Family Jesse Tree Study – December 15
Welcome to our family Bible study focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas. The Jesse Tree is the family tree of Jesus (see Matthew 1 and Luke 3 for a complete genealogy of Jesus). All along its branches are men and women of God who have incredible stories to share and from which we can glean a deeper understanding of faith and build a stronger relationship with God. God orchestrated these people and stories for a reason — to point us to His Son Jesus who comes to save us once and for all.
For this study, we encourage you to read, reflect, and journal on these scriptures on your own and then find a good time with your family to do this devotion together. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a devotion, discussion question, and prayer taken from “Jesse Tree Family Devotions” by the Reformed Church in America, then below that is a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. For printable ornaments to make your own Jesse Tree, see: http://images.rca.org/docs/discipleship/jessepatterns.pdf. If you’re doing this study with smaller kids, consider using a children’s Bible to share the stories, or use the shorter version of the scripture provided in parentheses. For older kids, consider introducing them to the SOAP method of journaling through this study.
We hope you join us in this study, and please share how it’s going, your favorite Christmas traditions, and prayer requests in the Comments section on our website.
Esther 4 – Esther
Mordecai Persuades Esther to Help
4 When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.
4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.
6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.
9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.
God is at work in everything. Sometimes things don’t seem to make any sense to us at all, but later we understand why God put us in a certain place at a certain time. Esther was a beautiful woman, and because she was beautiful, she became queen. But because she was brave, she saved the Jewish people from death. Esther’s uncle told her of the danger to her and to her people, and he helped her to plan how to save the people. At first she didn’t think she could help, but her uncle reminded her that everyone is important. God had put Esther in the palace for a special job. Her bravery saved many lives.
Does God have a special job for you?
All-knowing God, open our eyes to the special plans You have for us.
SOAP JOURNAL NOTE
Courage To Do Your Will | Becky Newman
The story of Esther occurred after the Jews had been exiled from Israel. These Jews were living in Persia and were at the mercy of a non-Jewish king. Esther was a Jew but hid it from the king’s officials when she was chosen as a royal virgin. However, God’s plan was for her not to be hidden. Though the king didn’t believe in God, He still worked through the situation. Esther 2:17 says the king was attracted to Esther more than any of the other women — Jewish foot in the door –, and he made her queen — Jewish authority in the palace. Meanwhile, Jews were refusing to bow to the king, so he issued a decree to kill all Jews in Persia. Verse 14 here is Esther’s uncle Mordecai making sure Esther is aware that God has been in control of her life all along and wants to use her in His plan to save His chosen people in Persia. But Mordecai also points out that if she chooses not to, God will still save His people. Esther obeyed God’s will, and through her courage, God saved His people (Esther 5-8).
My journal, a sweet gift from my friend Ashley, has verse 14 on its cover. This is a great reminder that God orchestrates our choices into His plan. I may follow along with His will, or I may not, but no matter, His plan will come to fruition. However, His blessings will flow through me if I choose to follow. My friend Holly reminded me of this truth with the death of my friend Stephanie last month. I chose not to walk with her through the dark season of her last six months, but if God’s will was that she live, He would have brought someone or something else into her life to ensure that. My choices are never bigger than God’s plan. But that doesn’t mean I should sit back and do nothing. It does mean that I need to stay connected to You to figure out how You can use me in the position You’ve placed me and to obey Your will.
Lord, I’ve continued to be silent through a circumstance where I know You’ve told me not to be. Help me, please. When I spoke up yesterday, the situation plummeted, which usually scares me back into silence and eggshell tip-toeing. I want to follow Your will and obey what You have for me in the position You’ve placed me. Give me courage, Father! Help me stay connected so that when You ask me to move, I move.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.
Posted on December 15, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Advent, Bible, Bible Study, Christmas, Esther, Israelites, Jesse Tree, Jesus, King, Mordecai, Persia, sin, SOAP. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.