Introduction to Esther:
God Working Behind the Scenes
Our story begins in 483 B.C. in Susa. This Old Testament book is unique from all other books in the bible because it does not mention the name of God in any form. It also does not mention prayer, the covenant, Abraham or the linage of David. This has caused the book of Esther to be rather controversial throughout history. Many have questioned why a book that appears so worldly has a place in the bible. The true beauty in the Book of Esther is found in the way that God is at work behind the scenes. In exploring Esther we will see him working though ungodly people who make questionable choices while living in a society that values having many religions except those who worship the one true God.
Think About It:
- What is your reaction to learning that God is not mentioned in Ester?
- Why do you think a book of this sort is included in the Bible?
- Do you feel the U.S. is similar or different from Susa in the way that it embraces other religions? In what ways?
Talk About It:
- Can you think of a time that God was working behind the scenes in your life?
- Has there ever been a time that God has used a non Christian person influence your life in a Godly way?
- Think of some of the parables in bible and share how they have helped you understand God.
Understanding the Times
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that throughout endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we mights have hope.” Romans 15
To fully understand Esther you must know a little about what was going before, during, and after the story. The Jewish people of Judah and Jerusalem had been exiled when king Nebuchadnzzar destroyed the city and burnt the temple .
Read Deuteronomy 28:15, & 36
Jerusalem was destroyed and that was the fulfillment of the covenant curse brought on by the disobedient and sinful people. Gods people simply did not obey. They followed the sin filled lifestyle of the pagan people. However, the punishment of God’s people was not without a solution. He promised that he would some of his people would one day return to Jerusalem.
In Jeremiah we find the prophecy was filled when the pagan king Cyrus the Great set them free to return home. The books of ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of that return, rebuilding and the blessing of following God. In Esther we see a subtle taste of the life lived by those who for whatever reason did not return to Jerusalem. We see how God will continue to work for his people in a pagan culture.
Talk About It:
- What are some ways that Godly people can be influenced by a lifestyle that is independent of God?
- Have you ever been in a situation where you chose to stay in a situation that may not have been God’s ideal plan for you?
- What were some of the consequences of that situation?
- During the exile of Gods people they became known as Jews.
- The book of Esther makes no claim to who wrote it.
- It is written from the point of view of someone who doesn't seem to be involved in the story.
- Susa is modern day Iran.