Chapters 3 & 4
Grant us the patience to be still and listen to Your voice as You guide us in our lives. Help us to focus on Your purpose for our lives and accept willingly the challenges that we face, knowing that Your will is at work, on a day-to-day basis. Through Your wisdom and power, infuse us with the strength to make the right choices so that we might better center our lives to serve You.
As we entered Week 3 of our study, we began our discussion of Esther by continuing to compare her choices to our own. We pondered the question of Esther’s wisdom at such a young age as we looked at the first question for chapter 3 and tried to understand how Esther seemed to know what it was she needed to do in order to find King Xerxes’ favor. It was interesting as we looked at the first question how some people, even though they are true Christians in other people’s eyes, see themselves as only temporary travelers. Is that through a sense of humbleness or a feeling of unworthiness? I, personally, answered that question in honesty as an intimate in God’s Palace. At the time I didn’t feel presumptuous because I honestly feel that I have God’s love and can seek his face at any time. During the discussion, though, I could see how others might see it as very presumptuous on my part. Maybe it’s through my own fumbling ignorance, but I believe God loves me so much that my not knowing the protocols of His palace were not as important to him as my unswerving love for Him, just Him, not what He could do for me, just Him.
This boundless love for God led us into the next question about “fear” of God. Part of my explanation of question 1 was question 2. My “fear” of God is because of my awe of God. I am full of awe for God’s power. He’s so strong and loving , and his capacity for forgiveness always leaves me astounded. My “fear” comes not from an impending “lightning strike for my sins,” but from the possibility of making God feel sad or disappointed in me, of letting him down. This led to question 3 where we all agreed that, even though we’re impatient human beings, waiting a lifetime for an audience with God would be worth it. We all felt fortunate to not have had to wait a lifetime to know Him and talk intimately with Him.
The next question brought about some serious reflection and discussion about how sometimes we allow activities at the church to become the focus of going to church and the need to find the balance so that the reason for going to church is God. Yes, the services we do for the church are to help others better worship God, but it is important that the work doesn’t become so great that we lose ourselves and our relationship with God. This question reminded me of the Martha and Mary story where Martha is so caught up in the work that she forgets the true purpose. Question five was designed to make everyone take a look at their lives and reflect on whether it is time for a change. Are we listening to God’s advice for our lives, or are we stubbornly resisting a change that He is offering? This question segued into Chapter 4 where Tenney really makes the reader take a look at his or her life and examine whether we are listening to His word about the purpose for our lives, or whether we are stubbornly resisting Him and trying to steer our own destinies.
We ended our discussion by talking about some of the things we were each trying to do to help increase our intimate relationship with God. We actually kept Bruce waiting because we were so immersed in our final topic of King Xerxes and how he was not a nice guy, and how Esther’s love for God was so strong that she followed his advice on how to find Xerxes’ favor in spite of who and what he was.
What follows are the questions for chapter 5 & 6.
Chapter 5 – Courting a King
What Do You Give a Man Who Has Everything?
1. Take a few moments to consider your life so far? What “potential” did the Lord see in you when you were first called to his palace? Have you tried to make the most of that “potential”? If not, what could you do now that would begin to utilize that potential? At this time in your life, have you discovered new “potential” that you can use to serve the King’s needs?
2. When was the last time you felt impatient with another person? Why? Have you ever felt that the Lord was not listening to your prayers or calls for help? If so, what prompted the feeling?
3. Do you feel that your relationship with the King has changed the way you look at life and the way you interact with others? If so, describe the change? Were there any habits, activities, or relationships that you found needed to be changed as a result of your relationship with Jesus? If so, why?
4. Have you ever found yourself at worship and, instead of giving your full attention to the Lord, you discovered yourself distracted and thinking of other, more mundane, “worldly” things?
5. How committed are you to wooing and winning the heart of the King?
Chapter 6 – The Secret of the Chamberlain
Finding Favor With the King
1. Have you ever wondered if some people possess some secret formula or personal asset that somehow puts them closer to God than you? Do you think that God loves them more than you?
2. How many of the offspring of your own ideas have you passed off as the King’s? How many times have you felt that you haven’t received enough recognition for all you do for your church?
3. Do you have or have you had in the past a spiritual mentor, a chamberlain, to help you learn the protocols of the palace? How did this person help you in your spiritual journey?
4. Do you feel that you have a “teachable spirit”? Have there ever been times when you disregarded the advice of your spiritual chamberlain? If so, what happened as a result?
5. Who do you think is more pleased with your choices for worship, praise, and repentance, your garments and fragrance; yourself or God? Why?
Posted by Bonny