Scripture Text: Esther 8
1. What is the toughest part of seeking a raise? the asking? the amount? waiting for an answer? When have you had to do that? What answer did you get? How will you approach your employer the next time?
2. “It’s all over but the shouting” – How might this gleeful commentary from the sports world fit this chapter? What is almost over? What’s the shouting about?
3. Before the victors dispatch Haman’s estate (verses 1 and 2; see chapter 5:11), what must be dispatched first? Why the anguish for Esther, who is now quite secure in the king’s favor (verses 1 – 6)? What is the problem with getting the king to reverse the death sentence on the Jews (verse 8)?
4. What does the new edict do for the Jews? For others? What seems like “deja vu” or “same song, second verse” about this edict (see chapter 1:19; chapter 3:1 – 4:3; chapter 6:10)? What is particularly symmetrical about its timing (verse 12; see chapter 3:7, 13)?
5. Verse 17 starts a new theme song. What is it? What is the principle for evangelism here?
6. The Jews had nine months to prepare their defense (verses 9 – 12). What could you accomplish in the next nine months that would put your life in better order? What part of that re-ordering will you do this month?
7. If you were in a position to destroy your enemy without fear of the consequences to you, would you take advantage of the situation? Why or why not?
8. If the rules of the game are switched on you at halftime, how do you react? Cry foul? Suit up for battle anyway? If you can’t fight them, join ’em? When have you faced such a dilemma?
9. Would the way you react to the good things in your life give honor to God and convert anyone to the Christian faith? Why or why not?
Scripture Text: Esther 7
1. “Make your words sweet, you may have to eat them someday” – When have you seen the truth of this proverb in your life?
2. “The king asked again” (verse 2) implies a previous inquiry. When? Where? What has led up to this dramatic banquet?
3. What does it reveal about Esther’s character?
- selfless loyalty?
- sweet revenge?
- royal respect?
4. What about Haman is “vile”? Foolish? Pitiful? Pitiless?
5. What role does Harbona play (verse 9; see chapter 1:10)?
6. While this chapter ends with Haman’s death, what issues remain unresolved?
7. If you were Esther, would you have handled the situation any differently? How so?
8. When have you stepped out in faith, as she did? What was at stake?
9. What enemy threatens you and your goals (or your church and its goals)? Prejudice? Politics? Apathy? People like Harbona?
10. What lesson does Haman’s life teach you?
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1. What brings on sleep the quickest for you?
- Hard day at work?
- Hard day’s fun?
- Big meal?
- Bible reading?
- Soft music?
- Watching TV?
2. Ironies abound! What noise might be keeping the king awake (chapter 5:14)? What does he do when he can’t sleep?
3. What other ironies or coincidences do you see in the hidden identity? In the robe? In the friends’ counsel?
4. Where do you see the hand of God in all this? In circumstances? Hearts? Humor?
5. What do Haman’s pride and racial hatred bring him? What is the object lesson here for church leaders? For yourself?
6. What do Mordecai’s meekness and loyalty bring him? What spiritual law do you see at work here? When not recognized for a “good deed”, how do you feel? What recognition or rewards matter most to you ?
7. In your life, where do you see the “fickle finger of fate” or the “holy hand of God”? How do you know the difference?