Bible Reading and Commentary for the Week January 8-13, 2018

Bible Reading and Commentary for the Week
January 8-13, 2018
Esther – The theme of Esther could be Rom. 8:28: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  The time in History is 479 B.C.  The Jews previously had been taken into Babylonian captivity in 605 B.C.  Under the Edict of Cyrus in 539 B.C., many had returned to Judah.  The Jews of Esther’s day were those who had remained in Persia.  God used Esther to save them from destruction.  Some of those Jews returned to Jerusalem with Ezra in 537 B.C.
Monday, January 8, Esther 1
v. 1 – The Hebrew name for Xerxes was Ahasuerus.  The Greek historian, Herodotus, pictured him as hot-headed and at times irrational.  When a storm destroyed a great pontoon bridge built for his armies to cross over into Europe, he had the sea whipped!  This probably explains his actions in dealing with Queen Vashti.  The real lesson in chapter one is not the behavior of Xerxes and Vashti, but the power of God invisibly directing human affairs for the ultimate good of His people.
Tuesday, January 9, Esther 2
vv. 12, 17 – What makes a woman beautiful?  It’s not outward, physical features, not the finest of cosmetic make-up.  The Apostle Peter describes a Christian woman’s real beauty in I Peter 3:3-5. We would hope that’s what really attracted King Xerxes to Esther.  Read also Prov. 31:30.
Wednesday, January 10, Esther 3
v. 2 – Mordecai did the right thing.  This kneeling apparently went beyond respect.  It was worship.  Read Matt. 4:10.
v. 5 – While some worldly people respect us for our God-fearing position, some hate us, as Haman did.
Thursday, January 11, Esther 4
v. 11 – The reason for this Persian custom was that Persian kings lived under constant threat of assassination.  You, therefore, couldn’t approach them unless invited.
v. 14 – The words, “Who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this,” indicate that Mordecai, if he didn’t realize it before, now sees God’s directing hand in all of this.
Friday, January 12, Esther 5
v. 2 – It took courage for Esther to do this.  What gave her and gives us the courage to face overwhelming difficulties in life is found in this word of God, Phil. 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
v. 14 – The unbeliever builds his own death trap as Haman did.  When the trap-door gives way beneath his feet at life’s end, he doesn’t just dangle in the air but plunges into a life of never-ending suffering in hell.  How important we bring the many in this world heading for hell the Gospel!  The Gospel is the good news that God wants all people to be saved and that Jesus has won eternal life for everyone by His redeeming work on the cross.  Memorize and tell them of John 3:16.
Saturday, January 13, Esther 6
v. 6 – “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)  Let this be a warning to us.  God brings down the proud.  He elevates the humble.  (Matt. 23:12)

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