Queen Esther Did Not Live “Happily Ever After”

Sunday, Pastor Josh Cody preached on the difference between love and lust.

  • Love gives.
  • Lust takes.
  • Love starts before sex, remains through sex, and is just as strong after sex.
  • Lust starts before sex and then ends.
  • Love satisfies.
  • Lust leaves you wanting more and you can never be satisfied.
  • Love is not an emotion, it’s a choice.

King Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, is a perfect example of one driven by lust. We saw yesterday that he had a huge empire of land, but he still wanted more. He attacked Greece.

Esther 2:19, “At the second gathering of the virgins,…” Modern English Version

* * * * * * *

“The enlargement of the harem apparently continued unabated. Perhaps there is a casual connection between the second gathering of women and the assassination plot (vv. 21-23); some have suggested that it reflects palace intrigue in support of the deposed Vashti.” New International Version Study Bible Notes

* * * * * * *

“Vashti was deposed in 483/482 B.C., but she is mentioned again in ancient records as the queen mother during the reign of her son, Artaxerxes, who succeeded Xerxes. Toward the end of Xerxes’ reign, either Esther died or Vashti was able through her son to regain the influence she had lost.” Life Application Study Bible

* * * * * * *

“Esther was declared queen…the king’s lust was not yet satisfied; and therefore being pleased with the former experiment, he desired another collection of virgins, whom he might make his concubines…For it is not probable that Mordecai sat at the king’s gate till Esther was queen; for till then he only walked before the court of the women’s house…Esther 2:11.” Matthew Poole’s Commentary

This is why Esther didn’t make her request at the first banquet. For though she was Queen, she was only 1 wife among thousands. (A concubine was a lesser wife.)

“Sex is like roasting a marshmallow. You need to eat it at the right time. Eating a flaming marshmallow is the wrong time.” Josh Cody, September 17, 2017

Lust is a flaming marshmallow. If you eat it, you will get burned.

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How Big was King Xerxes Empire

I was reading today’s verse and the phrase, “from India to Ethiopia” stuck with me.

Esther 1:1, “Now in the days of Ahasuerus, also called Xerxes, who reigned from India to Ethiopia, over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces.

* * * * * * * *

“The shortest distance between Ethiopia and India is 4,317 km = 2,682 miles. If you travel by plane…it takes 4.79 hours.” distancefromto.net

The major countries between Ethiopia and India are Sudan, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. That shows the vastness of his empire. It would have taken a huge army to conquer all these lands.

Persian Empire Map

The Persian Empire

“The celebration lasted 180 days (about six months) because its real purpose was to plan the battle strategy for invading Greece…Persian kings held great banquets before going to war. In 481, Xerxes launched an attack against Greece. After his fleet won a great victory at Thermopylae, he was defeated at Salamis in 480 and had to return to Persia. Esther became queen in 479.” Life Application Study Bible Notes

His empire was huge and still, he wanted more.

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Eight Promises from Psalms 121

Yesterday, did you notice the answer to the wildfires first came to the tops of the mountains? Then the snow and rain fell on the lower elevations.

Psalms 121:1, 2, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Modern English Version

8 Promises from Psalms 121

  1. He will not let your foot slip, v. 3.
  2. He never sleeps, He will keep you, v. 3.
  3. He guards you, v. 4.
  4. He is your shade, v. 5.
  5. He will protect you from all evil, v. 7.
  6. He will preserve your soul, v. 7.
  7. He will preserve you when you go out, v. 8.
  8. He will preserve you when you come in, v. 8.

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This Season Will Not Last Forever

Reading today made me think of those states battling wildfires.

Zechariah 11:1, 2, “Open your doors, O Lebanon, so the fire can consume your cedars. Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen; the majestic trees are destroyed. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, because the unassailable forest has been brought down.” Modern English Version

We heard good news for Montana on Friday.

“Snow fell on the fires in Montana…containment of the fire grew by 30%.” Great Falls Tribune

The article said it was a fire season-slowing event. It has to stay cold and wet for the fire season to end. (We pray for more rain and snow.)

Like everything else, it is a season and season end. Whatever you are fighting, remember it will only last for a time.

Daniel 12:6, “…and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time…” Modern English Version

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The Secret to Happiness

Child: “When I grow up, I want to be rich and famous.”

Mom: “Why?”

Child: “Because then I will be happy.”

Unfortunately, the “rich and famous” are not happy! Here is the secret to happiness:

Psalms 128:1, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. For you shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you will be happy, and it shall be well with you.” Modern English Version

Where can you learn the Lord’s ways? In church.

“Why I Believe in Church”

  1. It’s the only organization that still deals with issues like salvation, death, judgment, grace, purpose, heaven, and hell.
  2. It adds value and dignity to human life.
  3. It provides a moral and spiritual compass.
  4. It’s where you find compassion, healing, and community.
  5. Unlike other institutions, it has motivated the most lasting, unselfish, essential, courageous endeavors on earth…missions, schools, hospitals, food pantries, rehab centers, and orphanages.

Jay Kesler, August 2005

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Clothed with Rich Robes

Yesterday was not a good day.

Someone was in a bad mood and tried picking a fight with me. The more I defended myself, the madder they got. I just walked away, feeling like someone just vomited on me. That ruined my morning.

When I got up this morning, I was still feeling the effects of it.

Zechariah 3:4, “And he said to those standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy garments.’ Then he said, ‘See that I have removed from you your iniquity, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’ ” Modern English Version

Even when I don’t feel worthy, God offers mercy.

Lamentations 3:22, 23, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed; His compassions do not fail. They are new every morning great is Your faithfulness.” Modern English Version

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I Blew It Away

Another sunny day in the midwest. The rainy days have been few and far between. It’s as if God gathered all the rain from our area and used it to shape hurricanes.

Haggai 1:9, 10, “You looked for much, and it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the Lord of Hosts. Because of My house that lies in ruins while each of you runs to his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its crops.” Modern English Version

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Daniel, the Leader

Yesterday was the elections for the Fairfield School Board. David had to go twice before he was able to vote. The line stretched outside of the courthouse and around the block.

A friend posted she went at 7:30 p.m. hoping for a shorter wait. At 8:00 p.m., when the polls were to close, they told them everyone in line would still get to vote. She waited 40 minutes.

There were several running for the seats on the school board. Some were publicly promoted by local organizations or a party.

* * * * * * *

Today, we read about Daniel. He was not popular and did not give in to pressure to change. Yet, the king wanted to set him over the whole realm.

Daniel 6:3, “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and officials because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” Modern English Version

Why did the King choose Daniel?

Lessons on Leadership from Daniel

  1. He had an excellent spirit, 6:3.
  2. He was faithful, 6:4.
  3. There was no error or fault found in him, 6:4.
  4. He never stopped praying and thanking God, 6:10.
  5. He was innocent, 6:22.
  6. He did no harm, 6:22.
  7. He believed in God, 6:23.

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Gather Together As One Man

“…There are 50,000 people working in the World Trade Center area…After the first plane hit, 400 rescue workers were at the scene in minutes…There was a run on ammunition at Walmart…We filled our tanks in the morning paying $1.73 a gallon, by 4:30 p.m. gas was $5.00 a gallon in Mt. Pleasant….the police are directing traffic at gas stations…the wait is almost an hour…” My journal entry on September 11, 2001.

My verses for that day were Psalms 56:1-13:

  • They press their attack.
  • Many are attacking.
  • In God I trust, I will not be afraid.
  • They are always plotting to harm.
  • They conspire, they lurk, they watch.
  • On no account let them escape.
  • List my tears in Your scroll.
  • You have delivered me from death.

On September 12, 2001, the nation gathered as one to pray. Rescue personnel from all over the country went to New York to help. The American Flag was flown everywhere.

Miraculously, only 2996 people died from the four planes. Over 1400 of the rescue workers who responded in the days and months after the attacks have died.

Disasters rock America again:

  1. As of September 12, 2017, there are 62 wildfires burning, only 4 are contained and 3 are new, large fires.
  2. There were 8 earthquakes around Soda Springs, Idaho on Sunday and Monday.
  3. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have left several states in devastation and we are tracking Hurricanes Jose and Katia.

Just like we did on September 12, 2001, we need to gather as one and pray.

Daniel 9:13, 14, “As it is written in the Law of Moses, great calamity has come on us. Yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God so that we might turn from our iniquities and give attention to Your truth. Therefore, the Lord has kept the disaster in store and brought it upon us. For the Lord our God is righteous in all His works which He does, but we have not obeyed His voice.” Modern English Version

And if our local churches are not meeting to pray, we need to follow the example of Daniel.

Daniel 9:3, “I set my face toward the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Modern English Version

As I studied Psalms 139:14, 15, I found two cross-references that applied to today.

Ecclesiastes 11:5, “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” New International Version

* * * * * * *

Psalms 119:90, “Your faithfulness is for all generations, You have established the earth, and it is firm.” Modern English Version

When the fires are out, the flooded areas are dry, the debris from the earthquakes removed, and everyone settled in their homes again, we need to gather as one man in our churches to thank God.

Ezra 3:1, “When the seventh month had come, the children of Israel had resettled in their cities, and the people gathered themselves together, as one man, to Jerusalem.” Modern English Version

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Whoever Remains, Help with Goods

The first person I checked on this morning was my friend in Florida. She has been on my heart and I have prayed for her and her family since I read her husband’s post on Saturday night.

“…We have plenty of water and food. Both generators are full and I have 10 gallons extra…we are in the direct path of her (Hurricane Irma) and should see full impact Sunday evening. Evacuation is not an option, with no gas and roads in gridlock.”

This morning, she posted:

“We have no damage, just no power and lots of debris. We were lucky, some friends of mine lost their whole roof.”

The needs are great. What can I do?

Ezra 1:4, “Whoever remains in any place where he sojourns, let the men of his place help him with…goods,…along with voluntary gifts for the house of God in Jerusalem.” Modern English Version

I am watching for updates from Stewart, who is helping clean up after “Hurricane Harvey.”

Ezra 1:5, “…all those whose spirits God had stirred, rose up to go up to build…” Modern English Version

I can’t do what Stewart is doing, but I can make sure those who go to help, do not go empty-handed.

Ezra 1:6, “So everyone all around them strengthened their hands with…goods…” Modern English Version

I hadn’t thought about it before, but there are probably churches that suffered damage. I am going to look for opportunities to give to those churches.

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