0 8 mins 5 mths

12.6 Summary
Lesson 12 discusses the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. Esther, a Jewish orphan, is elevated to the position of Queen of Persia and plays a crucial role in saving her people from imminent destruction by the malicious Haman. Her faith, determination, and courage, even risking her own life, make her an inspiring example of loyalty and trust in God. The book also emphasizes how God’s hand often works behind the scenes, even when His name is not explicitly mentioned. The lesson encourages reflection on one’s own faith convictions and becoming aware of the challenge to remain steadfast in difficult situations.
Discussion Questions:
  1. The Book of Esther leaves some questions unanswered, especially regarding Esther’s role at the king’s court, despite her elevation to queen. How can these things be reconciled with her faith, or is it even possible?
The biblical portrayal of Esther in the Book of Esther allows for some interpretation and leaves certain details open, particularly regarding her relationship with the king and her behavior at the court. Here are some considerations:
  1. Esther’s presence in the royal palace: Esther became queen under extraordinary circumstances after the previous queen, Vashti, was deposed. The Bible does not provide detailed information on how Esther came into this position, but it is implied that she was chosen due to her exceptional beauty and grace (Esther 2:17). There are no clear indications that she actively sought to become queen.
  2. Her identity as a Jew: Esther kept her Jewish identity a secret, following Mordecai’s instructions (Esther 2:10). This decision could be attributed to the fact that it was not safe or advantageous to openly discuss her ethnic background at that time. It could be seen as a strategy to avoid potential biases or difficulties.
  3. Acting in secret: Although the name of God is not directly mentioned in the Book of Esther, God’s work is evident through events in the background. Esther and Mordecai may have acted in secret to fulfill God’s plan. The book emphasizes divine providence and how seemingly normal events are integrated into God’s plan.
  4. Risks for her people: As queen, Esther had an influential position at the court, which later proved crucial for the salvation of her people. However, there was a significant risk for her to approach the king without an invitation (Esther 4:11). Her actions required courage, and she recognized the potential dangers.
Overall, the story of Esther shows that people in difficult situations are sometimes forced to make wise decisions to uphold their convictions while achieving the best possible outcomes. Esther is portrayed in the Bible as a crucial figure for the salvation of her people, and her actions can be considered part of God’s plan, even if she did not explicitly act through divine revelation.
2.The famous words of Esther, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16 NIV), resonate as an example of loyalty even in the face of death throughout the millennia. How do her words reflect what God’s people will experience in the end times when the themes in Revelation 13 become a reality?
Esther’s famous words, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16), attest to her dedication, courage, and willingness to advocate for her people, even if it might cost her own life. These words serve as an impressive example of loyalty and steadfastness, even under extreme conditions.
Regarding the end times and the themes in Revelation 13, Esther’s words could serve as inspiration for God’s people when faced with challenges and persecutions. Here are some parallels:
  1. Steadfastness in faith and convictions: Esther demonstrated through her words that she was willing to stand up for her convictions, even if it involved personal sacrifice. In the end times, believers may face similar challenges where they must choose to remain faithful to their belief in God, even when it becomes difficult.
  2. Willingness to advocate for others: Esther not only stood up for herself but also for her people. In the end times, it will be crucial for God’s people to advocate for each other and show solidarity, especially when it comes to principles of faith and protecting religious freedom.
  3. Trust in God’s sovereignty: Esther’s words also reflect a deep trust in God’s sovereignty. Similarly, believers in the end times may need to rely on their trust in God and be conscious that their ultimate security and salvation come from Him.
  4. Willingness to take personal risks: Esther was willing to take personal risks to fulfill her duty to God and her people. In the end times, believers may face decisions where they need to make personal sacrifices to remain true to their faith.
  5. Remembrance of God’s providence: Although God’s name is not explicitly mentioned in the Book of Esther, His providence is evident through the events. Believers in the end times may be encouraged by Esther’s example that even in difficult times, God’s plan is at work.
Overall, Esther’s words can serve as timeless encouragement that true loyalty to God and the principles of faith can endure even in the most challenging times.
3.Discuss the question at the end of the Monday section about whether we should hide our faith at certain times. Should that even be an option for us?
The question of whether we should hide our faith at certain times touches upon a complex issue that depends on various factors. Here are some considerations:
  1. Security concerns: In some situations, openly discussing one’s faith can indeed be dangerous. In countries or environments where religious freedom is restricted or persecuted, it may be necessary to be cautious and not publicly disclose one’s faith to ensure personal safety.
  2. Wisdom and tact: There are situations where tact and wisdom are necessary to effectively share the Gospel. Sometimes, choosing an approach that is appealing and respectful can promote understanding and openness, rather than provoking rejection or hostility through open confrontation.
  3. Testimony through lifestyle: Even if there are times when direct preaching or evangelizing is challenging, one’s lifestyle can be a powerful testimony. A life reflecting the love and principles of Jesus can often be as effective as words.
  4. Professional or social consequences: In some environments, openly confessing one’s faith could lead to professional or social consequences. In such cases, believers may need to weigh how much they are willing to sacrifice for their faith.
  5. Seeking God’s guidance: Ultimately, it is important to seek God’s guidance in this matter. Through prayer and spiritual considerations, one can receive guidance on how to act in specific situations.
The Bible encourages us to be wise and humble in how we live and share our faith. For example, Colossians 4:5-6 (NIV) says, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Overall, hiding one’s faith should not be a permanent option, as we are called to be the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) and proclaim the Gospel. However, it is about proceeding wisely and lovingly, depending on the circumstances we face.
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