A Study In The Book Of Esther : Lesson #3 Fasting And Prayer A Valuable Resource
A Study in the Book of Esther : Lesson #3 Fasting and Prayer a Valuable Resource
In this study we are going to look at what a valuable resource that fasting and prayer can be to us today as saved people. In Esther 3 we see that a man by the name of Haman is promoted above all the princes that were with him. Now the king had commanded that all that were in the kings gate were to bow and give reverence unto Haman. Mordecai would not bow unto Haman and Haman despised Mordecai for it. Haman wanted to destroy Mordecai but when he found out that he was a Jew he decided he would not only destroy Mordecai but that he would destroy all of the Jews in the land also. So Haman conspired with the king and got permission to issue letters that all the Jews were to be destroyed on the 13th day of the 12th month.
Here is a good example of someone in the scripture being in need of help from God and fasting as a means of getting help or an answer from God. Today many people think that fasting is only for the Old Testament but fasting has great benefits and is an excellent resource for us today. Let us look at some principles and benefits of fasting. Note in Matthew 17:21 that Jesus tells his disciples that the kind of faith they were asking about comes only by prayer and fasting.
Two Types of Fasting :
What does fasting do for us?
1) Fasting afflicts the soul
2) Fasting should also affect our lifestyle
3) Fasting can help us with Controversy
Elijah Fasted While Escaping Jezebel 1 Kings 1: 4
Wicked Queen Jezebel threatened to kill the prophet Elijah after he won the great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Elijah fled to Beer-sheba where he left his servant. Then he traveled alone another day into the wilderness.
Elijah found a juniper tree and rested. He prayed to God to allow him to die. He did not really want to die. If he did he could have stayed where he was and let the queen take care of him. Elijah was very discouraged and lay down for a nap. An angel came and fed him . Elijah took the food and then went back to sleep.
After being fed by the angel a second time, Elijah prepared for a great journey. The Bible says that Elijah traveled for 40 days in the strength of that food until he arrived at Mount Horeb . This is the same mountain where Moses received the 10 Commandments. It was called Mount Sinai during Moses time.
Fasting From What And For How Long
For Believers in Yeshua, fasting can mean abstinence of different forms and durations. The idea is to abstain from something for the sake of prayer about a matter. A fast can be abstaining from food, drink, or an activity. You can sacrifice one meal, two meals, or give up eating for a whole day or more. When fasting from food, people often use the time theyd normally devote to preparing, eating, and cleaning up after the meal for prayer instead.
Rather than whole meals, you can give up a certain item, such as sugar or special coffees. You can also fast from activities such as watching TV, browsing the Internet, using social media, or other forms of entertainment. The point is to give up something and replace it with a focus on the Lord and prayer.
Your fast can be of any duration. It could be fasting from one meal, giving up sugar for a month, abstaining from social media for a week, or sacrificing something else for another length of time.
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Fasting Is An Ancient Tradition In Many Cultures
Fasting is an ancient tradition in many cultures in Judaism we have a number of them including this one, like Yom Kippur and Tisha B’av.
As with the other fasting holidays, we can seek out deeper meaning in today’s world for such ancient spiritual practices. This break from food can have many positive effects on our bodies, so much so, that you may want to consider incorporating fasting into your routine – perhaps even more often than a few times a year…
Intermittent fasting is gaining a lot of attention in the wellness world, and from someone who gets down with it, let me tell you why!
Learn More About The Meaning Behind Esther’s Fast
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David Mourning His Childs Illness 2 Samuel 1: 1
After David had committed adultery with Bathsheba he learned that she was pregnant. David had her husband executed so that he could take her to be his wife. At some point after the baby was born Nathan the prophet confronted David about his sin. David confessed and repented .
Even though David repented before God, there were still consequences for his actions. The prophet told David that the child would die. After the prophet left, the young boy became very ill. David immediately went into prayer and fasting for his son. He knew that God said the child would die, but he had hoped that he might find grace in the eyes of God.
David refused to eat while the child was ill. After the seventh day his son died. When Davids servants told him about the childs death, David cleaned himself up, ceased from his mourning and began to eat once again .
The servants were surprised by the actions of the king. But David said that now that the child had died, there was nothing that could be done. He would one day see his son again in Heaven .
Moses Fasted Before Receiving The Commandments Deuteronomy : 9
Moses fasted for 40 days when he went up to the mountain to receive the commandments of God written on stone tablets. This was an unusual and miraculous fast if we take it at face value. Moses says that he did not eat food nor drink water during the 40 days . Lets assume that means he did not drink anything else either. A human body cannot survive extended periods of time without water unless God works some kind of miracle.
After he came down from the mountain of God and saw the people transgressing the commandments that were just given, Moses angrily breaks the tablets of stone. After a time he ascends the mountain once again and proceeds to fast another 40 days without food and water before receiving the law once more .
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Esther Was An Orphaned Jew
Esther was living in the custody of her cousin Mordecai. Mordecai and Esther were from the tribe of Benjamin. In Esther chapter 2 we learn the following about Mordecai:
Mordecai had been taken from Jerusalem with the exiles who had been deported with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had deported. 7 He was the guardian to Hadassah, that is Esther, his uncles daughter, for she had no father or mother. Esther 2:6-7 NASB
Jesus Fasted Before Temptation By Satan Matthew : 1
Before Jesus was tempted by Satan and before He started His public ministry, He fasted 40 days. The Bible says that Jesus was lead by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness . This verse indicates that the purpose of Christ going into the wilderness was for the temptation that would come. Verse 2 tells us that for 40 days and nights before He was subjected to a personal attack by Satan, Jesus fasted.
Though physically weak , Jesus was spiritually well prepared for the temptation that followed.
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Following God Is Not Easy
This story also shows us that following God is not easy. Many people believe that once you give your life to the Lord all your problems and difficulties will fade away. This could not be farther from the truth. Following God often leads to trials and difficulty.
Esther had a hard choice to make. She could go before the king to plead for the salvation of her people at the risk of her own life, or she could have chosen not to. Thankfully, she made the decision to follow God into a difficult situation and He honored her for it.
Bible Commentary For Esther : 16
Wesley’s Notes for Esther 4:16
4:16 Fast – And pray so as you use to do, leave off your common dinners by day, and suppers at night, and eat and drink no more than mere necessity requires that so you may give yourselves to constant and fervent prayers. Maidens – Which she had chosen to attend upon her person, and were doubtless either of the Jewish nation, or Proselytes. Which is not, & c. – Which may belong, either to the thing only, that as they did fast, so she would. Or, rather, to the time of three days and three nights for so she might do, though she went to the king on the third day. For the fast began at evening, and so she might continue her fast three whole nights, and two whole days, and the greatest part of the third a part of a day being reputed a day in the account of scripture, and other authors: of which see on #Matt 12:40|. Yea, she might fast all that day too: for it is probable she went not to the king ’till he had dined when she supposed she might find him in the most mild and pleasant humour, and then returned to her apartment, where she fasted ’till the evening.
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Three Days And Three Nights Do Not Necessarily Equal 72 Hours
This page is part of a larger study of What Day of the Week Was Jesus Christ Crucified?
Some proponents of the Wednesday theory of the day Christ was crucified, claim that when Jesus said he would rise after “three days and three nights” it means exactly 72 hours. They use statements from the stories of the Flood of Noah in Genesis 6-8 and Esther 4 to try and prove this theory.
They claim these events also had 12 hour days and nights because the Hebrew day began at sunset and ended at the next sunset. They use Jesus statement “Are there not twelve hours of daylight?” in John 11:9 to try and prove this theory. However, as can be seen by the analysis below this is not true.
There were indeed about 12 hours of day, and 12 hours of night, around the time of the Passover. However, this is not true for other times of the year because the exact time of sunset varies depending on the season of the year. If you will look at a map of the world you will see that Isreal is at the same latitude as Central USA. This means the timing of our sunrise and sunset will be similar for that location.
When Jesus said the above statement about their being 12 hours of daylight, in John 11:9, it was shortly before Passover, and therefore he was referring to 12 hour increments around the time of Passover. During Passover the sun rose about 6 AM and set about 6 PM
Esther Was A Woman Of Courage
We see threads of courage throughout the life and story of Esther. There were multiple moments that required her to step out of her comfort zone and courageously trust God for His divine protection. The most courageous moment we see would be the moment that she stepped before the king. Even as queen, it was not legal for her to come before the king without a proper invite. The penalty for this was death. She did this at the risk of her own life.
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The Purpose Of Fasting
Fasting merely to commemorate an event would be pointless. There are other less unpleasant ways of remembering things, such as reading a story, singing a song, or building a monument. Fasting has to serve a practical purpose.
In the days of Mordecai and Esther, they fasted in order to seek victory in battle against their enemies. Fasting prior to battle? It seems like the opposite of good advice. Weakening our bodies seems like a surefire way to give our enemies an advantage over us.
That is, unless we are misidentifying the true enemy.
There are, occasionally, physical beings such as Haman whose mouths spew threats and who point weapons in our direction. Dont be fooled they are merely a decoy.
In the days of the apostles, the Romans viciously oppressed the Jewish people. And strangely, we dont find Yeshua leading an uprising against Caesar he almost seems to show no concern about Rome at all.
This bothers some historians and writers, who claim that as a devout Jew, Jesus must have been vociferously anti-Roman. But instead, Yeshua knew the heart of the problem, and that if the people truly repented, Rome would pose no threat at all.
Even today, otherwise godly people fret about perceived existential threats, whether in the form of governments, armies, political parties, foreign religions, or extremist factions. While evil must be opposed, let us not forget where the true battle rages.
Who Was Esther In The Bible
Esthers birth name was Hadassah. She was of the tribe of Benjamin and lived during the time Israel was exiled, and eventually became queen who saved her entire people. Esther reminds us that nothing is impossible with God.
- Danielle BernockCrosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Although some contend the Book of Esther ought not to be in the Bible because it never mentions God by name, his presence is clear through the unlikely heroine, Esther.
The Book of Esther is one of only two books in the Bible named after a woman.
Who is this woman and why does she have an entire book named after her? In short, she prevented the first holocaust.
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A Guide To Intermittent Fasting: The Queen Esther Fast
Contributed by: Stefanie Adler, Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Natural Chef, and Founder of Bright Bean Health.
When Im not reading the Megillah, searching for Esthers wellness tips, I work as a Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Sharing the food, mind, and body connection with others has always been a passion of mine. Having the opportunity to connect my passion for nutrition with my spiritual practice by looking into Esthers story has been so rewarding and Im so happy to share it with yall!
The day before Purim is The Fast of Esther, where its customary for the Jewish people to fast! While there is some debate as to why and when the fast happens, most believe its to commemorate a pivotal moment in the story of Purim. Specifically, the part of the story when Esther imploringly approached her hubby, King Ahasuerus, in an effort to intercede on behalf of the Jewish people. But before she went before the King, she fasted for three days, and called upon all the Jews to pray for victory, and fast as well.
The Emergence Of Esther
After the kings fury subsided, a new plan was set in motion that altered Hadassahs life forever.
Let a search be made for beautiful young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint commissioners in every province of his realm to bring all these beautiful young women into the harem at the citadel of Susa. Let them be placed under the care of Hegai, the kings eunuch, who is in charge of the women and let beauty treatments be given to them. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti. This advice appealed to the king, and he followed it .
Once the edict was declared, they started taking the young virgins. Hadassah was taken and emerged as Esther, keeping her nationality a secret per Mordecais instructions.
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What Is Esther’s Fast
While Estherâs fast in the Megillah was certainly an inspiring turning point in the story, other Rabbinic commentators argue that it isnât actually the fast that we commemorate today.
This is for a very simple reason: Estherâs fast in the Megillah didnât take place on the 13th of Adar! It happened almost an entire year before the Jewsâ redemption in Adar.
According to these Rabbis, it just wouldnât make sense to commemorate Estherâs fast in the Megillah on the wrong day of the year. So, there are Rabbis who maintain that the fast on the 13th of Adar is tied to a different event that did take place on that very dayâ¦ the war.
You see, when Haman hatched his plot against the Jews, he drew lots to decide which day would be earmarked for the Jewsâ annihilation. He came up with the 13th day of Adar. And although Haman was hanged on the gallows before that fateful day came around, the King couldnât undo the decree that heâd already signed, sealed and delivered.
The best he could do was issue a new decree, stating that the Jews could defend themselves against their enemies. So while the 13th of Adar was still a day of battle, instead of resulting in genocide for the Jews, it became a day of triumph and victory for them.
So, as crazy as it sounds, the custom was to fast on the day of the battle. The soldiers who went out to war were simultaneously holding their spears in their hands and turning their hearts to God in fasting and repentance.