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ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 7

The events that transpired during Esther’s second banquet is revealed in chapter seven.

Similar to the first banquet in attendance with Queen Esther was King Ahasuerus and Haman. For the third time the king asked Esther what her request was and she asked the king if she found favor in his sight to spare her life and the lives of her countrymen. She told the king of the wicked plan of annihilation and pointed out if the Jews were slaves then she would not be justifying in asking this request but in the Persian empire they were free.

Immediately the king wanted to know, “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?” to which Esther revealed it was Haman. Haman became petrified and the king angrily left the Queen’s chamber and went into the palace garden.

Haman knowing, he was in trouble made the fatal mistake of falling on the couch where Esther was sitting to beg for mercy. When the king returned to the room and found him in that position he thought Haman was trying to violate Esther; thus, he had his guards seize Haman.

Harbonah, one of the king’s chamberlains told him about the fifty cubits high gallows which Haman had made on his property for Mordecai execution, and the king ordered Haman be hung there and thereafter the king was appeased.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
The gallows that Haman had prepared for Mordecai’s demise ended up being used for his demise. What you sow, you will reap.

Can you imagine the fear that his family felt when they saw Haman hanging on the gallows he had prepared for someone else?

When you realize you have been tricked because you misjudged someone character thinking they are honest and working on your behave; remove them from your life.

Follow the steps of Esther. She was presented with a critical problem, she fasted and prayed, she never addressed the instigator of the problem but she spoke to the person that could, and he resolved the problem for her. So, when you have a problem with an individual who is trying to harm you or those you love, fast and pray, speak to God and allow Him to handle the situation.

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ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 6

Chapter 6 recorded that King Ahasuerus suffered from insomnia the night of the first banquet and he decided to have the royal chronicles read to him which revealed Mordecai’s foiling of an assassination plot against him which was planned by Bigthana and Teresh, two of his chamberlains.

Upon hearing the reading, the king questioned his people whether recognition was given to Mordecai for his act of loyalty and he found out nothing had been done for Mordecai, he had gone unrewarded. Wanting to rectify this matter the king asked, “Who is in the court?” and he found out Haman who had come early to the king to get permission to hang Mordecai was there. Thus, he had Haman brought to him, and before Haman could say anything the king asked him, “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?” Being egotistical and assuming the king wanted to bestow more honor on him, Haman said “ For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.” Then to his horror the king revealed he was talking about Mordecai, the Jew and he assigned Haman the task of doing all the things that he had just said to the recipient of the honor, Mordecai.

After finding Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate and completing the task with him that the king had assigned, Haman went sadly home and told his wife and all his friends what happened and they voiced to him that the honor the king placed on Mordecai was a bad omen for him for it foretold of his doom.

The chapter ends with Haman leaving his wife and friends and going to Esther’s second banquet.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

When you are experiencing insomnia, reading may bring forth revelations.

It was God invisibly at work who allowed the king’s servant to choose the exact book in which the assignation plot information was written. How many times has God led you to pick up a book that had the answers to your questions? How many times have you purchased a book and not read it but at the appointed time you pick it up and it had the answer you were seeking?

The reward for your good deeds may be delayed, don’t fret in due time it will manifest.

God can cause your enemy’s words to bless you and God can cause your enemy to bestow honor on you even when they don’t want too. Remember Haman who hated Mordecai and craved respect from him had to give respect to Mordecai publicly.

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 5

With the completion of the three days fast Esther adorned herself in her royal attire and went to the inner court of King Ahasuerus’s house. When the king who was sitting on his royal throne viewed Esther in the court she obtained his favor and he held out the golden scepter to which Esther drew near and touched the top of it.

The king inquired of Esther request and she told him that she was inviting him and Haman to a banquet that evening to which the king responded positively. At the banquet that evening King Ahasuerus once again asked Esther her petition and he again stated that he would give her half of the kingdom if she desired it, but Esther just requested them to come to another banquet on tomorrow.

After leaving the banquet Haman felt jubilant until he saw Mordecai who did not bow to him in the king’s gate. When he got home he gathered his friends, and Zeresh his wife and told them of his banquet experience, his invite to go again on the morrow evening, his riches and elevations in the empire, and what he felt was a defiant act by Mordecai which left him feeling angered and frustrated.

Haman’s friends, and his wife suggested a seventy-five-foot gallows be made on which to hang Mordecai the next day after securing the king’s permission to do so. This suggestion was accepted by Haman and he ordered the gallows built.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Use the actions of Esther as an example. After fasting and praying proceed with confidence knowing God is directing your path.

God is able to cause you to receive favor when you need it.

Learn when to speak and when to be quiet.

We are often in a hurry for justice to be meted out; however, we can rest in the knowledge that the wheels of justice may move slowly but it grinds exceedingly fine. God has a plan for your enemies and it will eventually come to pass.

Haman was obsessed with the fact that Mordecai did not respect his position and it fueled his wrath toward Mordecai. There are people in all our lives that have different religious beliefs and cultural difference than ours and though we may disagree with them we must respect their decision and right to practice their beliefs.

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 4

At the time of the publishing of the irrevocable decree for the destruction of the 15 million Jews believed to resided throughout the Persian provinces Esther had been queen for 5 years and yet no one in the palace knew that she was a member of the Jewish race for she had followed the instruction which Mordecai gave her when she first entered the palace to tell no one her nationality.

When Mordecai and fellow Jews throughout the Persia empire heard the decree of the scheduled massacre they rented their clothes, put on sackcloth with ashes, fasted, mourned and cried bitterly. Also Mordecai took his display of irrepressible emotions before the king’s gate for according to the law people could not go into the king’s courtyard while mourning. Esther’s maids and chamberlains heard about Mordecai’s actions and told Esther causing her to become very upset.

Esther attempted to send Mordecai clothes to cover himself; however, he rejected them. Thus, Esther sent Hatach to Mordecai to find out what was the problem. Mordecai told Hatach about the decree, about the monies Haman promised to give to the king’s treasuries to assist in destroying the Jews, and he sent Esther a copy of the decree which was published in Shushan. Plus, Mordecai asked Esther to intervene on behalf of her countrymen to King Ahasuerus.

Upon hearing the problem from Hatach Esther sent word to Mordecai reminding him of the protocol of the court which prevented anyone coming before the king unless they had been summons to do so and anyone who disobeyed this rule was put to death unless they gained the kings favor whereby he would extend his golden scepter toward them. Esther also informed him that the king had not requested her presence in the last thirty days.

Mordecai responded to Ruth by telling her, her life was also in danger, if she did nothing her extended family would possibly be killed, and help might come to the Jews from an unexpected source. Furthermore, Mordecai suggested that her queenly position was divinely orchestrated for this particular time in Persian history.

The chapter ends with Esther sending this word to Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish” and to which Mordecai complied.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
This chapter reveals a few key battle strategies that will help all believers if they are utilized during times of spiritual warfare. After receiving word of the future plight of her countrymen Queen Esther probably was fearful; however, she did not repeat or continuously rehearse the plot of the enemy nor disclose her fears to people. Esther did not rush to a meeting with the king but she first sought divine direction. Esther and her ladies-in-waiting fasted, and she requested her countrymen to join her in the fast.

Reality has proven that sometimes in battle you are wounded. Like Esther, there may come a time in with your life where you are uncertain about the outcome of your actions and you will have to take a risk and trust God.

Finally, as I’ve stated in previous blogs in this series, your birth has a purpose, and the future will reveal exactly what it is, consequently whether you fulfill that purpose is up to you.

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 3

Esther chapter 3 introduces Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, who many believe was a descendant of King Agag the Amalekites whom King Saul spared in 1 Samuel 15. Before the twelfth year of his reign King Ahasuerus elevated Haman to the position of prime minister which garnered him honor and reverence from all the citizens and subordinate officers of the empire. This reverence required the people to bow down in his presence; however, Mordecai refused to bow and reverence Hamon and for this Mordecai drew attention to himself.

When questioned by the citizens about his actions Mordecai told them, “He was a Jew.” Eventually, his actions and response were told to Haman who consequently sought revenge on Mordecai and all the Jews for what he thought was Mordecai’s blatant disrespect of his position. Thus, Hamon masterminded a scheme to eliminate the disrespectful Mordecai.

Haman told the king there were disloyal individuals that lived in their empire that did not keep the king’s laws because of their religious laws and he suggested that they be destroyed. Also, he offered to give money to the treasury to assist with this dastardly deed. Listening and agreeing with Haman King Ahasuerus gave Haman the power to carry out his suggestion, his signet ring to seal the decree and monies to fund this effort.

On the thirteenth day of the first month, after consulting and obtaining a date for the slaughtering of the Jews from soothsayers Haman had the king’s scribes write letters to be distributed throughout the ten provinces that on the thirteenth day of Adar a universal massacre of all Jews, both young and old, men, women and children could be done by the populace and their property confiscated.

With the plan in place for the annihilation of the Jews, the command sealed and published, the king and Haman continued their daily routine but the citizens of Shushan was perplexed by the order.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Believing the reverence that Haman wanted to receive as idolatry Mordecai refused to bow and for this his life was threatened. Refusal to bow and commit idolatry can cost you your life.

When you refuse to conform to the ways of the world, the world views you as a threat.

When you place your confidence in wicked people they may cause you to make harmful decisions. It is vitally important to know those that labor among you. The King thought Hamon was a trusty valuable servant; however, Hamon had his own hidden agenda and he used his position and falsehoods to influence the king into committing genocide.

If rulers in-charge of a nation are not prayerful and accept good consult they are capable of making decisions that can destroy the lives of its’ citizens.

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 2

Now, in chapter 2 Queen Vashti had been previously deposed and King Ahasuerus is seeking a wife for history notes that between chapter 1 and 2 four years have passed. King Ahasuerus had been in a war with the Greeks who defeated him at Salamis and Plataea; so, he had returned home and was able to focus on securing himself a wife.

One of the king’s servants suggested he appoint officers in all of his provinces to gather all the young virgins and bring them to the house of women in the palace where they would be placed under the custody of Hegai who was the king’s chamberlain and palace keeper of the women. For one year these women were given things for purification, and after completing the year they appeared before the king who then had the opportunity to choose the next queen.

One of the young virgins chosen to appear before the king was the fair and beautiful Hadassah whose name was changed to Esther when she came to the Persian court and who was the cousin of a Jew named Mordecai, the son of Jair. As recorded in the scripture, upon entry into the women’s house Esther found favor with Hegai who gave her seven maidens to assist with her care, the oil of myrrh, sweet odors, and other things needed for purification and he assigned her the choicest place in the house of the women.

Mordecai who raised Esther as his own daughter when her parents died and kept her under his protective eyes even after she went into the palace directed Esther not to inform anyone of her ethnic origin. Thus, daily Mordecai went to the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.

In the seventh year and Tebeth the tenth month of King Ahasuerus reign when it was her turn to go before the king Esther for her first meeting with him had the opportunity to choose her apparel; however, she submitted herself to Hegai and followed his suggestions. As was the custom, in the evening the young lady would go to the king’s chamber and in the morning she returned into the second house of the women under the care of Shaashgaz, another one of the king’s chamberlain. Additionally, unless the king desired the young lady again she remained confined in the king’s harem.

This was not Esther’s fate for the king was enamored with Esther and the privilege of becoming the queen was given to her. In honor of his new queen King Ahasuerus proclaimed a holiday, held a great feast, and gave gifts to his citizens.

The chapter concludes with the revelation of a plot to assassinate the king by two of his chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, Mordecai found out about this plot and gave this information to Esther who shared it with the king. An investigation ensued and the guilt of these men was confirmed which resulted in their execution and this event was written in the book of the chronicles with recognition given to Mordecai for revealing the plot.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: As seen in the life of Esther who experienced the death of both of her parents in her childhood, God was with her and he allowed a relative to love and raise her. This relative not only took care of her during her childhood but he was involved in her young adult life. God will place people in our lives who will show concern for us and stick with us throughout our life.

According to the laws given to Moses by God for the Israelites mixed marriages and sexual relations outside of marriage was prohibited. Unfortunately, Esther was placed in a position where both of these would be broken. However, God allowed the intimate encounter between Esther and King Ahasuerus to end in marriage and God used Esther’s position in gaining the deliverance of His people. Similarly, there are times in the life of a believer when their behavior does not line up with God’s Word; however, God can turn a situation around and bring about something good.

Just like God allowed Esther to find favor among strangers, He does the same for us. These strangers are divinely connected to us and they are placed in our lives to assist us in moving to another level.

ESTHER SERIES – CHAPTER 1

The book of Esther which is named after its heroine took place in Shushan in the fifth century B.C. This book tells the story of a young orphaned Jewess who was brought into the Persian harem of King Ahasuerus who is identified as Xerxes I the king of one hundred twenty-seven Persian provinces extending from India to Ethiopia The author of this book which took place over a span of four years and details Esther’s rise to power is unknown. This book never mentions God’s name, the commandments, laws and statues given to Israel or Jewish sacrifices; however, it reveals God’s divine intervention in the lives of His people and the consequences suffered by those who chose to do them harm.

Chapter one opens in the third year reign of the king in the city of Susa, the winter capital of the Persian kingdom where King Ahasuerus entertained a royal reception of his nobles, and rulers that commenced with a 180-day assembly. During this time, he displayed the kingdom’s power, wealth and grandeur, and ended with a seven-day feast in the royal gardens which included and citizens of the Shushan. Also, while the men in the royal gardens feasted and drank their fill of wine from gold wine goblets Queen Vashti hosted a separate feast for the women in the royal palace.

On the last day of the feast seven eunuchs were instructed by the inebriated King Ahasuerus to bring Queen Vashti to the royal gardens where her beauty was to be witnessed by those present; however, the Queen refused to comply. Thus, the king filled with rage and anger consulted with seven wise men concerning what he should do. These men were concerned that other women would follow Queen Vashti actions when they heard about her response to the king, and if she was left unpunished it would have far-reaching consequences for marriages in Persia.

One of the men named Memucan recommended that the king makes an irrevocable royal commandment that would be published throughout the empire acknowledging Queen Vashti would no longer be the queen, there would be a replacement, and furthermore he hoped this would cause wives to honor their husbands.

Following the advice, he received, King Ahasuerus sent letters into every province about the fate of Queen Vashti and admonished men to rule their households.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Despite the many speculations by commentators the bible does not record why Queen Vashti refused to comply with the king’s request. However, we understand the queen needed to be deposed so that Esther could be elevated to that position which would enable her possible access to the king on behalf of her kinsmen.

King Ahasuerus was a heathen king that God used in the deliverance of His people. History reveals during his life he made some bad decisions that adversely affected his empire. Commentaries described him as boastful, revengeful, gullible, ill-informed, undisciplined, quick-tempered, and lustful. Despite all of these bad character traits God used him. This shows us that individuals that we label wicked can be useful in the hands of God.

God knows what the future will be, He is omniscient. Though disaster for a people was in the heart and mind of a man, and though the king was often deceived and misled by people, God had a plan of deliverance for the Jews in the Persia Empire and He used the deposing of Queen Vashti, King Ahasuerus and Esther to bring it into fruition.

As you reflect on this first chapter of Esther, don’t worry and be alarmed about your present situation but remember despite what you see, feel, or think God has a plan for your life.

 

RUTH SERIES – FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH: CHAPTER 4

In keeping with his word, in the morning Boaz went to the gate of the city which was the place in ancient times where business transactions were handled, and waited for Elimelech’s next of kin to come by. When the man was passing Boaz invited him and ten elders of the city who would be his witnesses and represented the quorum needed for official actions to sit down with him while he shared pertinent information.

First, Boaz talked about the purchase of Elimelech’s property from Naomi which the next of kin was willing to do until Boaz told him he would also have to marry Ruth to maintain the name of Naomi’s family. Since he was already married and planning a family of his own, he feared this decision would endanger his own estate; therefore, he rejected the proposal and told Boaz as the next kin in line he could do it.

As their custom and law, with the ten elders as witnesses, because he rejected the proposal, the next of kin took off his sandal and gave it to Boaz giving him the right to purchase Elimelech’s property and marry Ruth. Additionally, the elders gave Boaz a traditional blessings wishing him, his future wife, his family, and offspring, well and citing the names of Boaz’s clanswomen who had birthed children, and Pharez, Boaz’s ancestor.

Boaz willingly became the kinsman redeemer and married Ruth who bore him a son that the women of the town named Obed and whom Naomi nursed as her own. Also, the women blessed and congratulated Naomi whom God honored with a grandchild who would in the future care for her, and Ruth her daughter-in-law whose love and devotion they considered to be more than seven sons.

The book of Ruth ends with the genealogy of the Boaz’s family starting with Pharez who was the founder of the family of Judah down to David his great-grandson who became the second king in Israel. It states, “Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Time had allowed Naomi to transition from the weeping, depression, grief and bitterness in chapter one to joy, peace and satisfaction in chapter four. Obed the son of Boaz and Ruth became a “restorer of life” for Naomi. Her weeping endured for awhile but joy came. Don’t allow yourself to become forlorn, tomorrow may be your day of miraculous change.

Like in the life of Naomi and Ruth, during all of our challenges, God is present and remains faithful despite what we may feel or see.

You must be smart when negotiating for things that you truly want. Boaz in his conversation with Elimelech’s next-of-kin showed why he was a successful businessman.

Boaz symbolized Jesus Christ as our kinsman-redeemer who willingly redeemed us when others failed to do so. By marrying Ruth, Boaz displayed his willingness to perpetuate the family name that had ceased by the deaths of Elimelech and Mahlon. Also, his actions caused his name to become known and revered throughout history.

The love and devotion of Ruth to Naomi was equated to seven sons which represented the blessed perfect Hebrew family. If you experience deep love and devotion, it is to be valued and cherished for it is lacking in the lives of many.

Being in the right place opens the door for unexpected blessings to come your way.

God can move you from working in the field to become the owner of the field.

RUTH SERIES – FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH: CHAPTER 3

With the help of God and kindness of Boaz Ruth had successfully gleaned the barley and wheat harvest providing substances for Naomi and herself, and now that the harvest was over, Naomi showed concern about Ruth’s future and procuring her a husband.

Knowing the winnowing process and the practice of the owner of the field presence at the threshing-floor during this time Naomi devised a plan for Ruth. Naomi instructed Ruth to make herself presentable, bathe, put on perfume and clean clothes and go and wait until Boaz completed overseeing the work, eating, drinking and laid down to sleep; then, Ruth was to silently go and lie at his feet covering herself with Boaz’s cloak.

Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions and after sleeping awhile Boaz woke up and was startled to find someone laying at his feet. When he questioned who it was, Ruth responded by telling him it was her and that she wanted him as her next-of-kin to marry her (spread his skirt over her). Boaz an older man was surprised and elated that Ruth a young woman would want to marry him. He expressed this, his gratitude and Ruth’s virtue which the town people had recognized and voiced. Additionally, he informed Ruth that there was a kinsman nearer than him; however, he would pursue the matter to see what that individual would want to do.

As suggested by Boaz, Ruth stayed with him until early in the morning. Then, to prevent being sullied, Ruth left before other people woke-up and Boaz gave her about eighty-eight pounds of barley to take home in her veil. Upon seeing the barley and hearing what transpired between Boaz and Ruth, Naomi said, “Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

The Goel Law (Levirate Law) found in Numbers 36:1-9 and Deuteronomy 25:5-10 required if a married man died childless his male next of kin was to marry his widow allowing the family name to continue and family property to remain in the family. God-fearing, honorable, virtuous Boaz understood that Ruth was requesting a marriage proposal of him and he was willing to be her kinsmen-redeemer if the closer relative did not do so. Apparently, Naomi’s plan worked.

In the Eastern culture spreading the skirt over someone is a symbol of protection and for a woman it is equivalent to a marriage contract. In requesting Boaz to marry her, Ruth was honoring the memory of her deceased husband. How many of us would marry someone to keep our family legacy intact?

Giving should be done in proportion to the means of the giver and needs of the receiver.

After doing what needs to be done, it is time to be still.

RUTH SERIES – FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH: CHAPTER 2

In chapter two, it was harvest time in Bethlehem and Naomi and Ruth had settled down in the town.

Aware of the provision made for widows in Bethlehem Ruth requested permission from Naomi to go to the field to glean, and unknowingly she was providentially led to the field of Boaz who was not only wealthy but a near kinsman of Naomi’s husband Elimelech.

On this her first day of gleaning Boaz also came to the field. At first he greeted his reapers and then he questioned his foreman about this new woman. Finding out it was Ruth, Boaz approached her and instructed her for her protection against assault to glean solely in his fields along with his handmaids, and she was allowed to refresh herself with the water provided for his servants when she felt thirsty.

Ruth in humble gratitude bowed down before Boaz and asked him about his generosity toward her. Boaz responded by telling her God whom she now trusts was rewarding her for her positive actions and devotion toward her deceased husband and Naomi.

Later in the day Boaz instructed her to feel free to eat some of the food provided for his workers and he gave her freshly roasted corn to eat. Additionally, Boaz instructed his workers to be respectful of Ruth and to purposely drop barley in Ruth’s path allowing her to have abundant provision to take home at the end of the day.

That evening Ruth brought home about thirty pounds of barley which she had gleaned for the day and for Naomi the portion of food that she had not eaten at mealtime. Plus, she told Naomi of her meeting with Boaz and the kindness he bestowed on her to which Naomi declared a blessing upon Boaz.

Following the words of Boaz and the encouragement of Naomi, Ruth gleaned both the barley and wheat harvest in Boaz’s fields.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
In the laws God gave to Moses provision was made for the poor, strangers and widows (Lev 19:9-10; Deut. 24:19-21). God was concerned about Ruth’s well-being, He guided her to the place of provision, and Ruth was able to get food and an added blessing was being granted the privilege to glean behind the reapers. God has a way of providing for us. He will direct us to the place where our provision is to be met. For believers, we must not doubt the instructions or leadings of God, but obey in a timely manner.

Though Boaz was a prominent, wealthy man, he exhibited a godly character in the manner in which he greeted his workers and Ruth, and in the kindness and compassion that he extended to her. No matter what your status might be, be kind to all the persons you meet.

Like Ruth, God is able to give you more than enough. So, don’t worry about tomorrow