Scriptures: Esther 4:12-17, 7:1-10 & Luke 24:1-7
Song of Praise: Doxology
The tale of Queen Esther is so popular that is has been adapted into many movies, plays and books. Esther's heroism is still celebrated by modern Jewish people at a feast called 'Purim'.
Purim is a time of reflection and lavish celebration.
It commemorates Esther and her cousin Mordecai, who were victorious in their efforts to preserve their people from their enemy, Haman.
Haman was a man of great power, he was the King's right hand man.
Haman and his minions hated Mordecai, they were jealous of him, and wanted to destroy him, along with the entire Jewish community.
What Haman did not realize was that Queen Esther was Jewish as well.
Haman had inadvertently picked a fight with His Queen. When Mordecai learned of Haman's diabolical plan to destroy all the Jews, he pleaded with his cousin, Esther, to intervene on behalf of her people, the Jewish nation. If Haman succeeded in his plans, the King would be tricked into signing legislation allowing for Haman to murder every Jew, including the Queen.
Esther knew that God had placed her in a prominent position for such a vital task.
She must ensure the survival of God's people, even if it cost her very life. Esther was apprehensive, but she was also shrewd.
She requested that Mordecai first instruct the Jewish people to fast for 3 days. Then, after the fast, she would go to the King and ask him to spare her people from Haman.
This was quite a perilous plan for Esther. No one was welcomed into the King's presence without an invitation. He reserved the right to kill anyone that entered into his quarters without his consent.
Esther mustered up all her courage, and walked confidently before the presence of the King. She was received with favor, and when the King offered her whatever she desired, she simply requested that he, along with Haman, attend a feast that she was preparing in their honor.
This pleased the King and Haman greatly. While reclining at the table, again, the King again asked Esther how he would be able to please her in return.
She requested that Haman and the King attend an additional feast the following day.
They both happily obliged.
Excited about an additional dinner invitation, puffed up with great food and an inflated ego, Haman prepared the gallows, where he soon planned to hang his nemesis, Mordecai.
The second feast came, and the King and Haman were both happily drinking at Esther's prepared table.
Once again, the King, longing to please his Queen, asked how he could give Esther what she desired.
This was Esther's big moment; she must be bold.
She vehemently petitioned the King for her life and the life of her people. In a rage, the King demanded to know who dared threaten the life of His beloved Queen.
Esther proclaimed that it was in fact, Haman. The man sitting at the very same table they had just been feasting at.
Suffice it to say, Haman found himself in the very same predicament that he had placed the Jews in.
On the very next day, the third day, Haman was sentenced to death, and Mordecai was vindicated.
This story never once mentions the name of God. Which might seem a bit odd for a book of the Bible.
However, this story is rich with gospel shadows.
Like Jesus would, Esther acts as the mediator between the King and her people.
Like Jesus, on the third day, after the apparent victory of their enemy, Esther finally defeats her great foe.
Like Jesus, Esther's house guests include her enemy.
Like Jesus, Esther mediates for her people, securing the safety of her people before the great King.
Like Jesus, Esther's feast ends in judgement for all those who do not turn away from their sin.
Like Jesus, Esther wisely prepares her table.
Table Talk Questions:
Why was Esther afraid of the King?
What became of Haman, the enemy of God's people?
What became of Satan when Jesus died on the Cross and rose from death?
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Meal: Cheesy Potato & Sausage bake, Roasted Garlic Asparagus, & Cookies & Cream Brownies,
Cheesy Potato & Sausage bake
Prep and Cook Time: 1 ½ hours
6-8 medium, unpeeled Russets Potatoes, boiled until soft but not mushy
1 pound Smoked Sausage, thinly sliced
4 Tablespoon Butter
4 Tablespoon Flour
2 cups Half and Half or milk
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
¼ teaspoon smoked or regular Paprika
½-1 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper minutes
In a large pot, boil whole, unpeeled potatoes until they are tender to poke with a fork. Do not over cook, you don't want mashed potatoes.
Drain and allow to cool for a little while before you peel and chop them into 1 inch cubes.
Set them to the side.
In a skillet, on medium heat, cook the sliced sausage until they begin to brown. Remove them from the skillet, and set them to the side.
In the same skillet, on low, melt your butter, mix in the flour and half and half/milk. Stir to form a thickened roux. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Combine the sauce with sausage and potatoes. Place them all into a 9x13 pan.
Bake at 350 F for 35-45 minutes
Roasted Garlic Asparagus
Prep and Cook time: 30 minutes
2 pounds Asparagus
2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 ½ teaspoon Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 400 F
Wash the asparagus with water and dry well.
Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Drizzle olive oil over asparagus and toss.
Top with salt and toss garlic and lemon zest over asparagus.
Toss with your hands or a tong.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until asparagus is tender.
Remove from oven.
Cookies and Cream Brownies
Prep and Cook Time: about an hour
Oreo Brownie Layer:
¾ cup Butter
⅓ cup Chocolate Chips
2 cups Sugar
3 large Eggs
2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Cocoa Powder
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Cups chopped Oreos (about 12-14 oreos)
Cookies and cream Layer:
12 ounce White Chocolate Chips
6 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
3 ½ Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
1 ¾ cups chopped Oreos (12 oreos)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease a 9x13 pan Set pan aside.
Combine the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 20-30 second increments, stirring well after each, until melted and smooth.
Add the sugar and whisk until combined.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk together to combine.
Add the cocoa, flour, salt, and stir with a rubber or wooden spatula until well combined.
Batter will be very thick.
Stir in the chopped oreos.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
To test the brownies for being done, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out with just a few moist crumbs, they’re done.
Set the brownies aside to cool.
When mostly cool make the cookies and cream layer.
Add the white chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream to a large microwave safe bowl and heat for 20-30 second increments, stirring well after each, until melted and smooth.
Mixture will be thick.
Stir in the powdered sugar and chopped oreos, then spread evenly on top of the brownies.
The mixture will be thick, just use your spatula to help spread it.
Allow the brownies to cool completely, then cut into squares.