Check out all the previous Esther readings here.
Esther Reading Plan | Week 3 | Day 4
As you begin your time with God, where you are sitting or standing, put out your hands with your palm facing up. Thank God that you can meet with Him today and ask Him to grow your faith in Him.
Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 20:1-17
Read these verses three times slowly.
After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.
Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said:
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’
“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”
Reflection & Questions
In Esther 2, we read that she faced a very challenging situation. Sometimes we face scary or complex situations, and it’s hard to know what to do. It’s easy to be paralyzed.
In 2 Chronicles 20, we read of the Israelites who are fearing for their lives as a “vast army” is heading towards them. The steps they take are commendable. They call a fast, to show God their desperation. They then pray to God. First starting with a reminder of who God is: “Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” And then a prayer of reality: “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
God response is amazing: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” They still had to show up (“Tomorrow march down against them”, “Take up your positions”), but as they showed up they were to “stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.”
This story is a great example to us whenever we face situations that are scary, out of our control, or we don’t know what to do. Go to God. Keep your eyes on Him. Trust Him and show up.
- Read God’s instructions to the Israelites again. What sticks out to you about what God tells them?
- What do you take from this story to apply to a situation you are facing right now?
Pray in response to today’s reading.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
Prepare to Meet with Jesus
Go to your quiet place. When there are no devices around that will distract you, take a deep breath. Blow it out slowly. Do that again. And do it one last time. Ask God for His help to read and understand.
Bible Reading: John 13:5, 12-15
Read these verses three times slowly.
Each young woman had to complete 12 months of beauty care. They used oil of myrrh for six months. And they used perfume and makeup for the other six months. A young woman’s turn to go in to King Xerxes could come only after a full 12 months had passed. And here is how she would go to the king. She would be given anything she wanted from where the young women stayed. She could take it with her to the king’s palace.
Mordecai had adopted Esther. She had been the daughter of his uncle Abihail. Her turn came to go in to the king. She only asked for what Hegai suggested. He was the king’s official who was in charge of where the young women stayed. Everyone who saw Esther was pleased with her.
Reflection & Questions
Have you ever felt pressure to be a certain way? Maybe people expect you to always get good grades. Or perhaps you’re the team captain everyone always expects to make good plays. Pitchers and quarterbacks sometimes feel like winning the game is up to them. Goalies feel pressure to stop every goal. Maybe people just expect that you will always do everything right. A good reputation is good, but sometimes the pressure can get to you!
It sounds like everyone wanted Esther to be a certain way! She had to go through a year of beauty treatments with oil, makeup, and perfume before seeing the king. That is so much pressure to be pretty! The Bible doesn’t tell us whether Esther liked all the beauty treatments. She probably had to sit really still for some of them. It doesn’t tell us whether they made her nervous or uncomfortable. We do know that she cooperated. She tried her best even though none of it was her choice. Thankfully, everyone liked her.
Even after all the beauty treatments and knowing everyone thought she was pretty, Esther was still humble. When it was her turn to meet the king, she asked the guy in charge for advice. She wanted to do her best, even though being queen was never what she planned and dreamed about.
- Have you ever had to do something you did not want to do? (chores, homework?)
- Do you have younger siblings, cousins, or friends? How can you serve them? Can you help them with things or play with them, even when you don’t have to?
- Do you ever feel like everyone else has plans for how you should be?
- What do you do in those situations? Do you try your best?
Thank God He is with you when you have to do something you do not want to do. Ask Him to help you always do your best. Thank Him that He can turn hard things into really good things.
Check out more Bible Reading Plans here.