For such a time as this - Study Guide

Published: Monday, 29 January 2018

This is a study for Small Groups based on Geoff Pound’s sermon (see the manuscript and listen to the podcast) delivered on 28 January 2018 at Ashburton Baptist Church.

Reading: Esther 4: 1-17

Godless?

“The book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that never mentions the word ‘God’. It doesn’t contain any prayers or hymns so how can such a godless book have any spiritual nourishment?”

How can you express something of the love of God without mentioning God’s name?

How can you show something of the courage of Jesus without naming his name?

Does the energy of the Holy Spirit silently pulsate through your conduct and your conversations?

Got any examples?

What inspires you about the character and actions of Esther?

Where does the presence of God shine through this story to you?

“For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish.”

Esther 4: 14

“For if you keep silence…”

To what extent has keeping silent been an issue for you?

Any recent or current examples where you have been pressured to keep silent (if you can speak about it!)?

 

 

On what matter (local, community, national, international) are you feeling the most challenged to speak up? What do you want to say? How might you be helped to speak up?

“at such a time as this…”

How does the element of timing challenge and convict you to speak up?

Mordecai continues his appeal:

Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity…to this royal position (NIV)…for just such a time as this.”

-          Esther 4: 14

“I wonder if you feel this about your life, at this time, that God has placed you right there – right there in that class – right there in that office – right there in that organisation. It may not look very regal, and, impossible as it may seem, God wants to use you in that small corner, in that particular role, to do something significant.”

Discuss.

“This isn’t a call to be impulsive. This isn’t a call to act first and think later. The thoughtful, prayerful consciousness about speaking up and the sensitivity towards timing is inherent in our story when Esther says in v16.”:

 

“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law;

-          Esther 4: 16

In what way might we like Esther ask our community (Small Group, church community, others) to fast, pray and join with us in reflection, in preparation and in counting the cost?

If I Perish

“If I perish, I perish.”

-          Esther 4: 16

What more do you admire about Queen Esther and crave for yourself?

How might we best allow and acknowledge the unnamed God to silently work in our lives, our community, our national life and in the international sphere?

Prayer

Pray for one of the attributes of Esther’s life to be more apparent in your life and our life together.

Pray for each other that we will speak up for those matters which God is calling us at this time to address.