You Won’t Be Satisfied If You Live That Way

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Esther 6:1-14. Let’s go!

Esther 6:1 (NIV) 
1  That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him.

On verses 1-13:  I’m not sure if King Xerxes ordered that the history of his reign be read to him in bed so that it would bore him to sleep or excite him to action.  In any event while he is listening to the history of his own reign as king, King Xerxes is reminded of how Mordecai exposed a plot to assassinate King Xerxes.   When King Xerxes discovers that nothing was done to honour Mordecai for this noble deed, King Xerxes consults Haman about what should be done for a man that the king delights to honor.  Haman assumes that King Xerxes is thinking about honouring him, so Haman suggests an elaborate celebration that includes letting the man wear one of the king’s robes, ride on the king’s horse, and having a noble lead that horse while shouting, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honour!” (v9).  King Xerxes, as usual, accepts his advisor’s suggestion.  Xerxes commands that Mordecai be honoured in just that way, ironically with Haman being the one to lead the horse that Mordecai will be riding on.

Put On Those Royal Robes

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Esther 5:1-14.  There are many great lessons we can learn from this passage.  Let’s go!

Esther 5:1-2 (NIV) 
1  On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. 
2  When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

On verses 1-2:  Before approaching the king, Esther puts on her royal robes.  By putting on her royal robes, this reminded everyone – especially Esther herself and her husband the king – who Esther was: that Esther is royalty.  When Esther approaches King Xerxes, King Xerxes is pleased with her, accepts her into his presence and addresses her “Queen Esther” (v3).  Likewise, when you approach your Father’s throne in heaven, put on your royal robes.  In other words, remember who you are in Christ.  Remember that you are robed in Christ’s righteousness, endowed with Christ’s authority, chosen and precious to God, pleasing and acceptable in His sight.  When you see yourself that way, it changes the way you pray.  You can approach God with confidence, authority, love and authenticity when you know who you are in Christ.

Gain Confidence to Approach the King

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Esther 4:1-17.  Let’s go!

Esther 4:1-3 (NIV) 
1  When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 
2  But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 
3  In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

On verses 1-3:  In King Xerxes’ kingdom, you were not allowed to get close to the king if you were mourning or grieving.  That’s why Mordecai could not go past the king’s gate while wearing sackcloth and ashes, the traditional garb for someone in grief.  I’m so thankful that in the kingdom we live in, where Jesus is king, we can approach our King just as we are.  If we are grieving, mourning or burdened, we can come to Him just the same.  In fact, our King welcomes us to come to Him with our burdens.  He says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).   You can “cast your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).   

Haman’s Plot to Destroy the Jews

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Esther 2:1-23.  Let’s go! Today’s content is taken from Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (concise)

Commentary on Esther 3:1-6

Mordecai refused to reverence Haman. The religion of a Jew forbade him to give honours to any mortal man which savoured of idolatry, especially to so wicked a man as Haman. By nature all are idolaters; self is our favourite idol, we are pleased to be treated as if every thing were at our disposal.

Though religion by no means destroys good manners, but teaches us to render honour to whom honour is due, yet by a citizen of Zion, not only in his heart, but in his eyes, such a vile person as Haman was, is contemned, Psalm 15:4.

The true believer cannot obey edicts, or conform to fashions, which break the law of God. He must obey God rather than man, and leave the consequences to him. Haman was full of wrath. His device was inspired by that wicked spirit, who has been a murderer from the beginning; whose enmity to Christ and his church, governs all his children.

Why God Elevates You

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Esther 2:1-23.  Let’s go!

Esther 2:22 (NIV) 
22  But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.

On verses 1-23:  Approximately four years have passed since the events of chapter 1.  King Xerxes has returned home to Persia after unsuccessfully trying to invade Greece.  His attention now turns to finding a new queen to replace Vashti.  The prettiest girls from all over Xerxes’ kingdom are summoned to be part of an elaborate search contest.  In the end a Jewish orphan called Esther (Jewish name Hadassah) prevails as the winner and is crowned the new queen, although Esther keeps her Jewish identity a secret.

Later on, Mordecai, Esther’s older cousin who raised her and who was like a father to Esther, is sitting at the king’s gate when he overhears a plot by two of King Xerxes’ officers – Bigthana and Teresh – to assassinate the king.  

Jesus, a King Like No Other

Hi GAMErs,

Today we begin the book of Esther.  Here is some background on Esther that you may find helpful:

Despite being allowed by kings like Cyrus and Darius to return to Jerusalem (see Ezra 1 and 6), and despite being urged by prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah to return to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity as exiles (Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 29:10 and 50:8), many Jews chose to stay in Persia.  The book of Esther is about those Jews that stayed in Persia, the threat of genocide the Jews faced while in Persia, and the incredible way God used a Jewish orphan called Esther and her cousin Mordecai to save the Jews from that threat.
Scholars believe that the events described in the book of Esther took place between 483 B.C. and 473 B.C., after the events of Ezra 6 (when the temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem) and before the events of Ezra 7 (when Ezra returns to restore the sacrificial worship system in Jerusalem).

In the book of Esther, the name of God is not mentioned even once.   Yet in this book we see the sovereign hand of God working to protect and save His people.

What Laws Could Never Do, Jesus Did for Us

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Nehemiah 13:15-31.  Let’s go!

On verses 15-31:  Earlier in Nehemiah 10 the Israelites had promised to obey all of God’s commands, including not neglecting God’s house (Nehemiah 10:32-39), not working on the Sabbath day (Nehemiah 10:31), and not marrying unbelievers (Nehemiah 10:30).  Here in chapter 13 we see the Israelites breaking each of these commitments.  They neglect God’s house by failing to provide financially for the Levites and servants working in the temple (Nehemiah 13:10-11).  They desecrate the Sabbath by doing work on the Sabbath day (Nehemiah 13:15-18).  They marry unbelieving women from other nations (Nehemiah 13:23-28).

Nehemiah does whatever he can to keep the people from sinning, even if it means shutting the gates on the Sabbath day to keep people from doing business (v19-21) and driving out everything unbelieving and foreign from the priests and Levites (v29-31).  Yet it would just be a matter of time before the Israelites would sin again.

It Matters Who You Let In

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Nehemiah 13:1-14.  Let’s go!

Nehemiah 13:6-8 (NIV) 
6  But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission
7  and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God.
8  I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room.

On verses 1-9:  While Nehemiah is away in Persia, Eliashib the priest becomes close friends with Tobiah, Nehemiah’s greatest opponent and an unbeliever.  Eliashib even empties out one of the temple storerooms so that Eliashib can stay in the temple.  This was in direct violation of Deuteronomy 23:3-5 which prohibited Moabites and Ammonites who did not worship the Lord from entering the house of God.  It was not until Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and personally removed Tobiah’s things from the storeroom that the equipment and treasures of the house of God were restored to their rightful place in the store room.

Worship is a Team Sport

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Nehemiah 12:1-47.  Let’s go!

On verses 1-23:  These verses list by name the priests and Levites who led the Israelites in worshiping the Lord.  What can we learn from this?  God sees, remembers and honours those who lead others to worship Jesus.  You were made to lead others in worship too.  You don’t have to be a good singer, musician or speaker to lead others in worship.  Worship is so much more than music and speaking.  Worship is living your life to give God glory in whatever you do or wherever you are.  When you live your life to worship Jesus, you will naturally influence others to worship Jesus too.  Like the people listed in verses 1 to 26, may you be counted among those who led others to worship Jesus.

Nehemiah 12:24-26 (NIV) 
24  And the leaders of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, Jeshua son of Kadmiel, and their associates, who stood opposite them to give praise and thanksgiving, one section responding to the other, as prescribed by David the man of God.

A New City Awaits You

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Nehemiah 11:1-36.  Let’s go!

Nehemiah 11:1-2 (NIV) 
1  Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns.
2  The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.

On verses 1-36:  Jerusalem was underpopulated and underdeveloped, with most Jews preferring to live in the neighbouring towns.  Through a system of casting lots, 1 out of every 10 were to live in Jerusalem, while the other 9 could stay in their own towns.  Anyone who volunteered to live in Jerusalem was commended.   This final chapter of Nehemiah lists various Israelites who moved to Jerusalem.