Wesley Word – October 27, 2021
To go along with service on: Sunday, October 31, 2021
Esther: For Such a Time As This
The Book of Esther is a fairly easy read, only 10 chapters, and is also a thrilling story. I would highly encourage you to read it in its entirety. It is manageable to read in one sitting and could certainly be read between now and Sunday morning.
If you remember, Jerusalem had been taken by the Babylonians around 586 BC and the people had been taken away into exile. Seventy years later, the Babylonians were conquered by the Persians and the Jews were allowed to begin returning to Jerusalem. While some Jews had returned to Judah, others remained in Persia or settled in other areas.
Esther was a young woman who lived among the Jewish population who remained in Susa, the capital city of the Persian Empire, around the year 500 BC. She was an orphan who had been raised by her older cousin, Mordecai.
The Persian Emperor, Xerxes, had become displeased with his wife because she had refused to allow him to show her off to his drunk friends at a party, so he deposed her as Queen. In order to find a new queen, the king staged an Empire-wide, year-long contest inviting all of the most beautiful women in the Empire. Mordecai encourages Esther to enter the contest but to keep her Jewish identity a secret. Esther ends up winning the contest and becomes the new Queen.
After a time, the King’s right-hand man, Haman, becomes angry with Mordecai. He is so angry that he does not just want to kill Mordecai; he wants to destroy all the Jews. Haman convinces the Emperor to basically authorize genocide against all the Jews in the Empire.
Mordecai goes to Esther to tell her that now is the time to reveal her Jewish identity and intercede with the Emperor on behalf of her people. In Esther 4:13-14, Mordecai said to Esther, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 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?”
Esther does intervene and is able to stop Haman’s plot of genocide. Haman ends up being executed and Mordecai takes his position.
The lesson we learn from Esther is that no matter the situation in which we find ourselves, whether in a position of privilege like Esther or like Job last week, in a position of suffering, God may have us right where he wants us for His purposes.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Have you ever experienced a time when God had you in exactly the right place and exactly the right time? Why might God have you where you are now?
Expressing Love Family/Mission Activity:
If I Were the King- Have each member of the family create a new law. In the story of Esther, Haman has the king create a law for bad. If you were the king, what law would you create for good? Family members can just say their laws, or maybe they want to write them down and decorate them on paper like a scroll.
God wants to use us for his glory. Sometimes it may seem like we can’t make a difference because we don’t have the power of a king, but God can use us wherever we are. No matter how much power we might have, how old we are, or where we live.
Brainstorm ways you, as a family, or individually, can lead others to Jesus by the way we act.
- WOW (Worship on Wednesdays) TONIGHT!
- 5:30-6:00 catered meal-pulled pork/loose meat sandwiches
- 6:00 Mid-week worship
- 6:30-7:30 Small groups for kids, youth, and adults
- Jackson Concert: Robert Nicholls
- Oct. 28, 7:30 pm-Robert will make up a unique, live soundtrack on the spot using the full resources of the Fisk organ Op. 153.
- Crafting for a Cause
- Oct. 30th, 9 am-12 pm- Please come support the kids and the hard work they’ve put into their crafts!! Plant starts from our custodian, Tom, will also be available if you like the plants you see around the church!
- Noisy Offering in all 3 services THIS SUNDAY, Oct. 31st to support the Mississippi Valley Child Protection Center! Don’t forget your change!
- Lay Leaders Needed: We have opportunities available for anyone interested in serving on Trustees or the Staff-Parish Relations Committee. If you are interested, please contact Pastor Brian.
- Here to There: A Renewed Expression of Methodism (Presented by the Iowa Wesleyan Covenant Association) – Sunday, November 7th 3-5pm at Wesley UMC. This is an opportunity to receive information and ask questions about the current situation and possible future division of the United Methodist Church. All are welcome to join us but please be aware that the information presented here will be from the traditionalist perspective. We hope to be able to welcome presentations from other perspectives as they become available.