God’s hand of providence and protection on behalf of His people is evident throughout the Book of Esther, though His name does not appear once. Haman’s plot brings grave danger to the Jews and is countered by the courage of beautiful Esther and the counsel of her wise cousin Mordecai, resulting in a great deliverance. The Feast of Purim becomes an annual reminder of God’s faithfulness on behalf of His people.
Ahasuerus is the Hebrew name and Xerxes the Greek name of Khshayarsh, king of Persia in 486 – 464 b.c. According to Esther 1:3, the feast of Xerxes took place in his third year, or 483 b.c. The historian Herodotus refers to this banquet as the occasion of Xerxes’ planning for a military campaign against Greece. But in 479 b.c. he was defeated by the Greeks at Salamis, and Herodotus tells us that he sought consolation in his harem. This corresponds to the time when he held a “contest” and crowned Esther queen of Persia (Esther 2:16, 17). Since the events of the rest of the book took place in 473 b.c. (Esther 3:7 – 12), the chronological span is ten years (483 – 473 b.c.). The probable time of authorship was between 464 b.c. (the end of Xerxes’ reign; see Esther 10:2, 3) and about 435 b.c. (the palace at Susa was destroyed by fire during that period, and such an event would probably have been mentioned). The historical and linguistic features of Esther do not support a date later than 400 b.c., as there is no trace of Greek influence.
Xerxes was a boisterous man of emotional extremes, whose actions were often strange and contradictory. This fact sheds light on his ability to sign a decree for the annihilation of the Jews, and two months later to sign a second decree allowing them to overthrow their enemies.
Esther was addressed to the many Jews who did not return to their homeland. Not all the godly people left—some did not return for legitimate reasons. Most were disobedient in staying in Persia. Nevertheless, God continued to care for His people in voluntary exile.
Esther, like Christ, puts herself in the place of death for her people but receives the approval of the king. She also portrays Christ’s work as Advocate on our behalf. This book reveals another satanic threat to destroy the Jewish people and thus, the messianic line. God continues to preserve His people in spite of opposition and danger, and nothing can prevent the coming of the Messiah.
The Open Bible offers clean and easy navigation through the connectivity of Scripture with a time-tested complete reference system trusted by millions. It is now available wherever Bibles are sold.
Worship has existed since … well, since humankind has existed. Adam and Eve lived in a paradise. They experienced God’s creation before the Fall, in all of its unimaginable splendor. They walked with God Himself in the cool of the evening. You think they weren’t bursting with expressions of worship and gratitude?
Something that connects us to our Creator in the same way our first ancestors were connected to Him.
Out of our own head is a very good place to be. In a culture where selfies are everything, it’s easy to become the center of our own universe. To pursue accolades and fish for compliments. To promote the brand of Me. To embrace the people, opportunities, and things that benefit us and dismiss the rest.
Genuine worship, on the other hand, requires a 180-degree turn. There may be an “I” in worship, but it’s strictly phonetic. Worship compels us to focus on God and His works alone.
If you go out of your way to do something extraordinary for someone else, at the very least you’d probably like the person to notice what you did. Receiving a heartfelt thank you from the person would probably be even better. And perhaps the best-case scenario would be to receive (a) a detailed expression of appreciation for your gesture that demonstrates a deep understanding of its value, as well as everything that went into it, and (b) a heartfelt tribute to your kindness, generosity, and skill-set.
Worship gives us the opportunity to offer such an expression and tribute to God. In order to do that, however, we must be aware of what it is He’s done. We need to pay close attention to His work in our lives, in the lives of others, and throughout creation. We need to learn to spot God’s handiwork in big things and small.
Many of the psalms in the Bible were intended to be sung. (David, the chief psalmist, was a musician before he became king of Israel.) In most churches, music features prominently in the worship service.
Music also works as a mood-setter for worship. If the busyness or distractions of daily life make it difficult for you get into a worship mindset, listen to your favorite worship songs. Listen in your car during your morning commute. Listen while you work out. Listen as part of your quiet time. Wherever music can be played, you can prepare for worship.
Passages such as Psalm 95 (NKJV) suggest that worship is part of our job description as created beings of God.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
Worship is in our blood; it’s why God created us as He did. When we fully embrace genuine worship, we experience a sense of fulfillment and purpose that can’t be experienced in any other way.
For additional reading, check out the article Five Ingredients for a Game-Changing Worship Experience.
Pastors stand ready to meet the needs of their flock at a moment’s notice, and Thomas Nelson’s Minister’s Bibleis here to help offering time-saving guidance for weddings, funerals, baptisms, and more – all within the pages of Scripture. This is the only Bible containing the complete text of the bestselling Nelson’s Minister’s Manualconveniently set between the Old and New Testaments.