Daniel – In the Fire Introduction & Invitation

You’re invited to our brand new series:

In the Fire – Daniel – 6 weeks

 Description: When the heat gets turned up in our lives, we have a choice to make. Will we choose the path of least resistance or will we remain faithful to God and live with courage?  Our six-week series explores the key themes in the book of Daniel: surviving change, living for God in hostile culture, God’s redemptive plan for his people, the sovereignty of God, and future prophecy.  We’ll see Daniel and his friends remain faithful as they are tested and tempted to compromise to the world’s pressure.  We gain a powerful picture of a faithful person and his challenges living In the Fire. We hope you can join us!

 Dates           Titles            Scriptures

Sep. 11 –      Surviving Change (Daniel 1)                             

Sep. 18 –      Living on a Prayer (Dan 2)
Sep. 25 –      In the Fire (Dan 3)
Oct. 2 –        Living Humbly (Dan 4-5)

Oct. 9 –        Surviving the Lion’s Den (Dan 6)

Oct. 16–        Profiting from Prophecy (Dan 7-12)

Hope you can join us!

Introduction 

An earthquake shakes the foundation of our security; a tornado blows away a lifetime of treasures; an assassin’s bullet changes national history; a drunk driver claims an innocent victim; a divorce shatters a home; terrorism frightens a nation. International and personal tragedies make our world seem a fearful place, overflowing with evil and seemingly out of control. And the litany of bombings, coups, murders, and natural disasters could cause us to think that God is absent or impotent. “Where is God?” we cry, engulfed by sorrow and despair.

Twenty-five centuries ago, Daniel could have despaired. He and thousands of his countrymen had been deported to a foreign land after Judah was conquered. Daniel found himself facing an egocentric despot and surrounded by idolaters. Instead of giving in or giving up, this courageous young man held fast to his faith in his God. Daniel knew that despite the circumstances, God was sovereign and was working out his plan for nations and individuals. The book of Daniel centers around this profound truth—the sovereignty of God.

After a brief account of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege and defeat of Jerusalem, the scene quickly shifts to Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). These men held prominent positions within the Babylonian government. Daniel, in particular, held such a position because of his ability to interpret the king’s dreams that tell of God’s unfolding plan (chapters 2 and 4). Sandwiched between the dreams is the fascinating account of Daniel’s three friends and the furnace (chapter 3). Because they refused to bow down to an image of gold, they were condemned to a fiery death. But God intervened and spared their lives.

Belshazzar ruled Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar, and chapter 5 tells of his encounter with God’s message written on a wall. Daniel, who was summoned to interpret the message, predicted Babylon’s fall to the Medes and Persians. This prediction came true that very night, and Darius the Mede conquered the Babylonian kingdom.

Daniel became one of Darius’s most trusted advisers. His privileged position angered other administrators, who plotted his death by convincing the king to outlaw prayer. In spite of the law, Daniel continued to pray to his sovereign Lord. As a result, he was condemned to die in a den of hungry lions. Again, God intervened, saving him, and shutting the mouths of the lions (chapter 6).

The book concludes with a series of visions that Daniel had during the reigns of Belshazzar (chapters 7-8), Darius (chapter 9), and Cyrus (chapters 10-12). These dreams dramatically outline God’s future plans, beginning with Babylon and continuing to the end of the age. They give a preview of God’s redemption and have been called the key to all biblical prophecy.

God is sovereign. He was in control in Babylon, and he has been moving in history, controlling the destinies of people ever since. And he is here now! Despite news reports or personal stress, we can be confident that God is in control. As you read Daniel, watch God work and find your security in his sovereignty.

Vital Statistics

Purpose: To give a historical account of the faithful Jews who lived in captivity and to show how God is in control of heaven and earth, directing the forces of nature, the destiny of nations, and the care of his people

Author: Daniel

Original Audience: The other captives in Babylon

Date Written: Approximately 536 B.C., recording events that occurred from about 605-536 B.C.

Setting: Daniel had been taken captive and deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. There he served in the government for about 70 years during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus.

Key Verse: “He [God] reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light” (2:22).

Key People: Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Belshazzar, Darius

Key Places: Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, the blazing furnace, Belshazzar’s feast, the den of lions

Special Features: Daniel’s apocalyptic visions (chapters 7-12) give a glimpse of God’s plan for the ages, including a direct prediction of the Messiah.

The Blueprint

  1. DANIEL’S LIFE (1:1-6:28)
    Daniel and his three friends chose not to eat the king’s food. They did not bow down to the king’s image, even under penalty of death. Daniel continued to pray even though he knew he might be noticed and sentenced to death. These men are inspiring examples for us of how to live godly lives in a sinful world. When we face trials, we can expect God to also be with us through them. May God grant us similar courage to remain faithful under pressure.
  2. DANIEL’S VISIONS (7:1-12:13)
    These visions gave the captives added confidence that God is in control of history. They were to wait patiently in faith and not worship the gods of Babylon or accept that society’s way of life. God still rules over human activities. Evil will be overcome, so we should wait patiently and not give in to the temptations and pressures of the sinful way of life around us.
MEGATHEMES
THEME EXPLANATION IMPORTANCE
God Is in Control God is all-knowing, and he is in charge of world events. God overrules and removes rebellious leaders who defy him. God will overcome evil; no one is exempt. But he will deliver the faithful who follow him. Although nations vie for world control now, one day Christ’s Kingdom will replace and surpass the kingdoms of this world. Our faith is sure because our future is secure in Christ. We must have courage and put our faith in God, who controls everything.
Purpose in Life Daniel and his three friends are examples of dedication and commitment. They determined to serve God regardless of the consequences. They did not give in to pressures from an ungodly society because they had a clear purpose in life. It is wise to make trusting and obeying God alone our true purpose in life. This will give us direction and peace in spite of the circumstances or consequences. We should disobey anyone who asks us to disobey God. Our first allegiance must be to God.
Perseverance Daniel served for 70 years in a foreign land that was hostile to God, yet he did not compromise his faith in God. He was truthful, persistent in prayer, and disinterested in power for personal glory. In order to fulfill your life’s purpose, you need staying power. Don’t let your Christian distinctness become blurred. Be relentless in your prayers, maintain your integrity, and be content to serve God wherever he puts you.
God’s Faithfulness God was faithful in Daniel’s life. He delivered him from execution, from a den of lions, and from enemies who hated him. God cares for his people and deals patiently with them. We can trust God to be with us through any trial. Because he has been faithful to us, we should remain faithful to him.

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Source: Life Application Study Bible, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1374-1375.

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Letters to Leaders – 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus Invitation

Series: Letters to Leaders (1, 2 Tim. & Titus) 5 weeks

 Description: As Christians all of us are called to be leaders in some area of our life. The weight of leading others and reflecting Christ is placed on the shoulders of every Christian who is also empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring about change.

In our five week series, “Letters to Leaders” we will explore leadership principles from 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus.

 Dates           Titles Scriptures                                   Events     

Aug. 7           Leaders Live the Faith (1 Tim. 1)            Communion
Aug. 14         Leaders Lead by Example (1 Tim. 3 )      Back to School Events

Aug. 21         Leaders Serve (1 Tim 4-5)

Aug. 28         Leaders are Prepared (2 Tim 3)
Sep. 4           Leaders Teach (Titus)                            Labor Day Weekend

I hope you can join us!

Darrell

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Ezra – Reclaim – Intro. & Invitation

Series: Reclaim (Ezra) 4 weeks

Description: Our four week series Reclaim addresses what God did for the Jewish people throughout the events recorded in the book of Ezra. Through failure, forgetting what is important, and sin, we too may become exiles attempting to return to God. However, just as in the book of Ezra God reclaimed his people according to his promises, he also reclaims and redeems our lives for his purpose in this world.

Dates           Titles            Scriptures

July 10          Reclaim the Promise (Ezra 1)
July 17          Reclaim the Purpose (Ezra 3)

July 24          Reclaim the Presence (Ezra 5-6)

July 31          Reclaim the Truth (Ezra 7)

Ezra Introduction

Name the truly great men and women of your lifetime. Celebrities, including politicians, war heroes, sports figures, and maybe your parents and special friends come to mind. You remember them because of certain acts or character qualities. Now, name some biblical heroes—figures etched in your mind through countless sermons and church school lessons. This list undoubtedly includes many who served God faithfully and courageously. Does your list include Ezra? Far from being well known, this unheralded man of God deserves to be mentioned in any discussion of greatness.

Ezra was a priest, a scribe, and a great leader. His name means “help,” and his whole life was dedicated to serving God and God’s people. Tradition says that Ezra wrote most of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Psalm 119 and that he led the council of 120 men who compiled the Old Testament canon. The narrative of the book of Ezra is centered on God and his promise that the Jews would return to their land, as prophesied by Jeremiah . This message formed the core of Ezra’s life. The last half of the book gives a very personal glimpse of Ezra. His knowledge of Scripture and his God-given wisdom were so obvious to the king that he appointed Ezra to lead the second emigration to Jerusalem, to teach the people God’s Word, and to administer national life (7:14-26).

Ezra not only knew God’s Word, he believed and obeyed it. Upon learning of the Israelites’ sins of intermarriage and idolatry, Ezra fell in humility before God and prayed for the nation (9:1-15). Their disobedience touched him deeply (10:1). His response helped lead the people back to God.

Second Chronicles ends with Cyrus, king of Persia, asking for volunteers to return to Jerusalem to build a house for God. Ezra continues this account (1:1-3 is almost identical to 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23) as two caravans of God’s people were returning to Jerusalem. Zerubbabel, the leader of the first trip, was joined by 42,360 pilgrims who journeyed homeward (chapter 2). After arriving, they began to build the altar and the Temple foundations (chapter 3). But opposition arose from the local inhabitants, and a campaign of accusations and rumors temporarily halted the project (chapter 4). During this time, the prophets Haggai and Zechariah encouraged the people (chapter 5). Finally, Darius decreed that the work should proceed unhindered (chapter 6).

After a 58-year gap, Ezra led a group of Jews from Persia. Armed with decrees and authority from Artaxerxes I, Ezra’s task was to administer the affairs of the land (chapters 7-8). Upon arriving, he learned of intermarriage between God’s people and their pagan neighbors. He wept and prayed for the nation (chapter 9). Ezra’s example of humble confession led to national revival (chapter 10). Ezra, a man of God and a true hero, was a model for Israel, and he is a fitting model for us.

Read Ezra, the book, and remember Ezra, the man—a humble, obedient helper. Commit yourself to serving God as he did, with your whole life.

Vital Statistics

Purpose: To show God’s faithfulness and the way he kept his promise to restore his people to their land

Author: Not stated, but probably Ezra

Original Audience: The exiles who returned from captivity

Date Written: Around 450 B.C., recording events from about 538-450 B.C. (omitting 516-458 B.C.); possibly begun earlier in Babylon and finished in Jerusalem

Ezra follows 2 Chronicles as a history of the Jewish people, recording their return to the land after the Captivity.

Key People: Cyrus, Zerubbabel, Haggai, Zechariah, Darius I, Artaxerxes I, Ezra

Key Places: Babylon, Jerusalem

Special Features: Ezra and Nehemiah were one book in the Hebrew Bible, and, with Esther, they comprise the post-captivity historical books. The post-captivity prophetic books are Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai and Zechariah should be studied with Ezra because they prophesied during the period of the reconstruction.

The Blueprint

  1. THE RETURN LED BY ZERUBBABEL (1:1-6:22)
    1. The first group of exiles returns to the land
    2. The people rebuild the Temple

Finally given the chance to return to their homeland, the people started to rebuild the Temple, only to be stopped by opposition from their enemies. God’s work in the world is not without opposition. We must not get discouraged and quit, as the returning people did at first, but continue on boldly in the face of difficulties, as they did later with encouragement from the prophets.

  1. THE RETURN LED BY EZRA (7:1-10:44)
    1. The second group of exiles returns to the land
    2. Ezra opposes intermarriage

Ezra returned to Jerusalem almost 80 years after Zerubbabel, only to discover that the people had married pagan or foreign spouses. This polluted the religious purity of the people and endangered the future of the nation. Believers today must be careful not to threaten their walk with God by taking on the practices of unbelievers.

Megathemes
Theme Explanation Importance
The Jews Return By returning to the land of Israel from Babylon, the Jews showed their faith in God’s promise to restore them as a people. They returned not only to their homeland but also to the place where their forefathers had promised to follow God. God shows his mercy to every generation. He compassionately restores his people. No matter how difficult our present “captivity,” we are never far from his love and mercy. He restores us when we return to him.
Rededication In 536 B.C., Zerubbabel led the people in rebuilding the altar and laying the Temple foundation. They reinstated daily sacrifices and annual festivals, and rededicated themselves to a new spiritual worship of God. In rededicating the altar, the people were recommitting themselves to God and his service. To grow spiritually, our commitment must be reviewed and renewed often. As we rededicate ourselves to God, our lives become altars to him.
Opposition Opposition came soon after the altar was built and the Temple foundation laid. Enemies of the Jews used deceit to hinder the building for over six years. Finally, there was a decree to stop the building altogether. This opposition severely tested their wavering faith. There will always be adversaries who oppose God’s work. The life of faith is never easy. But God can overrule all opposition to his service. When we face opposition, we must not falter or withdraw, but keep active and patient.
God’s Word When the people returned to the land, they were also returning to the influence of God’s Word. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah helped encourage them, while Ezra’s preaching of Scripture built them up. God’s Word gave them what they needed to do God’s work. We also need the encouragement and direction of God’s Word. We must make it the basis for our faith and actions to finish God’s work and fulfill our obligations. We must never waver in our commitment to hear and obey his Word.
Faith and Action The urging of Israel’s leaders motivated the people to complete the Temple. Over the years they had intermarried with idol worshipers and adopted their pagan practices. Their faith, tested and revived, also led them to remove these sins from their lives. Faith led them to complete the Temple and to remove sin from their society. As we trust God with our hearts and minds, we must also act by completing our daily responsibilities. It is not enough to say we believe; we must make the changes God requires.

 

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Source: Life Application Study Bible, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 719-720.

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God’s Completed Work – Esther 9-10

God finishes what He starts. God finished creation. God finished the work to secure salvation on the cross. God will finish all of His work in order to fulfill prophecy of end times. At the end of the book of Esther we find God’s finishing another chapter in the lives of His people. His work continues to be completed in the life of every believer.

Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive.” That was God’s counsel to the Jews through the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 29:7, nkjv); and for the most part, they obeyed it. It wasn’t the people of God  who had declared war on the their enemies, but the enemies of God’s people who had declared war on them.

“D Day” arrived for the Jews, the day appointed by Haman’s decree for the slaughter of God’s chosen people in the empire. But Mordecai’s decree had changed that “D” from “destruction” to “deliverance.” The Jews had permission to resist their enemies and had been given nine months to prepare for the encounter. The people in the empire who hated the Jews were hoping for victory, but “the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them” (Est. 9:1, niv).

1. Defend the People of God  (Est. 9:1-16)

The Jewish men were organized and armed, ready to meet any enemy who would attack them and their families and try to take their possessions. But the Lord had given them a greater weapon than their swords, because “the fear of the Jews fell upon them” (8:17, kjv; 9:2). This was a fear that God had sent into the hearts of the Gentiles to keep them from fighting His people.

One of the problems with our world today is that “there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18, kjv). Like Pharaoh, people are saying, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” (Ex. 5:2, kjv) But have they seen anything in the people of God that would make them want to fear the Lord? Is there such devotion to God among God’s people that an outsider attending one of our meetings would fall down on his face, worship God, and “report that God is truly among you“? (1 Cor. 14:25, nkjv)

The fear of God protects those who fear God and believe His promises. Because the Jews believed Mordecai’s decree, they had new courage and were not afraid of the enemy; and their courage put fear into the hearts of the enemy. (See Phil. 1:28.) Before King Jehoshaphat went out to battle, God’s message to him was: “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper” (2 Chron. 20:20). That is still wise counsel.

But there was another aspect to this fear that helped give the Jews their victory, and that was the people’s fear of Mordecai (Est. 9:3). The princes, deputies, governors, and officers of the king throughout the empire were in such awe of Mordecai that they even helped the Jews defend themselves against the Persians. God had given Mordecai his high position and his great reputation, and Mordecai used his authority to do the will of God.

The Persians who attacked the Jews were actually cooperating with Haman, an Amalekite; and this made them the enemies of God (Est. 9:5). In slaying those who attacked them, the Jews were only doing to the enemy what King Saul had refused to do (1 Sam. 15).

In Esther 9:5-15, we’re given the report from Shushan; and, in verses 16-17, additional news is given about what happened in the other parts of the empire. During two days of conflict, the Jews killed 800 of their enemies in Susa alone (vv. 6, 15). It’s remarkable that so many Persians would have dared to attack the Jews right in the king’s own city where both Esther and Mordecai lived. Perhaps these people had been loyal to Haman and dependant on his bounty. Now they were angry because their hero had fallen and his wealth was gone.

Since the Jews were not the aggressors, it means that the ten sons of Haman had taken up arms and attacked the Jews; and all ten of them were slain. The bodies of the ten sons were hanged on Hainan’s gallows as a warning to the enemy. (In the text of the Hebrew Scriptures, the ten names are arranged on the page to look like a gallows. On the Feast of Purim, the synagogue reader reads these ten names all in one breath because the sons of Haman all died together.) The sight of ten corpses on Hainan’s gallows would certainly deter the Persians from attacking the Jews and would result in the saving of lives.

Some commentators have seen Esther’s request in verses 12-13 as evidence of a vindictive spirit on her part, but this was not the case. Haman’s strongest support was in the capital city where people had bowed down to him and benefited from his favors. Since it would be easy for them to get together and plan their strategy, Esther wanted to be sure that none of them would survive to cause further trouble. Perhaps she had received private intelligence that Haman’s supporters had planned to attack again the next day, prompting her to ask Ahasuerus for permission to extend the Jews’ right to defend themselves.

The Jews in the other parts of the empire killed 75,000 in one day, which shows how many people hated the Jews and wanted to destroy them. It averages out to about 600 per province. Since the Jews were greatly outnumbered in the empire, their victory was certainly a tribute to their faith and courage.

Three times in the record it’s stated that the Jews didn’t take any of the spoil (vv. 10, 15-16). It was in taking spoil from the enemy that King Saul lost his kingdom (1 Sam. 15:12-23), and the Jews didn’t repeat his mistake. They were not out after wealth. They wanted only to protect themselves and vindicate their right to live safely in the empire. And remember, the Jews killed only those who first attacked them; the Jews were not the aggressors.

2. Celebrate the Salvation of God  (Est. 9:17-32)

It’s sad when a nation (or a church) forgets its heroes and the providential events that have kept it alive. How easy it is for a new generation to come along and take for granted the blessings that previous generations struggled and sacrificed to attain! The Jews didn’t make that mistake but established the Feast of Purim to remind their children year after year that God had saved Israel from destruction.

While Purim is not a Christian festival, Christians certainly ought to rejoice with their Jewish friends because every spiritual blessing we have has come through the Jews. The Jews gave to the world the knowledge of the true and living God, the Scriptures, and the Savior. The first Christians were Jewish believers, and so were the first missionaries. Jesus was a Jew who died on Passover, a Jewish feast day, and rose again from the dead on another Jewish holy day, the Feast of Firstfruits. The Holy Spirit came from heaven upon a group of Jewish believers on a Jewish holiday, Pentecost. “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). If there had been no Jews, there would be no church.

There’s nothing wrong with meaningful tradition. The church is always one generation short of extinction; and if we don’t pass on to our children and grandchildren what God has done for us and our fathers, the church will die of apathy and ignorance. “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Ps. 34:11, niv). It’s when tradition gradually becomes traditionalism that we get into trouble. Theologian Jaroslav Pelikan said, “Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.”

The Jews in the provinces finished their fighting on the thirteenth day of Adar (March) and spent the next day celebrating. But since the Jews in Shushan were still defending themselves on the fourteenth day, they didn’t get to celebrate until the fifteenth. In the beginning, the Jews were united in their victory but divided in their celebration. It all depended on whether you lived in the city or the country. Mordecai, however, later issued a letter that instructed all the Jews to celebrate on both the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month (Est. 9:20-22).

The name “Purim” is the plural of the Babylonian word pur which means “lot.” It originates from Hainan’s casting of lots to determine the day when the Jews would be destroyed (Est. 9:24; 3:7). Even though there was no divine sanction given to this new feast, the Jews determined that it would be celebrated from generation to generation (9:26-28). Note the emphasis on teaching the children the meaning of Purim so that the message of the feast would not be lost in future generations.

There is a godly patriotism that goes beyond mere nationalism and civic pride and gives glory to God for what He has done. To see the hand of God in history and praise God for His goodness and mercy, and to ask God to forgive us for our sins, is perhaps the best way for the Christian patriot to celebrate a national holiday. But dedication must follow celebration. The American political leader Adlai Stevenson said, “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”

Not only did Mordecai the prime minister send a letter of instruction to the Jews in the empire, but Esther the queen also joined Mordecai in sending a second letter (vv. 29-32). Perhaps some of the Jews in the provinces didn’t want to change from their original day of celebration (v. 19), and it was necessary for both the queen and prime minister to issue this second letter to keep peace in the nation. Too often God’s people defeat the enemy and then celebrate the victory by fighting among themselves!

This second letter is described as “words of peace and truth” (v. 30), which suggests that there was a division among the Jewish people that needed to be healed. Not only did Esther and Mordecai send letters, but they also had the matter written into the book (diary?) that Mordecai used as his personal record (vv. 20, 32). It’s possible that this book became a part of the official records of the empire.

The story of the victory of the Jews over their enemies was celebrated in an annual feast, recorded in two official letters, written in a journal, and ultimately included in the Old Testament Scriptures! What a rebuke to our modern “throw-away society” that has forgotten history and, like the Athenians of old, spends its time “in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21, kjv). Philosopher George Santayana was right when he said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it.”

3. Continue the Work of God  (Est. 10:1-3)

This brief chapter tells us that Mordecai, unlike his predecessor Haman, used his office to serve the king and help the Jews. Sometimes when people are elevated to high office, they forget their roots and ignore the needs of the common people. Mordecai wasn’t that kind of man. Even though his political deeds are recorded in the official annals of the empire, what he did for his people has been recorded by the Lord and will be rewarded.

Why did the author mention the new tax program of King Ahasuerus? What does this have to do with Mordecai and the Jews? Some Bible students think that it was Mordecai who engineered this new system of tribute as a substitute for war and plunder as a source of kingdom wealth. Now that there was peace in the kingdom, the Jews were free to work, earn money, and prosper; and the prosperity of the Jews increased the prosperity of the empire in general. Mordecai reminded the king that the throne deserved a share in that prosperity. After all, it was the king who had chosen Esther, a Jewess, and promoted Mordecai, a Jew; and all three of them had worked together to save the Jews from destruction. Didn’t the people of the empire, Jews and Gentiles alike, have an obligation to their monarch?

But the important message in this chapter is that God continued to use Mordecai to help the Jewish people. The Jews were aliens in a foreign land and subject to all kinds of harassment and abuse. Mordecai saw to it that they were treated with fairness. The last words of the book are variously translated. The Authorized Version says “and speaking peace to all his seed,” suggesting that he encouraged the Jews and kept them at peace with one another. The niv reads “and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.” This implies that there were still forces at work in the empire opposing and threatening the Jews, but Mordecai represented them at court and protected them. “He did his best for his people, and was a friend at court for all of them” (TLB).

The exciting drama of Esther is over, but the blessings go right on. God preserved the Jewish nation so that we today can have a Bible and a Savior.  In the book of Esther, we clearly see God at work in the lives of individuals and in the affairs of a nation. Even when it looks as if the world is in the hands of evil people, God is still in control, protecting those who are his. Although we may not understand everything happening around us, we must trust in God’s protection and retain our integrity by doing what we know is right. Esther, who risked her life by appearing before the king, became a heroine. Mordecai, who was effectively condemned to death, rose to become the second highest ranking official in the nation. No matter how hopeless our condition, or how much we would like to give up, we need not despair. God is in control of our world.

www.Upwards.Church

Watch Messages: YouTube-Upwards Church

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Sources: Life Application Study Bible , (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1988), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Chapter 10”.
The Bible Exposition Commentary – History, (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2003), WORD
search CROSS e-book, 746-751.
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