While the people of God were in exile God didn’t forget them. He, through his gracious providence, cared for them by orchestrating certain people to rise to power. One case in particular is the story of Esther, the girl who would be queen.
Some background: In chapters 1 and 2 we learn how Esther becomes queen. Queen Vashti displeased King Ahasuerus and was banished from his presence. He searched all over for his kingdom for a new queen (this kind of feels like Cinderella) and in the process discovers Esther. She is the adoptive daughter of Mordecai who tells her to not share that she is Jewish. After her first meeting with the King she is named Queen. Shortly thereafter, Mordecai discovers a plot against the King and tells Esther. The King is spared and Mordecai’s actions are written down in the records.
Read Chapter 3: Why does Haman hate Mordecai and the Jews? What was his plan?
Read Chapter 4: What is Mordecai’s plan to stop Haman? How does he convince Esther to help (verses 12-14 are key here)?
Read Chapter 5: What do you learn about Esther? What do you learn about Haman?
Read Chapter 6: How does Mordecai come to the attention of the King? How is Mordecai honored? What else do you learn about Haman?
Read Chapter 7: How does Esther’s plan come to completion?
Read Chapters 8-10: What is the result?
The story of Esther reads like a play or a movie. So, we can look at it that way too. Try doing this:
Why do you think that Mordecai didn’t want Esther to tell about cultural and religious identity?
Why do you think that Mordecai wouldn’t bow to Haman?
There is a word missing in the book of Esther that we would expect to be in every book of the Bible. Which word is it?
How do you see God at work in the story of Esther?
Do you think that there is anything in particular that God might be raising you up for? What are your spheres of influence? Who do you have relationships with? How might be God be wanting to use you in those places or relationships?