Esther, for such a time as this: a woman of promise in the Post Modern Age by Joy Pollard

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Esther, for such a time as this: a woman of promise in the Post Modern Age by Joy Pollard

Revised: Joy shared this message with us at our women’s Bible study. Much is similar to the brief teaching she did during one Friday Bible study, so I am combining the two teachings into one complete study on Esther. Joy shared, when she first met Pastor Don, she was into anything but God, and Pastor Don invited her to come to the church he was attending Living Word Chapel (he was not the pastor yet) and he asked her if she could play “seasonal music.” What he did not share with Joy at that meeting was the Holy Spirit had told Pastor Don to seek her out. Had he told her about the Holy Spirit, she would have ran in the opposite direction. But she was drawn to our church by being asked to play seasonal music. God was drawing her to Himself.

I will put the new things in blue to differentiate them.

Joy is a wonderful teacher and I learned so much from what she shared with us, so here is the edited study:

Joy was invited to teach at a Girls’ school. She was told to give five 20 minute messages. We got to hear two of the messages she is going to share with the girls. Joy told her father how difficult it was to teach a 20 minute message, and her father told her, if she has something good to say, it can be said in 20 minutes. She gave two 20 minute fully packed messages. I took notes as fast as my fingers can fly, but I take longhand notes, and I know that I was not able to get every bit of information. Joy gave a commentary about the facts of the book of Esther, I added a few more Scriptures from the Book of Esther than she shared so you could see it in the Word.

She spoke about the Jewish festival of Purim and Queen Esther. She titled this: Esther, For such a time as this: A woman of promise in the Post Modern Age.

With a sense of humor Joy explained that Purim is celebrated as a huge feast, and could be summed up thusly, “They tried to kill us, we won, so lets eat!”

Joy said, in the book of Esther, the name of God is not mentioned once, but we can see his handprint clearly visible in all of the pages. And in Esther, people are doing what God planned and purposed for them to do.

We began with a bit of History, Daniel and his friends are in Babylon 605 BC. The king selected the best and brightest for his use. They were to be handsome, without flaw and intelligent. They were going to be groomed to help the King, and also it kept them out of Jerusalem where they might have started a revolution.

587 BC – The Babylonians conquered Jerusalem.

539 BC – The Babylonian exile ends when King Cyrus, a Persian king, permits the Jews to go back to Jerusalem and he helps to finance the rebuilding of the Temple.

516 BC was the time when Zerubbabel was given permission by King Darius to return to Israel and rebuild the temple, he brought back 50,000, but many did not choose to go back. Daniel stayed in Babylon, for he was very old at this time, many others had become assimilated into the Babylonian culture and did not return.

478 BC Esther (originally named Hadassah which means myrtle) becomes Queen of Persia, the king was King Xerxes of Persia, who ruled from India to Ethiopia.

473 BC Esther saves the Jews from being massacred by Haman, and the Feast of Purim is instituted.

450-451 BC Ezra and Nehemiah’s time

Here is the plot of the book of Esther. The King of the Medo-Persian empire (today we know it as India & Ethiopia) took over from the Babylonian Empire. King Xerxes had a huge party, inviting at lest 127 princes and rulers for a huge party. His wife, Queen Vashti, was so beautiful he wanted to show her off. She refuses to come to the party, and that is a real problem for the king. His advisers wanted him to do something about her rebellion.

Esther 1:4  For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.

It is like our King of Kings wanting to show us the excellence of His glory. When Vashti blew off King Xerxes it was a wrong move. We have to be careful as the Bride of the King that we don’t say “no” to God. We can say “no” by saying we are too busy, that he is asking too much from us, or later for you. We really have to watch out what we are saying to God.

REBELLION is contagious, and can spread. The men were afraid that Queen Vashti’s refusal would be imitated by other wives, so they told the king he had to get rid of her.

Esther 1:17 For the queen’s behavior will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, when they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.’

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

Stubbornness is idolatry or keeping our traditions. This could be a big deal if the other wives imitated her. The queen dissing the king is bad. But the King is merciful, and does not chop off her head. He divorces her. You had everything and you blew it. So the King now has to look for someone to do His will and be more obedient.

The King Xerxes divorces Queen Vashti and seeks someone who will be more obedient.

The kingdom has a huge beauty contest (Joy had us laughing as she called it, Miss Medo/Persia Pageant). One of the young women chosen is Esther (Her Hebrew name is Hadassah.) Her parents died, so she was an orphan who was being raised by her Uncle Mordecai. Mordecai sits by the gate, which indicates that he is important. As Mordecai’s adopted daughter she knew the way of God. She was selected as one of the women to be brought to the palace.

Esther 2:2-4 Then the king’s servants who attended him said: “Let beautiful young virgins be sought for the king; and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather all the beautiful young virgins to Shushan the citadel, into the women’s quarters, under the custody of Hegai the king’s eunuch, custodian of the women. And let beauty preparations be given them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.” This thing pleased the king, and he did so.

They sought all the beautiful women in the kingdom. Esther had God’s favor. The women were brought to the King’s harem to be trained for a year. The movie about Esther, One night with the King emphasizes the baths and beauty treatments, but Joy believes what they were really being taught was how to be a queen, how to think and act like a queen. She did not need the beauty treatments. She was fair-faced, of good countenance and had clarity. She was beautiful both outside and inside. It is not enough to only be beautiful she also has to be smart to be in the King’s kingdom.

Esther gains favor with the chief eunuch and he prefers her. This eunuch is a type of the Holy Spirit. The King’s advisor, who knows the King’s heart and mind, and can guide her so she will be pleasing to the King. That is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to guide us to be pleasing to God. Esther trusted his advice and counsel, and prepared herself. He has authority and power and knows the King’s heart. So Esther is chosen.

After a year’s preparation, not only beauty treatments, but also learning to think, behave, and act like a Queen, and know the King’s heart and flow like royalty, she is ready to be presented to the King. She has learned what she wants to do is to please the king and asks the chief Eunuch what should she wear that would please the king. Instead of wearing a dress she thinks is OK, or picking her favorite color, Esther chooses to wear a dress the eunuch selects as what would be pleasing to the King. As the Bride of Christ, we need to seek to please our King. Esther listened to the advice of the Holy Spirit (eunuch) and trusted his counsel as he knew the King. She is teachable and follows the counsel of wisdom. She is chosen as queen, but her religion is not yet known.

If we would do that with the Holy Spirit, being led by Him, our lives would be much easier.

Haman was the Prime Minister of King Xerxes and was given power and authority through the King. He had the King’s ring and could make decrees, putting the King’s seal on them and making them law. But Haman had no real confidence in himself. To gain a sense of this power and authority, he wanted people to bow so he could say to himself, “see how important I am, for people are bowing to me.” Forgetting what they were bowing to was the authority of the King. Haman wanted everyone to bow to Him, but Mordecai refused to bow, for he only bowed to God. This made Haman furious. He hated the Jews who would not give him the respect he felt he deserved.

Joy pointed out that hatred of the Jews is demonic. In the Mid-East it is a supernatural hatred because the Jews were favored of God. The Jews are God’s chosen people, and often those who are consumed with hatred for the Jews are under demonic oppression. God promised Abraham and all of his seed (the Jews) that God would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. The demonic hatred of the Jews that Haman had was a rage that bordered on insanity. But Haman plots to kill every Jew in the Kingdom.

Haman felt that the Jew was “dissing” me. As the King’s Prime Minister he has the king’s signet ring and can stamp something into law. He uses the King to plot destruction of the Jews, including Mordecai and he does it on the sly. All the Jews were to be killed on a specific day (which was chosen by lots). The name “PURIM” means lots and the day chosen was the 14th day of the month of Adair. Once a law was created, the Medo-Persians could not cancel the law. It was a law forever. So there was no way to cancel the law and prevent this extermination of the Jews from going forward.

The people began to fast and pray. Mordecai goes to Esther, and tells her she has to help her people, that she has to go before the king and find a way to stop this extermination plan of Haman’s.

Esther 4:11  “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.”

Esther informs Mordecai about the sentence of death that can occur if she goes unsummoned before the King.

Mordecai tells her that just because she is Queen does not mean she would be spared from this, she would perish along with all the other Jews.

Mordecai then tells Esther, Esther 4:14 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther tells the people to fast and pray for three days and then she will go to the king.

She says, Esther 4:16 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

She is very brave to do this, and chooses to do what God called her to do, even if it is dangerous. She is leaving the outcome to God.

Joshua 1:7-9 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

God tells us to be strong and of good courage, and do as He commands us.

Esther dresses in her royal robes and goes to the court.

Esther 5:1-2  Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

Esther chose to obey God and trust Him, and God provided for her safety. The King asks Esther what she desires. And her answer is to invite Haman and the King to the Queen’s palace for dinner. They have a dinner with much small talk, and she invites them back for dinner the next night.

Meanwhile Haman has a 70 foot gallows built in his front yard, as he plans to hang Mordecai for not showing the proper respect. Mordecai is puffed up with pride.

Esther had a word from God about what to do in the situation and she proceeded to do God’s Will. She appeals to the vanity of Haman and Haman will be trapped by his own words.

In the meantime, before this second dinner the King had trouble sleeping. So he had a servant read to him from the decrees. This is very boring to hear and the king used it to help him go to sleep. But, God ordained it, that the particular decree read to the king talked about a plot to kill the king that Mordecai foiled, and found out Mordecai saved the King’s life. The king wanted to honor Mordecai.

He brings Haman to his court and asks him what he should do to reward someone who needed to be honored. Haman thinks the King is referring to him, so he tells the king that what the King should do is:

Esther 6:6-10 So Haman came in, and the king asked him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?”  And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head. Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’” Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.”

Seething in anger, Haman has to honor the very man that he was plotting to kill. God will use your enemies to show you favor.

During the second dinner, Haman’s plot is uncovered and he ends up hanging on the gallows he constructed for Mordecai.

It is not a good to plot evil against the people God loves.

1 John 5:14-15  Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

When we ask according to His Word, He hears us, and has already accomplished what we have asked Him.

2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

Where have we placed our confidence? Esther put her confidence in the Lord.

When a king issues a decree, the law cannot be removed, it can only be added to. This is how God deals with people, God’s laws are not removed. We are still to obey them. The decree cannot be rescinded.

So King Xerxes issues a new decree:

Esther 8:11  By these letters the king permitted the Jews who were in every city to gather together and protect their lives—to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province that would assault them, both little children and women, and to plunder their possessions.

When the people came after the Jews, the Jews fought back and they slew 500 of their attackers. The people realized it was not worth fighting the Jews. Mordecai becomes the new Prime Minister, and the holiday of Purim is instituted. God will defeat our enemies, but we will also have to help in the fight

Philippians 4:13 AMP I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

We are self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency. Godly wisdom comes directly from the Lord.

Exodus 31:1-5 AND THE Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and ability, in understanding and intelligence, and in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship,to devise skillful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in bronze, and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all kinds of craftsmanship.”

The Israelites were brought from slavery in Egypt by God, and while they were slaves to the Egyptians, all they were able to do was to make mudbricks. There were not expert craftsmen.  The artisans who built the Tabernacle were filled with the Holy Spirit by God to design and make all of the things in the Tabernacle.

God is more than happy to give ability to you if you need it and it fits His purposes, even giving abilities in areas that we are weak in the flesh. When only God could help in a situation, God gets all the glory.

Esther 9:26-28  So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur. Therefore, because of all the words of this letter, what they had seen concerning this matter, and what had happened to them,  the Jews established and imposed it upon themselves and their descendants and all who would join them, that without fail they should celebrate these two days every year, according to the written instructions and according to the prescribed time, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city, that these days of Purim should not fail to be observed among the Jews, and that the memory of them should not perish among their descendants.

Esther (Hadassah) overcame her enemies. It was not from her own strength, for she was an orphan, a stranger in a foreign land. She was young, had no resources, no finances. but she was trained to obey, to fear God, and to execute His commands.

Esther 2:20  Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him.

Now the festival is celebrated on the 14th and 15th of Adair with gladness and feasting and giving of choice portions to one another and gifts to the poor. This way they can remember how God delivered them. Israel was saved by a young girl with no resources who was trained to obey the command of Mordecai, who feared God and celebrate God’s commands. She was in the perfect position to be savior of her people.

2 Timothy 2:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

We are in a culture war, we can’t solve global warming, and decide the fate of the world by election outcomes. We are soldiers in the army of God, and need to be focused on God’s purposes. There will be no peace in Jerusalem until the Sharshaloam comes. We have to watch with spiritual eyes and raise up children to be strong in the Lord and His might, not take MTV or other worldly advice. God is sovereign and His Will will be fulfilled by His plan. We have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and His soon arrival. He is coming quickly.

How can we apply these lessons from Esther in our lives so that we can be women ready for the Post Modern age?

Because of her OBEDIENCE, she was in the perfect position to be the savior of her people. She had favor from God because of her obedience, and she was positioned for such a time as this.

She was PREPARED. That one year period was not just to give her beauty treatments. She was trained in all the matters of the kingdom. She had to learn to be a queen, to know who she is, and what her role in the Kingdom is. She had to be guided by the Holy Spirit. We too need to be prepared, ready to listen and obey the Holy Spirit, to learn our roles in the Kingdom of God, and know how to operate under Kingdom Principles.

Beauty is not sufficient. Vashti was beautiful, but disobedient. She was headstrong, and that was not what the king needed. Our King (God) needs obedience and people ready to serve and obey with precision.

The hallmark of the post modern era is that people persist in doing what feels right to them, but that is not obedience to God. All we need to do is look at Judges Chapters 15-19 to see the results of people doing what feels right to them in their own eyes.

We as adults have failed our children by not teaching them what is right and what is wrong. Our young people are falling on the battleground of choice without the courage and conviction to choose what is right in place of the desires of their flesh.

God wants to empower us to be ready for such a time as this, to be effective in His Kingdom, and not to settle for less. We are to choose God’s best, not what the World offers.

(Heather’s comment. This was a powerful lesson. And it is true that we have to ready our children to make those hard decisions. For as the time draws to a close and the end time days appear, it will cause our children to have to make harder and harder choices than even we had to face.)

We need to know who we are in the kingdom.

We have to know our role, to be the Bride of Christ and to be obedient and serve the King at His pleasure. And it is His pleasure to show us off. In the books of Numbers and Judges it says that everyone did what was right in their own eyes, but we are not of this kingdom, and we need to do what is right in God’s eyes. We are the Bride of the King, and the King’s servants and His Kingdom is for everlasting to everlasting. We do not want to get distracted from doing His will. 

When we understand this earth is not our home, that it’s messy and we don’t belong here, we can look with eyes as it says in Psalm 91 and see the destruction of the wicked, and not get distracted with what we are going to do about it. We only do what the King tells us to do.

When the King makes a decree the angels in heaven do not whine or argue with Father God, they do God’s bidding. Why do we whine or argue? We need to be saying, “Yes Lord, Yes Lord!”

Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;

Stuff will happen. Stuff will always happen but we are to do stuff for God’s Kingdom.

We are one or the other. Jesus told a parable of two sons, where the Father asks the sons to go into the field and do a task. One son refuses, thinks about it and goes and does the work. The other son agrees to do the work, but then does not go and do the work. Neither of them perfectly obeyed the Father, but the first son did go and do the work.

Nobody in this story is good, for one son was willing and disobedient, the other son was not willing, but was obedient. God requires us to be WILLING AND OBEDIENT. To be quick and cheery about carrying out His commands.

Joy shared about a job situation that happened a few years ago where God taught her an important lesson. She got a job review from her boss and her boss was not pleased with her work, and mentioned to Joy that she knew that Joy and the other workers talked about her behind her back.

God gave Joy the following scripture:

1 Peter 2:18 AMP [You who are] household servants, be submissive to your masters with all [proper] respect, not only to those who are kind and considerate and reasonable, but also to those who are surly (overbearing, unjust, and crooked).

Joy said, “OK, God, I get it.” She purposed in her heart not to talk about her boss, to move away if her fellow workers were talking about her boss, and not give assent, but to say, “I don’t know.” Her heart adjusted and her behavior changed. And when her next performance evaluation came, she was told she was invaluable to the department and received the highest raise.

That’s what God wants, us to be willing and obedient. He will not put us in position unless we are willing and obedient. We will be judged by our behavior under authority.

If we are dealing with a person who is hard to get along with, we have to rely on God and discern ourselves. Are we in rebellion, stubbornness, or are we positive. If we are not willing and obedient to earthly authority, God cannot position us with greater authority.

Remember God told us that to obey is better than sacrifice.

Willing and obedient have to go together. And we will be tested in areas where issues are challenged in this area.

Joy then shared after she changed her heart, the boss was gone within a year. When we are showing correct behavior, things change in the supernatural.

We can be upset about people in our lives, unwilling and disobedient. But the truth is, if we change one element, it changes the whole. Change yourself and it changes the system. If we are willing to do that, and it is possible to change ourselves to display God’s purpose and intent, then we are in line with the Word of God. That is far better than expecting the world to change for us.

We have to get to the place where we are steady and not change no matter what is thrown at us, then we can stay at peace, with the peace of God that passes all understanding. That does not mean everything will be OK in our lives. We can be happy and peaceful when everything is falling down around us, crushing us, and still be happy on the inside. For we know Jesus is on the throne and we can trust Jesus.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him, bring it on, for it will not affect my peace. God’s got it.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

No matter how bad things seem, they will not be bad forever. Paul suffered many things. He was shipwrecked, beaten several times with 39 lashes, left for dead, in prison, etc. yet he found that no reason to whine. Whatever it was that he suffered, he chose to serve God.

This was an incredible study, and these new insights are very convicting for me. I hope that they bless you as well and that your day is blessed.

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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