The Story: Week 20

Note: At North Baptist Church we are currently on a 31 week journey through the entire Bible. Called The Story, this journey finds us discussing the same Bible passage in our personal reading time, the sermon, Adult Bible Fellowships, and Small Groups. I figured I would post a few thoughts each week as I go through my lesson prep.

Queen EstherLast week in The Story we saw that Cyrus, king of Persia, has allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and the Temple. For this week, we return to the capital city of Persia (Susa) and see how God continues to deliver the remaining exiles.

In the first two chapters of the book of Esther, we see that two Jews are given prominent positions of honor within the Persian empire. King Xerxes (or Ahasuerus), fresh off his bitter split with Queen Vashti and a failed military campaign in Greece, is looking to replenish his harem—and possibly even find a wife. Esther is prepped for a year before she meets the king, and is so well received that she becomes queen. At the same time, her relative Mordecai discovers and stops an assassination plot against the king. His deeds are listed in the chronicles of the king.

This all sets the stage for the real drama of the book of Esther: Haman is seeking the destruction of all the Jews throughout the Persian empire. He is doing this to get back at Mordecai, who snubbed Haman of the honor he deserved. This plan will have far reaching implications, including serving as a death sentence for the new Queen Esther.

This Sunday in ABF we will discuss some of the plot mentioned here, including all the ironic details (such as Haman being forced to honor Mordecai). We will look at the overabundance of details the narrative provides, and what that means about this story. We will also discuss the intentional omission of God, prayer, or any religious activity in the book, and see what theological implications this has on the book.

Brandon Schmidt

I am Brandon Schmidt: writer, husband, father, brother, reader, and laugher.

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