Week 40: Esther, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah

Prepare these questions for Sunday, January 5, 2014.  We will not meet on December 29 for the Christmas break.

The book of Esther tells the story of a brave Jewish exile who found herself wed to the Persian king, Xerxes. She risked her own life for the lives of her people and, in return, her people celebrated her with a feast called Purim (which is still done today).

1. What exactly did Esther do and how was Mordecai involved?

2. We never know when we might be called upon to do the work of God. how can we use the example of Esther to make sure that we are willing and able if God calls us?

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament and seems to build on one of the prophesies of Jeremiah. The book specifically speaks against Edom, the descendants of Isaac's son Esau. The people of Edom first turn their backs on their cousins in Judah and gloat when things go wrong. Their sins move toward looting while Judah is down and then even sabotaging the refugees.

3. What is Obadiah's message about Edom to the people of Jerusalem? How can that encourage us today in the face of opposition?

Jonah is most famous for being swallowed by a whale, but that really isn't the main point of this book. Jonah is told by God to go to Nineveh and, instead fled by ship toward a town called Joppa. A storm came that threatened to sink the ship and Jonah realized that God had come after him, so to speak. The sailors threw Jonah overboard, but he was swallowed by a "big fish" and spit out on dry land after a few days. The fish saved Jonah's life and Jonah decided that it was in his best interests to obey God and head for Nineveh.

4. How are you running from something God wants you to do in your life? How might obeying God in this matter wind up being in your best interests in the long run?

Micah spoke to the kingdom of Judah before the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians and he prophesied that Jerusalem would fall if it did not repent from it's selfish and corrupt ways. Jerusalem continued to fall further from the will of God and it was, in fact, conquered.

5. Read Chapter 6. God does not want the hollow religious motions of the people, but rather that they would "act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (verse 6:8) What would living out this verse in your own life look like on a day to day basis?

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