Pastor Greg continues this “Legendary” series this week by looking at the superhero example of Esther.
Then Mordecai told … Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” ~ Esther 4:13-14
Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.”~ Esther 7:3-4
King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is he— The man who has dared to do such a thing?” Esther said, “An adversary and enemy! This vile Haman!” ~ Esther 7:5-6a
Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen. – Esther 7:6b
WHY DO I CONSIDER ESTHER A LEGENDARY HERO?
1) Before Esther took on this life endangering mission she wisely asked all of her fellow believers to fast and pray for her success for three days.
Are your prayers more about asking God to bless what you are already doing or are your prayers more about asking God to help you do what He is blessing?
2) On two different occasions Esther literally risked her life on behalf of her people.
Are you willing to risk, even to suffer, great personal loss in order to protect the rights or needs of others? Maybe God intentionally guided you into your position, into your circumstance, for such a time as this.
3) Esther was very patient and waited upon God to set everything up just right before she took action.
Esther knew how to be still, how to stop striving on her own and she knew how to wait upon the Lord. What about you? How patient are you when it comes to waiting on the Lord?
4) When the time came to expose, confront and accuse Haman she did so with boldness, strength and courage.
How bold, strong and courageous are you? When God calls you to speak up for Him, for His truths, for His ways, are you willing to do that even in a culture that despises God and despises you for loving God?
ALL OUR LEGENDARY HEROES
1) Had a personal, faith-based relationship with God.
2) Obeyed the ways of God rather than the will of men.
3) Trust God to do impossible things.
ALOHA GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
READ: Esther 4:13-14
1) Mordecai implies that Esther’s position as Queen has been orchestrated by God’s providential hand for the express purpose of having her in the position where she can save the Jews of Persia from genocide. Do you think God works this way, guiding individual lives for the good of a larger purpose? Why or why not?
2) Have you witnessed this “hand of providence” in your life as well? If so, please share it with the group.
3) How does this impact our idea of “free will?” If we are really free to make any choices and decisions we want along the way and yet still end up where God wants us to end up did we really make free will choices? Why or why not?
4) Pastor Greg loves to refer to God as “The Master Chess Player.” How might that analogy inform your idea about making your free will choices but still ending up, ultimately where God wants you to be?
The following Psalm is a long passage for you to look at today. David repeats the same primary theme in many different ways throughout these forty verses. The wicked may prosper for a short while but they will ultimately come to ruin. The righteous may suffer for a short while but will ultimately experience victory. I want to encourage you to read the entire passage. (Everyone might want to read this themselves silently rather than reading the entire passage aloud.) Then come back and read just verses one through six and especially focus in on, and meditate on, verse four.
READ: Psalm 37:1-40 then Psalm 37:1-6 then Psalm 37:4
1) Do you feel encouraged by the over arching message of this Psalm? Why or why not? Do you ever find yourself fretting about evildoers or being envious toward wrongdoers? Some people seem to get away with everything. They disrespect God and yet they have incredible wealth and success yet many who live fully for the Lord struggle in painful poverty and hardship. How can David say the wicked only prosper a short while and the righteous only suffer a short while?
2) David says if you trust in the Lord, do good; cultivate faithfulness, delight yourself in the Lord, commit your way to the Lord and trust in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart. Have you really found that to be true in your life? Do you have any desires in your heart that God has not given you yet? Does that experience contradict this Scripture? Why or why not?
3) For example, let’s say a desire of my heart is to inherit several billion dollars, buy a yacht and sale the seven seas sharing the Gospel with everyone I meet. I am trusting in the Lord. I am doing good. I am cultivating faithfulness. I am delighting myself in the Lord. I am committing my way to the Lord and I am trusting the Lord. Yet, I don’t have billions of dollars or a yacht. So how can this verse be true that God will give me the desires of my heart?
4) Could the answer be found in fully understanding what it means to “delight myself in the Lord?” How do you know if you are fully delighting yourself in the Lord? What is the evidence of that? If you are fully delighting yourself in the Lord, what happens to the desires of your heart? What do you start to want more than anything else when you are delighting yourself in the Lord?
READ: Matthew 6:16-18
1) Pastor Greg mentioned that Esther asked everyone to pray and fast for her before she took on this mission. Have you ever combined fasting and prayer during a time of great need in your life? If so, share it with the group. Does fasting do something that increases the power or success rate of our prayers? If so, what does it do, how does it do it and why does it work that way?
2) Why does Jesus give these instructions about fasting? Why should we keep our fasting secret and between us and God? How are corporate fasting and prayer situations like the one in Esther different? For example, is it okay for a church congregation to fast together as one body, asking God to solve an especially difficult situation for them?
READ: John 15:13
1) Why is laying down your life for your friends the greatest kind of love? Is Jesus just referring to His own sacrifice here or is He expecting us to be willing to do the same on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ?
READ: Psalm 46:10, Psalm 27:14 and Isaiah 40:31
1) How can you be sure you have “ceased striving?” How can you be sure you are “waiting on the Lord?” How does “being still” allow for God’s miraculous provision to manifest in your life? Why can’t you collect that provision while you are running through life to and fro?
READ: 1 Chronicles 19:13, Joshua 1:9 and Joshua 10:25
1) Are these commands to “be strong and courageous” just for these Biblical characters or do they apply to all of us as Christ followers today? What does it mean to “be strong and courageous?” Where does our strength and courage come from? How can we increase our strength and courage in this context?