satan into "Checkmate!" Ever since the fall of man (Gen. 3: 1-19), Satan has attempted to spiritually sever God's relationship with His human creation and disrupt God's Covenant promises with Israel.

    My Life Application Bible states: Mordecai refused to kneel down before Haman, Jews did bow down to government authorities, at times, as a sign of respect (Gen. 23:7; 1 Sam. 24:8) but Haman's ancestors were ancient enemies of the Jews. Israel had been commanded by God to "blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Deut. 25:17-19; see also Exodus 17:16). Mordecai was not about to kneel before wicked Haman and, by his act, acknowledge Haman as a god. Daniel's three friends had the same convictions (Dan. 30). We must worship God alone. We should never let any person, institution, or government take God's place. When people demand loyalties or duties from you that do not honor God don't give in. It may be time to take a stand (just as Mordecai did).

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  52. Wow I am so late this time!! I'm sorry but with Mike having the problems with his health I have been doing other things..just to let you know that he is healed of whatever it was and please go onto my blog so you can see what I wrote :)

    Now to Esther:
    Esther impacted a nation, and in order for her to have done that she was prepared. Before she approached the king, Esther allowed time for purification, a yearlong ritual of beauty treatments, and special diets. When the preparation was complete, she was brought forth at a strategic time for Gods purposes and plans to be fully accomplished.

    Esther could of asked for whatever she wanted, but she asked for nothing for herself. Instead she waited to be appointed and showed an unassuming manner of humility and submission by seeking counsel from Hegai. She requested nothing but did advise. She didn't resort to beauty aids, yet won the prize. She won the kings heart by growing in grace each day.

    We need to be like Esther and hear God's voice. As we respond and submit to God's timing, we will overcome. Let's not be afraid when the stakes are high, as she didn't. She could of been killed. She was unaware of the plans of the enemy, but remained faithful and in step with Gods purpose. Our life is in His hands. Lets trust Him and be strong and courageous!!
    Amen and Praise God for His mercy!
    Donna

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  53. I found it interesting that no one mentioned Mordecai is really Esther's cousin! I also used to think he was her uncle, but if you look in Esther 2:7 you will see she was his uncle's daughter. Not that it makes lots of difference but thought I would share!

    I always have enjoyed the story of Esther and her bravery, and courage to do something that could have easily brought her death. Not to mention going to be one of the king's wives in the first place!

    I would hope I would have as much courage to do right and to show that to my daughter and raise her to choose the Lord no matter what!

    I appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayer requests. I would like to add one of my own. For lots of reasons, (I don't have time to list here) we NEED desperately to sell our house. We have moved out of it and financially cannot support it any longer. We have it listed and I would ask you to pray that it will sell immediately...we don't believe the Lord would want us to have this testimony of not paying our bills or it going to foreclosure. PLEASE pray. Thank you!

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  54. So many of our Sisters are in special need of prayers that I am compelled to address that before I go into my observations of Esther. In fact, I will leave Esther for another post altogether.

    I have lifted up the following in prayer: lolls ~for your unborn child and your fears; Joan for your struggle with patience & waiting on God's message; Sharon in Florida~for you & your mother, as well as your brother's eternal rest; Iwantobegodly~for peace that passes understanding (you are on the right path, just keep focused on Jesus): for Cassandra in Virginia ~ blessings for you & your family; Christi in Texas ~ for your fear & anxiety of your upcoming test results, as well as for the positive outcome of those tests; for Tommie in
    Kentucky ~ for your fear of death; for Kim ~ for the expedient sale of your house, and the finances to meet your needs; and for all of you special ladies who are participating in this wonderful Bible study that is bringing us all together in unity with each other and Jesus, I pray for each & every one of you.

    I would also like to thank all of you for your prayers for my son & me. The doctors are trying to control the movement of the blood clot with new meds, so we are waiting to find out how effective they will be. Your prayers and words of comfort have meant so very much.

    TTM, what a beautiful prayer you posted for Lolls. I am sure that it will serve many in the same situation.

    Anonymous re Joyce Meyers ~ I am a partner with JM Ministeries and am a devoted advocate also.
    As Joyce would say, "Im not where I wanna be, but thank God I'm not where I use to be!"

    Alicee~I loved what you said, "We may be the only Bible someone will read." How simple & precise, and so very true! Thank you.

    Jean, thank you for your thorough accounting of why Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman. It has indeed satisfied the curiosity of many of us.

    Donna, I am so glad to hear that Mike is doing better, as I am sure the rest of the ladies are.

    Tamtam, congratulations on your approval. God is so good! Praise the Lord!

    Now, for you gals who are facing fear and doubt, especially lolls, Christi, and Tommie, I would highly recommend that you copy & paste the prayer that TTM posted for lolls. It is the 18th post from the beginning of this column. You can amend it to suit your situation. I think that if you just take out the part re miscarriage, that it would suit the rest of you. I am also going to post another prayer for Ungodly Fear that I have taken from the book "The Power of A Praying Woman" by Stormy Omartian. I feel that it will also greatly help you.

    PRAYER FOR UNGODLY FEAR

    Lord, You are my light and my salvation. You are the strength of my life. Of whom, then, shall I be afraid? Even though an entire army may surround me and go against me, my heart will not fear (Psalm 27:1-3) I will be strong and of good courage, for I know that You are with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9). Free me from all ungodly fear, for I know that fear is never of You.

    Guard my heart and my mind from the spirit of fear. What I am afraid of today is (name anything that causes you to have fear). Take that fear and replace it with Your perfect love. If I have any thoughts in my mind that are fueled by fear, reveal them to me. If I have gotten my mind off of you and on my circumstances, help me to reverse that process so that my mind is off of my circumstances and on You. Show me where I allow fear to take root and help me to put a stop to it. Take away any fear of rejection and all fear of man from within me and replace it with the fear of the Lord.

    Your Word says that you will put fear in the hearts of Your people and You will not turn away from doing them good (Jeremiah 32:40). I pray that You would do that for me. I know that You have not given my a spirit of fear, so I reject that and instead claim the power, love, and sound mind that You have for me. “Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You” (Psalm 31:19). Because I have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken, may I have grace by which to serve you acceptably with reverence and godly fear all the days of my life (Hebrews 12:28).

    Thank You that “the fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23). Help me to grow in fear and reverence of You so that I may please You and escape the plans of evil for my life. Thank You that those who fear You will never lack any good thing. In Jesus’ name. Amen

    And last, buy by no means, least, Rachel, your perception and kindness, and love for our Lord has lead you to so many great things. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing us all together and guiding us in our quest to quench our thirst of the knowledge of The Word. I'll bet you never thought that so very many people would be touched and united through your endless efforts. Thank you.

    With love & prayers,
    Karyl

    <*////><

    Bonners Ferry, ID USA

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  55. I don't think I've seen anyone mention this yet. I'll admit that I didn't see this particular detail for the first time in this read-through of Esther. But when I did notice it, it put a whole new spin on the story of Esther, so I want to share it here.

    In Chapter 8 verse 17 we read, "Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them."

    Now, isn't that just like God? Not only was He working out an amazing plan for Esther to save the Jewish people, who remember, are God's precious possession, but all along He was also seeking to bring more people to Himself. All of this happened before Jesus died on the cross. (You already knew that right!) At this time, the only way to be redeemed and come to God was through the Jewish faith.

    Sometimes I think I/we forget that God is working on the big picture and the tiniest details of our personal picture at the same time. It should be so reassuring to know that God is in total control of BOTH!

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  56. Crissi in WashingtonApril 13, 2008

    I got way behind but I think I am back on track.

    I love the book of Esther. My favorite verse is 4:14. A couple of years ago, a devotion about this came through on P31 (the daily devotions) and I shared it with my husband. At the time, he was very sick with cancer and was on Hospice care. We knew his time was short. It was a challenging time and this devotion spoke so much to both of us. We didn't know why God had us where He did but we knew that there was and still is a purpose for that time. We have family members who are unsaved and I know they have witnessed our lives and the work God has done. My husband passed away in July 2006 at the age of 36. I still cling to God's promises and the knowledge that He has me here for a reason. I am able to encourage and comfort other young widows as well as other people who have lost loved ones. Thank you Rachel for your insights and the opportunity to share here.

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  57. Hi everyone,

    Esther is my favorite in the Bible, Her role and her faith is very influenial. Today I was reading Serita Jakes's Book "The Princess Within: Restoring the Soul of a Woman" In one of her chapters, she talked about the difference of Queen Vasti and Esther's actions.

    She said that Queen Vasti disobeyed King Xetxers and bring bad influence to the women into disobience to their husband. Though as if it were us, would you say no to the Kings of Kings?

    Now to Esther, She was a woman to say yes and the King favored her. Her Yes led to the savings of the people. Praise God of his plans and Esther's obedience to God!

    I really like this story and I have this bible series movies and it included Esther. That movie is very very inspiring to watch!! I think the bible series was made by F. Murray Abraham. Great to watch.

    Valencia.

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  58. Along with the other ladies I want to again say thank you Rachel O. for doing this study for all of us.

    It has been such a blessing to me in the fact that I can go to bible study/prayer meeting right in my own home without having to spend precious money on fuel for my truck. Gasoline or in my case diesel has gotten sooo expensive I am really trying to cut back on my driving.

    I continue to learn so much from everyone. What a privilege it is to be able to pray for everyone as well.

    Matthew 18:20 (The Message)

    18-20"Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."
    (AMEN!!!)

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  59. Hi all.

    I've added a good post on my blog about Hebrews. I hope it to a be a great encouragement to all no matter what lif is bringing you right now.

    Hope you'll stop by my blog before we get started on our next woman to study.

    www.hisways-isaiah558.blogspot.com
    or just click on "sweetpea" and follow to His Ways blog.

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  60. Hello,
    I have been gone this weekend at a marriage retreat with my husband and approx 50 couples from our church. So I read Rachel O's comments but not the rest, I'll read them after I post mine.

    Well this was another great story of a brave woman. I think back on times when I was called to step up to the plate for things and how fearful I could get, and it had nothing to do with my death, or saving my people.

    That was very interesting to find that God or Jesus was not mentioned anywhere, however I felt like I could feel his presence.

    The common thread that I have experienced in all these womens lives that we are studying is Trust God. Some did more than others, Some needed to more, that's really what I feel is one thing that I/we can learn from these women.... Trust God.
    Be Blessed
    Lynn - OR
    I may have more to add later. :)

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  61. I love this book in the bible. Esther shows great wisdom, courage and humility. She is patient and prepares herself for a whole year before she comes before the king. She finds favor with all who come in contact with her. Even though God's name is not mentioned, you can see he is still there with her. I would like to be more like her.

    Deb - Ohio

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  62. Thanks to everyone for the comments. So many things come to light for me when I read what everybody else has to say. Karyl,
    thank you for mentioning everybody
    and their need. I will lift all of our ladies up in my prayers. Thank you Rachel, again, for hosting this study.
    Leisha/AL

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  63. I've gotten a lot out of everyone's comments again.

    Jean I wanted to say that I'm especially getting a lot out of yours lately. At the last reading you wrote that Esther's true beauty was on the inside, she was humble, did nothing to try to manipulate the situation to her favor and she didn't try to impress by something she's not.
    That just really sits well with my heart. I've heard all these things many times before, but this time it confirmed to my heart to really be myself, and not to concern myself with things that I don't need to worry about. God is in control of my future, and the desires of my heart. I also don't want to be concerned about "how I look" to others, but just be myself, and not compare myself to other's looks, abilities, and even quick whit.

    Connie, Canada

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  64. Hi Sisters,
    I just want to say thank you for all ur prayers. I cant even mention everybody's name but i was overwhelmed to read so many people are praying. Thank you all.

    I also want to give a testimony and that is ....Since sat the fear and doubts have completely gone and i have the peace of God. And i pray it will continue to be so.

    @ Riverwiew...Thanks for that prayer.I totally forgot about that part in the book " Power of a praying woman". Will go back to check it out. Thanks a lot.

    To all my other sisters who needs prayers.....iwanttobegodly, Christ Tx, Tommie, Tracie.....everybody...
    I just want u to know that as soon as i finish typing this post, i am getting up to say a prayer for u all.

    Stay blessed.

    Lolls

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  65. Esther's story has been retold many times. I especially like the screen animated version "One Night With the King" Even though it was about an earthly king, it reiterated to me one night with our King of Kings. How incredible would it be to spend one night or even one hour with King Jesus! God has given us the gift of being able to be with Him, through devotion and prayer, all day and all night. But the most important gift is being with Him through eternity! We were saved for such a time as this, poverty, recession, war etc. I pray for the courage to do the thing(s) God saved me for. Have a blessed day...grace and peace.

    Linda-Columbus OH

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  66. Debbie in SCApril 14, 2008

    I'm having Women of the Old Testament WITHDRAWL symptoms! I have checked since Friday for the next reading installment and am impatiently waiting. These are SO GOOD! Oh Rachel...tell me the reading/discussion schedule again? :o)

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  67. Thank you Jean for your study. That was very interesting and explains a lot!

    Blessings to you all this week. You know God is inspiring us in this study. Reaching some who otherwise would not be reading. Isn't He awesome!

    Thank you all!

    Traci, WA state

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  68. To azrin:

    Thank you for what you said and that text. That is how I feel towards who I work for. Being a christian and someone who claims to love and serve God, I want to always, especially in difficult times, be that example and not let the devil get to me. I feel that for this person. I have trouble respecting someone who does not show a Godly love to others, and is mean and vindictive. Those things don't come from God, and having respect for her is very hard due to that. I continue to pray that God will use me in any way He can to touch that heart, if possible, and soften whatever is going on in her. God knows. I leave the work to Him.

    Thanks for your prayers,
    Traci,WA state

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  69. I related with Esther because she was following the Lord's leading using her own discernments. There were no big signs jumping out at her like we often see in the Bible stories. I also found it interesting how God is not mentioned once in this book but yet we can learn a whole lot about His character, His unfailing love, and how much He cares for each of us.

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  70. I was watching the Harvest Show this morning and they had Danny Liston on. For all of you that are married to unsaved spouses this is for you. He was once heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol but his wife stood by him and must have lived Christ in front of him and prayed continuously as now he is serving the Lord and has a powerful testimony. At 14 years old, he joined his first band. He later went on to play Southern Rock. Now he is playing for the Lord and has a passion to serve the Lord. You can read his testimony at: Danny Liston ~ No Other Name. Click the HISTORY link.

    Luke 1:37 (Amplified Bible)
    37For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

    Joyce Meyers says our thoughts and words have tremendous power.

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  71. i like to think of myself as patient, but at the prospect of so many people i care about dying i would want to do something big right away. esther is a better woman than me! she prays and waits. she obeys the laws of the land, but is in the world not of it. i cannot imagine being in her shoes and having to do what she did. GOD definitely made a wise choice creating her for that purpose. i'd like to think that HE hand-picked her for that purpose and HE hand picks each of us for HIS will to be fulfilled in every small and big way.
    i guess what esther had to do could have been considered by her to be a burden, but she bore it gladly once she realized that she was placed in that position to fulfill HIS will.
    oh that we would all surrender to HIS will with such faith.

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  72. When Mordecai told Esther that God would find another if she was unwilling, it brought home how much I miss God's blessings when I use excuses to say "No"... usually because it's not convenient for me. It's not really a sacrifice if it's convenient and on my time schedule, is it? (Don't confuse this with minstry overload.) When we sacrifice, we give up or forfeit something - and we surrender by laying down our needs/desires for another.

    When I was asked to serve in a very visible ministry, I kept saying, "I'll pray about it." (Okay, an easy tactic to stall!) It's not that I didn't pray about it, but I didn't want to be up-front. I'm a behind the scenes person, and besides I'm not exactly the pretty, slender, put-together woman for being on a stage. There are better looking, better qualified, better speaking women than me... yep, that's my self-confidence making excuses!

    It took me six weeks, before I finally submitted (and Esther only needed 3 days!) I have been in the ministry for almost eight years and God has blessed me over and over... I'm so glad He was patient with me. Maybe I wouldn't have realize what I missed; but now that I know, it grieves me that I missed those six weeks of extra blessings!

    Esther's story has God's invisible fingerprints (and blessings!) all over it.

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  73. Once again.. here is an example of a woman w/supernatural confidence that can only be found through knowing our Father

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  74. I read it!
    Karen in Jamestown, CA

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  75. I read it!
    Karen in Jamestown, CA

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  76. Wow, I have really enjoyed reading about Esther and Abagail...2 amazing women of faith and obedience. Both knew when to act and acted wholeheartedly, there were no half measures.

    Lolls, don't know if you will read this (as I am late in doing this reading), but I had a miscarriage with my 3rd pregnancy and when I fell pregnant the 4th time I wasted so much time on being fearful that I didn't enjoy this special time until 24wks. I pray that you (and any others in your situation) will be able to enjoy every minute and not read in to every physical feeling or twinge that you have. I'm glad that your fear has gone and I pray that joyful anticipation will replace it!
    Wendy x

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  77. Hi everyone, I'm a bit behind with my reading but I plan to catch up by tomorrow. What came to light for me that the Book of Esther just reconfirms that God has all different kinds of plans for each one of us and if we CHOOSE to listen to what He tells us to do, we can't go wrong. Rachel O. you have brought so much insight to all of our Bible studies especially when you said we must discern what God is trying to tell us and it definitely takes wisdom and understanding and "quiet time" devoted to Him.

    I notice that if I don't read my Word or pray even just miss one day, I feel out of sorts and things that would not ordinarily bother me can frustrate me no end.

    I just don't feel complete unless I talk to my Father and tell him my frustratins, troubles, and just everything that is going on with me. I can't imagine not being able to talk to My Daddy about anything anything and everything.

    Getting back to Esther, she risked her very life and her reputation to save her people. She risked everything because she had a deep abiding faith and trust in God. How many of us would make the sacrifice she made?

    I just want to thank all of you for keeping me in your prayers. I had told you that I was looking for a job and I have had two offers to be a full time live in nanny and also have an interview scheduled next week with a cellular company. But why am I not surprised, prayer works and God is good, isn't he. From me to all of you, I pray that God bless each and everyone of you and bring favor and salvation to all and your families. I feel such a kinship here during our studies and don't want it to end. Have an ideal day....Jo Ann here in Denver
    (God is directing my path to a nanny position in Bakersfield, Calif., but I'll continue to be with you all!) Take Care.......

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