1. From reading the first 4 verses, you see sorrow on full display.
Q: We live in a broken world because of sin. Sorrow is a byproduct of that brokenness. How do we create a culture as a church where people can confront their sorrow rather than mask it?
Q: Because we believe that those outside of Christ will suffer eternally, it should bring sorrow. What keeps us from feeling the weight of this truth?
Q: The world tends to ignore, cover up or escape sorrow as seen in these 4 verses. What causes people to try one of these tactics over confronting sorrow? Which of these tactics have we used in the past?
2. Based off Mordecai’s response, we see that sorrow is to be embraced.
Q: Mordecai is full of sorrow & embraces it overtly in this passage. What are ways that Christians can embrace sorrow today both for their own situations & for others?
Q: We heard that the deeper we dive into sorrow, the deeper we dive into joy. That sorrow & joy go together in the Christian life. How do you understand that to work? Have you experienced this combination: sorrow & joy?
3. The first 3 chapters of Esther deal with feast, chapter 4 deals with fasting.
Q: Fasting can be a tangible reminder of our need for God & also create space in our lives to seek the Lord. If it is so good for us, why do many of us rarely do it?
Q: How could we incorporate fasting into our lives in a way that has solid meaning & purpose behind it?
4. We then see in v. 5-17 the dialogue between Esther & Mordecai play out.
Q: The first thing you see in their conversation is how unaware Esther is of the plight of the Jewish people. She is experiencing isolation from God’s people. How do we keep from falling into this trap ourselves? What does it look like for us to intentionally be in community with the people of God?
Q: As Esther & Mordecai talk, Esther initially refuses to go to the King for various reasons & yet Mordecai’s response (v. 13-14) says a lot…ultimately it points to God’s sovereignty & faithfulness despite the circumstances. What does believing God has a plan & is strong enough to accomplish His plan do for the Christian’s confidence & hope? What does believing that God has a plan & is strong enough to accomplish His plan do for the way you view your position, influence, opportunities right now?
Q: In v. 15-17, Esther responds by expressing a need for God’s people & God Himself. Yet she is still full of doubt. How does it honor God to move forward in obedience even though there is doubt?
5. We ended with a view of this chapter in light of the gospel message.
Q: This account gives a temporary savior over a temporary foe which provides a temporary victory. In the gospel we see that Christ is the true savior over our true enemy, sin & death, which provides true victory, freedom from sin & union with Christ. How does this make you thankful, grateful, joyful, etc. for what Christ has done?