Today, I thought I'd share with you my notes for tomorrows Christian Union. They're not perfect and I've sort of followed the structure of "Esther: God's invisible hand" by Helen Clark published by DayOne. Nevertheless, I thought I'd share it!
Oh, and you might want to read the chapter here first:
Esther 1 v 1-22
The book starts with king Xerxes holding a massive banquet
- There would have been a lot of people. There would have been many people from each of the 127 provinces.
- The banquet lasted 180 days or almost six months. Obviously there would have been business matters and invasions to plan as well as the eating and not all the representatives would have stayed the whole time but it still would have been a very busy six months!
- He was basically showing off about how much he owned.
- (v6-7) The garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars. There were couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and other costly stones. Wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the king's liberality.
Why did he hold the banquet? (v1-6)
- It seems mainly to show off all his wealth and splendour. His grandfather had been very successful in taking over many lands and he probably wanted to prove that he was also great and powerful.
- Pride probably had a very large part to play but are we any different?
o We often want to show off new clothes, new technology such as mobile phones, or new games. Our status in life is often measured by what we have rather than who we are.
o Having new stuff is nice but we also have to remember that being kind and generous to others is much more important. God doesn’t care about what we have but what we do, what our personality is like. Ultimately, our possessions won’t last.
In verses 7-8, it talks about the guests being allowed to drink in their own way. This basically means they could ignore the tradition of not drinking before the host or drinking more than the host. That meant that they could have basically drunk as much alcohol as they liked and got very drunk!!
- Christians differ on whether you should drink alcohol or not but they do agree on this:
o Drinking too much is not right.
o Getting drunk is wrong because our thoughts and actions are affected.
o We are called to always have our wits about us so we are ready and willing to witness for Christ and set a good example. We can’t do that if we’re drunk!
The first queen (v9-12)
- Xerxes was married to a woman called Vashti and she was busy holding her own banquet for the women.
- Xerxes, while very drunk, thought it would be a good idea to order Vashti to dress up in the family jewels and parade herself in front of his guests.
o Although it may seem that she was in the wrong, not only was it wise of her to not go into a room of very drunk men and polite of her not to leave her own guests but it was also against tradition and what was considered right for Xerxes to command her to come in the first place.
o Nevertheless, it was still a very dangerous thing to refuse the king.
She paid dearly (v13-22)
- This refusal would have been very embarrassing for a man as proud as Xerxes.
- He didn’t let her get away with what she’d done and so selected some ‘wise men’ to give him advice on what to do.
o They suggested that Vashti should never see the king again and lose her title of queen. Vashti would also have had no say in this matter
- This may seem very harsh but remember that God’s plan was unfolding and this had to happen for further developments and for his people to be saved.
- God’s work behind the scenes may not be visible yet but he is certainly there!
"So long, and thanks for all the fish."
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