This is one in a series of reviews of the weekly lessons found in the Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To link to all of the 2022 teachings, click here. Bold face type in this article comes from the Church’s curriculum. (Note: Not every sentence written in the curriculum is being reviewed.)
Many events in the book of Esther might seem like luck or coincidence. How else do you explain how an orphaned Jewish girl became the queen of Persia at just the right time to save her people from being slaughtered? What are the chances that Esther’s cousin Mordecai would just happen to overhear a plot to assassinate the king? Were these coincidences, or were they part of a divine plan? Elder Ronald A. Rasband noted: “What may appear to be a random chance is, in fact, overseen by a loving Father in Heaven. … The Lord is in the small details of our lives” (“By Divine Design,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 56). We may not always recognize the Lord’s influence in these “small details.” But we learn from Esther’s experience that He can guide our path and prepare us “for such a time” (Esther 4:14) when we can be instruments in His hands to fulfill His purposes.
Let’s be honest, Rasband’s quote here is nothing earth-shattering or amazing, but it seems like it is included to prop up the position of the apostle. OK, fine. But many Bible verses could support the idea, including:
- Proverbs 16:9: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
- Proverbs 16:33: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
- Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
- Ephesians 1:11: “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.”
There are other verses that support the sovereignty of God and show how nothing comes randomly in God’s sight; He really is in charge of even the “small details.”
Ideas for Personal Scripture Study
The Lord can make me an instrument to bless others.
Sister Anne C. Pingree taught: “To become an instrument in the hands of God is a great privilege and sacred responsibility. Wherever we live, whatever our circumstances, no matter our marital status or age, the Lord needs each one of us to fulfill [our] unique part in building His kingdom in this final dispensation” (“Knowing the Lord’s Will for You,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 112).
As you read the story of Esther, ponder how this statement applies to her. Look for ways the Lord made it possible for her to save the Jews (see, for example, Esther 2:21–23; 3:10–14; 4:14–16). Then ponder how He has guided your life in ways that allow you to bless others. What are some circumstances or relationships that you feel He has guided you to “for such a time as this”? (Esther 4:14). If you have a patriarchal blessing, consider reading it to learn more about the work the Lord has for you to do.
The patriarchal blessing is not something authorized in the Bible. Generally, these are given to every LDS initiate with such generic foretelling that pretty much any result will fulfill it.
For an article on patriarchal blessing, click here.
Esther 3; 5:9–14; 7
Pride and anger can lead to downfall.
In the book of Esther, we learn from the faithfulness of Esther and Mordecai as well as from the pride and anger of Haman. As you read Esther 3; 5:9–14, consider noting Haman’s feelings, words, and actions. What do they reveal about him and his motivations? What consequences did he face? (see Esther 7). Reading about Haman may prompt you to evaluate what motivates your feelings and actions. Are you inspired to make any changes? How can you turn to Heavenly Father for help?
Pride is a deadly force. The Bible warns against the attitude of pride:
- Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
- Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
- Proverbs 29:23: “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”
- James 4:6: “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
To get a temple recommend–the temple has been highlighted in the past few weeks of lessons–a person must answer the questions during the interview with the bishop and stake president in an acceptable way. I wonder how many Latter-day Saints have pride when they qualify for their recommends and are given access to the temple. Doesn’t this requirement to do work at the temple required by the LDS Church foster pride in its membership?
Esther 3–4; 5:2–3; 8:11–12
Fasting demonstrates my dependence on the Lord.
Notice the conditions that led Esther and the rest of the Jews to fast (see Esther 3:13; 4:1–3, 10–17). How was fasting a blessing to them? (see Esther 5:2–3; 8:11–12). Why does the Lord ask us to fast? (see Gospel Topics, “Fasting and Fast Offerings,” topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Consider what you can do to make fasting a greater blessing in your life.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that many do not practice. It does show how serious the member is about their request; this certainly has a place in the lives of Christians, even if it is not popular.
Esther 3:1–11; 4:10–17; 5:1–4
Doing the right thing often requires great courage.
When Mordecai and Esther stood up for their beliefs, they put their lives at stake. Our choices have consequences that might be less severe, but doing the right thing can still require courage. What do you learn from Esther 3:1–4; 4:10–17 about having courage to do the right thing? Note the different consequences Mordecai and Esther experienced after showing courage (see Esther 3:5–11; 5:1–4). What would a person need to know about God in order to make the choices Esther and Mordecai made—to do what’s right regardless of the consequences?
Integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody is looking. We certainly can learn from the life of Esther.
The story of Esther is quite the heroic story of how God used individuals in a plan that saved His people. There is no sign that what Mordecai and Esther did fostered pride in their lives. May we learn a lesson from this account.