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Nov 28, 2016

ESTHER 3-4:
Yesterday we heard how Esther became the queen, and how she continued to keep her Jewish background a secret. We also heard how Mordecai, her uncle, was promoted to a palace official after uncovering a plot to assassinate king Xerxes.

Today we are introduced to the villain of the story— Haman. The Jews always read the book of Esther in the celebration of Purim. Whenever Haman’s name is read they boo and shake rattles or noisemakers to drown out his name.

Translation note:
7 NLT Mordecai told him the whole story, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.//GNT Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him and just how much money Haman had promised to put into the royal treasury if all the Jews were killed.

ISAIAH 41a:
The shift to such beautiful poetry that occurs in chapter 40 of Isaiah is one of the things that has made people think the last part of this book was authored by someone else. But that is the silly. As I have pointed out as we have gone along, Isaiah has written beautiful and memorize-able verses from the beginning of this book. And Isaiah’s amazing predictions about the Messiah are not just found in chapter 53, as we heard again yesterday.

2 THESSALONIANS 1:
Did you notice yesterday that the little book of Philemon is a picture of the Gospel? Philemon is in the place of God. Paul is an advocate like Jesus. Picture yourself in the position of a runaway slave. I give a hint here for digging deeper in Philemon: There is a wonderful play of words that happens twice based on the name Onesimus.

I hope that you recall that we read 1st Thessalonians several months ago. 2nd Thessalonians seems to have been written soon after the first letter, around 51 AD. Paul was evidently still at Corinth. And the letter seems to have been written to clarify a very important point about Christ’s second coming. This letter contains some of the clearest teaching about the antichrist— although Paul does not use that term.

Constable’s notes say, “Paul wrote to encourage the Thessalonian believers to continue to persevere in the face of continuing persecution (1:3-10). He also wanted to clarify events preceding the day of the Lord to dispel false teaching (2:1-12). Finally, he instructed the church how to deal with lazy Christians in their midst (3:6-15).” Constable’s notes can be found at Lumina.bible.org.

Translation note:
11 That is why we always pray for you. We ask our God to make you worthy of the life he has called you to live. May he fulfill by his power all your desire for goodness and complete [every good deed that you do because of your belief in Christ//your work of faith].