Bible Study: Interceding as Jesus does
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
Bible Passage: Esther
-- How have you seen God's wisdom, rule and care displayed in the circumstances of your life?
-- How can you cultivate a greater shared identity with the people on whose behalf you are interceding?
Food for Thought:
Read Esther 4:12-16. With the Jews facing extermination, Mordecai saw Esther's position as potentially the wise and timely hand of God at work for the salvation of the Jewish people (4:14). The outworking of the hand of God in the present often looks like happenstance, but in hindsight we see His wisdom, rule and care. God was working through situations and people to create the perfect moment of salvation for His people.
Esther determined to go to the king, but she delayed her visit three days to seek God's face through a fast. Often when we think of fasting, we lock in on what we're abstaining from but not what, or who, we're chasing after.
At every passing meal time, Esther and the people were reminded that it is God, not bread, Who sustains life; so they were compelled to ask Him to sustain theirs through a miraculous rescue. This is a picture of what waiting well looks like. As the story unfolds, Esther will also provide for us a picture of what identification looks like in interceding on behalf of her people.
Thus far in the book's narrative, we see Esther's identity as a Jew had remained hidden at the command of Mordecai (2:10). Concealing her identity had cost her nothing in the presence of the king, but revealing it, as Mordecai requested in this passage, could cost her life. Certainly she could've gone as just Esther, but there was something powerful and personal about going before the king not just as Esther the Queen, but as Hadassah the Jew. There's a power associated with personalized intercession.
In fact, intercession involves a willingness to identify with others. Esther chose to share in the fate of the Jews. "Spare my people," she pleaded (7:3); not just, "Spare these people."
Whenever God calls someone to go on behalf of another, it's not in a detached theoretical way devoid of intimacy or risk; rather, it involves authentic relational identification. We see this with Jesus in His identification through incarnation. With us it must be no different as we intercede for others.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God's plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject .