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Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide - 3rd Quarter 2015, Aug 6 2015

Thursday, August 6

When Some Gentiles Became Jews

Read Esther 8. Focus specifically on verse 17. How can we understand this in terms of outreach and witness?

No question, the book of Esther is not a “typical” story about outreach and witness. And yet we can see something like this scenario happening here toward the end. As a result of the king’s edict on behalf of the Jews, “many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them” (Esther 8:17). Some commentators argue that theirs could not have been a true conversion experience, since fear and anxiety should have no place in proselytizing. While that’s true, who knows in the longer run how these people, whatever their motives at first, might have responded to the working of the Holy Spirit, especially after seeing great differences between their beliefs and the belief and worship of the one true God?

Read Roman 1:18-20. How might the concepts taught here come into play with these people, especially in the contest of this story?

In the original decrees against the Jews, not only were the Jews to be killed, but the ones to do it were told that they should “plunder their possessions” (Esther 3:13, NKJV). Also, when the Jews were given permission to kill their enemies, they too were told that they could “plunder” the possession of their enemies (Esther 8:11, NKJV). However, three times in the book of Esther (9:10, 15, 16, NKJV) it specifically says that the Jews did not “lay a hand on the plunder” (NKJV). Though the texts don’t say why, the fact that it was mentioned three times shoes the emphasis that was places on this act. Most likely they refrained because they wanted it known that they were acting out of self-defense and not greed.

How can we make sure that in our outreach and witness to others we don’t do anything that would cause people to question our motives? Why is this so important?

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