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The Book of Esther
Lesson Three


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Bible Study
The Book of Esther
Lesson Three


Purification

Esther 2:3b, 4a
And let their things for purification be given them: and let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen . . .

 

This purification was a custom, a ritual that the young maidens went through before being presented to the king.  They set themselves aside for a season to be purified, using different kinds of things, such as spices.

 

PURIFICATION

  • an act of becoming pure or clean

 

The thing we want to notice here is that there had to be a time of purification before the king could choose the new queen.

 

We, too, have to have a time of purification before being presented to our King.

 

I John 3:2–3

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear

what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear,

we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. 

 

And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself,

even as He is pure.

 

If we plan on seeing King Jesus and being like Him, then we’re going to have to purify ourselves, even as He is pure.  If we’re going to enter His kingdom there has to be that spiritual cleansing.

 

These are days of purification for us, getting ourselves purified to meet the Lord at His coming.  Note it doesn’t say He will purify us, but that we are to purify ourselves.

 

How do we go about this task of purifying ourselves?  By heeding our ways according to the Word of God!

 

Psalm 119:9

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? 

by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.

 

Yes, we have to cleanse our way according to the Word of God – letting His Word take hold of us.  It’s not enough to say what we think God said, or what we think He meant.  We must get the Word into our heart, and take heed to our ways according to what He did say. 

 

Many feel they are purifying themselves by making mere outward changes.  Though these are important – we can’t neglect the necessity of cleansing ourselves within:

 

Matthew 23:25

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.

 

On the outside, the Pharisees (the strictest sect of the Jews) looked very religious, very holy – but on the inside, what a difference!  Jesus let them know they had neglected to purify the inside.

 

They had taken care of the outside.  It was clean: but the inside was filthy.  He likened them to a sepulcher, in which the surface looks nice, with green grass and pretty flowers, but under the ground are stinking bones and decaying flesh!

 

These Pharisees may have appeared to be clean – but inside they were filled with all kinds of uncleanness.

 

Our responsibility

Let’s see what the Word has to say about our responsibility to purify ourselves:

 

James 4:8

Purify your heart, ye double minded! 

Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. 
Cleanse your hands, ye sinners;
and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

 

Purge yourself from dishonor

II Timothy 2:21

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

 

Cleanse yourself

II Corinthians 7:1

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved,

let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,

perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 

 

By now, you should get the point that we must take some action and not neglect our personal purification.

 

Though Jesus forgives us of our sins, some of those sinful habits and ways continue to rise up.  We can’t seem to gain the victory over them.

 

Many, after having received Jesus Christ as their Saviour, go on for years and years with those old ways still in their lives.  They continue in their carnal ways: smoking, getting angry, lying, cheating, etc.

 

It’s not that Jesus didn’t give them new life in Himself, but they yielded back to those old ways, rather than refusing to give in to them.

 

We need to purify ourselves from all that is not of the new man.  There is the need to cleanse ourselves from all the filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  And then go on to keep ourselves pure!

 

I Timothy 5:22

Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.

 

Summary

There has to be personal purification:

  • How?  by heeding God’s Word
  • The inside and outside must be cleansed
  • We are to keep ourselves pure

 

It is important that we see what the Word has to say about the heart – for this is where true purity has its source!

 

The issues of life are from the heart!

 

Proverbs 4:23

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

 

What the Word says about the heart

Maybe you aren’t committing adultery or murder – but is your heart filled with envy, jealousy, bitterness, resentment?  Is it filled with stubbornness or rebellion?  What about a lust for pleasure and the things of the world?  Is that still in your heart?

 

The words we speak come from the abundance of our hearts!

 

Matthew 12:34

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?  for out of the abundance of the heart  the mouth speaketh.

 

To see God our hearts must be pure!  

 

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

 

Notice that there’s a blessing to those who take time to purify their hearts – they shall see God.

 

Just the fact that you can’t enter into the kingdom of God without a pure heart tells you that without a pure heart you will enter into hell – because those who don’t go to heaven automatically will go to hell.

 

Many go on thinking they are serving God, thinking they’re on their way to

heaven – but their hearts condemn them.  Their hearts are filled with evil.  They are not pure in heart.

 

Don’t let anything stand in the way of your entering the kingdom of God.  Examine your life, and take the time to purify your heart.

 

Psalm 24:3–5

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?  or who shall stand in His holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 

 

It’s very clear that God demands a pure heart if you are to make it into His kingdom.  So don’t think that you can make it into heaven without first purifying your heart. 

 

Examine yourself, and be sure you’re right with God – in every area of your life.  If there are things there that shouldn’t be there, seek the Lord until they are put away.

 

If you add a drop or two of poison into a glass of pure water, it is no longer pure.

 

The heart

  • Out of the heart are the issues of life
  • We speak from the abundance of the heart
  • Only those with a pure heart will see God
  • Neglect will keep us from heaven
  • A drop of impurity poisons the heart

 

Finding Favor

Looking further at The Book of Esther, we take note of how the Lord allowed her to find favor with others.

 

Esther 2:9, 15, 17

And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him .  .  .

 

. . . And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who looked upon her.

 

And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.

 

Yes, God’s hand was upon Esther.  She found favor with both God and man. 

 

And we find others in the Scriptures who also found favor with God and with man, such as Joseph, Samuel, and Daniel.

 

Joseph

Genesis 39:3 ,6, 21

And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. 

 

And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat.  And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. 

 

But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

 

Even when Joseph was a young lad, God moved in his life with visions and dreams, preparing him to find favor in the future.

 

A lot took place down through the years in Joseph’s life.  He had no idea he would end up in prison and eventually become the second in charge of Egypt.

 

Samuel

I Samuel 2:26

And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.

 

Daniel

Daniel 1:9

Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

 

When you have a heart after God and after the things of God, He can put His hand on you to find favor both with Himself and with man – and, as the result, you will be blessed. 

 

Ready to come before the king

Esther 2:12–13

. . .  the days of their purifications (were) accomplished . . .  then thus came every maiden unto the king. . .

 

All of this preparation just to get ready to come before the king!

 

If we were invited to appear before the President, I’m sure we’d make some preparations.  We certainly wouldn’t go with our dirty work clothes on or with our hair all messed up!  We probably wouldn’t even wear the best of what we already own!  We’d have to go shopping for just the right outfit.

 

 

Esther was a Jew, but Mordecai had charged her not to reveal this – see Esther 2:20.  Then, when Haman sent out the decree to destroy the Jews, Mordecai told Esther to make request to the king for her people, that they be spared.

 

But there was a law that nobody could see the king in the inner court unless they were called, except those to whom the king would hold out his golden scepter see Esther 4:11.

 

SCEPTRE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

  • a badge of authority;
  • the righteousness of Christ;
  • must touch us if we are to be accepted

 

The sceptre was a badge of authority – just like a policeman’s badge gives him authority: when a policeman tells you to stop, you stop – or else!

 

And for us to enter the presence of King Jesus in His kingdom He must extend His sceptre unto us. 

 

That sceptre is His righteousness .  .  .  a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom – see Hebrews 1:8.

 

Our own righteousness won’t admit us into the kingdom.  The Bible tells us all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags – see Isaiah 64:6.  It is the King’s righteousness – His sceptre of authority. 

 

The Pharisees went about trying to establish their own righteousness – but that wouldn’t get them into the kingdom of heaven – see Matthew 5:20.

 

It’s nothing we have done that saves us.  It’s the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit that makes us new – see Titus 3:5.  

 

Salvation is not of our works but is the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ – see Ephesians 2:8, 9.  

 

It is a gift of God: by grace through faith.  But we must take the step of receiving this great gift in order for His Sceptre of Righteousness to be extended to us.

 

Our ways versus God’s ways

Proverbs 14:12

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

 

We were going our own way before salvation, and we were headed straight for hell!  But after receiving the gift of salvation through faith we turned to go God’s way and received the righteousness of Christ. 

 

Galatians 5:5

For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

 

Our intentions may have been good before salvation but they didn’t get us anyplace.  We were born in sin, needing a new birth to receive the righteousness of the Lord.

 

I Corinthians 1:30–31

But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification

 

We can’t take any glory unto ourselves, because all our righteousness is in Christ.

 

II Corinthians 5:21

For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

 

God made Jesus to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made righteous in Him.

 

The righteousness of Christ

Job 29:14

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me .  .  .  

 

We are to be clothed with Jesus Christ and His righteousness.

 

Revelation 19:8

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

 

Our righteousness

  • is as filthy rags – Isaiah 64:6
  • won’t get us into heaven
  • seems right to man
  • the end is the way of death – Proverbs 14:12

 

Clothed in His righteousness

  • the sceptre of His kingdom – Hebrews 1:8
  • received by faith – Galatians 5:5
  • is our clothing   Revelation 19:8

 

All our true righteousness is in Christ

  • provided when He was made sin for us – II Corinthians 5:21

 

How to receive His righteousness

  • by washing of the Holy Spirit – Titus 3:5
  • through faith – a gift of God – Ephesians 2:8, 9

 

A sign of truly being born again

  • every one that does righteousness is born of Him I John 2:29

 

When a person is professing to born again yet their life is not righteous – they are not doing righteous things – that would reveal to you that they are not really born of God, that they are not saved.

 

Follow after righteousness

We are told to be content with food and raiment – for those who covet after riches find themselves drowned in destruction and perdition.  This is because the love of money is the root of all evil – see I Timothy 6:8–11.

 

I Timothy 6:11

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love . . .

 

FLEE

  • run away from danger or evil

 

Don’t get involved in covetous pursuits: loving money; wanting to spend and spend on foolish, hurtful things; wanting to feed the lust of the flesh.

 

For many, it seems to be such a struggle to put down the lust of the flesh as they start out in the faith.  There’s such a pull to have something that will satisfy the flesh – such a drawing to worldly pleasures, to material gain, to a love of the world and the things of the world.

 

There doesn’t seem to be that deep desire to serve the Lord with their whole heart, to put on His righteousness and go all the way with Him.

 

Whether we own a mansion, or a shack; whether we own a big expensive car, or a junk car, or no car, we ought to be content with the fact that we have food to eat and clothes to put on our back.

 

We won’t die because we don’t have a nice home, or a beautiful car – but we could die because we don’t have any food to eat, or any clothes to wear.

 

Thousands are dying from starvation in this world.  Others are out in the cold, without sufficient clothing, dying of pneumonia.

 

This country is blessed of God.  Nobody needs to go to bed hungry, or walk about naked with no clothes to wear.  Yet so much food is being wasted, and so many aren’t satisfied with all the clothes they do have.

 

Be content with what the Lord gives you.  Whether you have little or much you should be thankful for what you have.  Don’t complain – just be happy, and rejoice in His provisions: that’s part of having righteousness.

 

It’s not righteous on your part to murmur and complain with what the Lord provides.  You shouldn’t have a bad attitude, looking around and wanting what others have. 

 

Thank God for what you do have – and be content.

 

I Timothy 6:12

Fight the good fight of faith .  .  .

 

This is the instruction for a child of God – flee the things that would draw away, and fight the good fight of faith – following after righteousness.

 

True Pleasures

II Timothy 3:1–4

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,

proud .  .  .  lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God

 

PLEASURE

  • a source of delight or joy;
  • amusement or diversion;
  • gives, or is a source of, satisfaction

 

Psalm 16:11

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

 

I get pleasure in going to church, in reading God’s Word, in seeking His face, in talking about Jesus and the goodness of God.  This is where I find great pleasure, walking daily in His presence.

 

Peace and Life

Proverbs 12:28

In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof

there is no death.

 

Isaiah 32:17

And the work of righteousness shall be peace;

and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

 

Yes, there is great peace when we follow after righteousness. 

 

When we live in obedience to the Word of God, we find a work of righteousness in our life that brings peace, quietness, and assurance deep within.

 

Some people can’t seem to believe that it is possible for a child of God to have peace at all times.  They don’t believe there is no need for them to always be frustrated and anxious, to always be upset and worrying.

 

They cheat themselves of the joy and peace that was provided for them in Jesus Christ – and they struggle through life, day after day, cumbered down with problems and cares.

 

But if they would just follow after righteousness, they would find a work accomplished in their life where they would be able to walk in quietness and assurance for ever – no matter what comes their way.

 

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

When you’re doing right, living in obedience to God’s Word, there’s no reason for you to be troubled, no reason for you to ever lack peace.

 

But if you’re not obeying the Word, then you can’t expect to have peace: you’ll be troubled within; you’ll have no quietness or assurance; you’ll feel an unrest, sensing the dealings of God in your life.

 

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

 

If you hunger and thirst after righteousness, if you long after the things of God in your life, wanting to do the things that are right, then you shall be filled.

 

We are to .  .  .

  • follow after righteousness
  • flee covetousness
  • be content with little or much
  • ight the good fight of faith

 

Summary

  • in the last day men will love pleasures more than God
  • true pleasure is found at His right hand
  • in the way of righteousness is life
  • the work of righteousness is peace
  • the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance for ever
  • if you hunger and thirst after righteousness you shall be filled!

 

Persecuted for godliness

Matthew 5:10

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake:

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

 

We stand out as being different when we desire to walk in His righteousness and do those things which are right in His sight.  Just because we don’t want to go the way the crowd wants to go there will be those who will come against us and persecute us.

 

The world won’t understand the way we’ve chosen to live.  Even amongst Christians there will be those who come against us.  Yes, those who want to ride the fence, trying to live with one foot in the Lord and one in the world, they will come against us – just because we want to go all the way with the Lord.

 

They’ll condemn us, persecuting us for our faith in God, because we don’t choose to dress like the world, talk like the world, or act like the world.

 

When we want to live godly, we can expect to be ridiculed and criticized. 

 

We’re different, and they’ll come against us for it.  But the Word tells us that we will be blessed for our decision to follow after righteousness.

 

II Timothy 3:12

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

 

If we live a life that is pleasing to God we can expect persecution.  This is why some live like the world – to avoid persecution.  Their theory is: don’t live separate or different from the world, and then nobody will come against you for being a Christian!

 

They may avoid persecution that way – but they also jeopardize their souls.

 

When you desire to live holy and uprightly, as unto the Lord, you’re going to be persecuted for it, you’re going to suffer for it.  But Jesus also said you would be blessed – and yours is the kingdom of heaven.

 

Paul’s persecutions

II Corinthians 11:24–27

– received stripes

– beaten with rods

– stoned

– shipwrecked

– perils

– weariness

– painfulness

– hunger

 

The apostle Paul went through quite a bit of suffering for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  And, on top of all he endured, he had the care of all the churches

– see II Corinthians 11:28.

 

In the Book of Acts you read of many of the things Paul suffered.  He certainly is an example of the fact that we can expect to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake – if we go all the way with the Lord.

 

As a child of God, we should want the Lord to be seen in us; we should want His righteousness to be seen at all times, regardless of who comes against us for it.

 

  • If we live godly, we can expect persecution
  • Paul is an example of such persecution
  • We are blessed when persecuted for righteousness’ sake
  • We are not blessed if we compromise to avoid persecution

 

Esther 4:14

. . . and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom

for such a time as this?

 

Esther was brought to the kingdom and set in as queen for the purpose of delivering the Jews.  That’s why she was chosen.  This was the plan and purpose of God for Esther’s life.

 

God’s plan for your life

Romans 12:1–2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

You never know what God’s plan is for you in the future, what is really His will for your life.  He does not reveal to you what His whole plan and purpose for your life is, every little detail, every little thing that will take place. 

 

You might know, generally, what He wants you to do with your life, but you don’t know all that will come about.  You don’t know every little detail of that call.  There are things you haven’t even thought of that God will do in and through you as you walk with Him from day to day. 

 

It is important that you don’t slide through each day taking whatever comes your way without seeking out the mind of God.

 

You’ve got to give yourself to the Lord, yielding to whatever He would want of you.  Let Him have His way with you.  Then, as you seek Him and give yourself to Him in total surrender, you will find His perfect will for your life.

 

Summary

  • God doesn’t reveal His plan for your life all at once but just one step at a time 
  • To know God’s will for your life:
    • present your body a living sacrifice
    • and acknowledge Him in all your ways

 

Proverbs 3:5–6

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

 

Definitions

Purification

Sceptre of Righteousness

Flee

Pleasure

 

Memory Verses

I John 3:3

2 Corinthians 7:1

Matthew 5:8

II Timothy 3:12

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