Submission and Obedience
Spirit Warfare

October 8, 2004

Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare, Part 1

Introduction - Esther 1:1-14

Ever since the creation of man, God has desired to fellowship with those He made in His image. Before the Fall in the garden of Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. Following the disobedience of the pair, God still has used various means to let people know about His great love for them. Being infinite in His wisdom, God used written transmission of His revealed purposes and will, so that those who want to know Him can discover Him more and more deeply according to their desire.

Therefore, every book in the Bible contains more than one level of meaning. For example, the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, chronicles the history of the Jews' beginnings. In it we learn about the call of Abraham, the miraculous birth of Isaac and his 12 grandsons, their move to Egypt and years of slavery under Pharaoh, God's miraculous deliverance, and His provisions for Israel during her subsequent wilderness wanderings for 40 years. The natural mind easily perceives those facts and declarations.

At a deeper level, God concealed truths within events and patterns of each book that speak of the coming Messiah and life in the Spirit. God hid His secrets in historical narratives, poetry and prophetic documentary, waiting to be uncovered by His Holy Spirit to the one who seeks until he finds and sees and KNOWS!

Just so, the book of Esther gives us a vignette of history at a time when the Jewish people were exiles among the various countries that comprised the Persian empire under the rule of King Ahasuerus, otherwise known as Xerxes. Because of Esther's unique position in the kingdom, she was able to intervene in the cause of her own people and prevent their complete annihilation. Jews around the world still celebrate Esther and her victory during their springtime Purim holiday.

But the book of Esther, which never directly references the name of God or anything about Him, also reveals the secrets of being prepared to engage in Spirit warfare. It is these truths we shall look at in this article and articles to follow.

The King's Lavishness

Although the Old Testament is set in what now is called the Middle East, modern readers tend to interpret its events in the light of Western culture and social customs. So, when we read about the posh banquet King Ahasuerus hosted for the princes, attendants, army officers, nobles and leaders from the 127 provinces that formed his Persian Empire, it sounds extravagant and ostentatious. Yet it was at great personal expense the King housed his guests and feted them for 180 days! It was some party!

Recently on his television program Myles Munroe listed six significant characteristics that distinguish the glory of a king:

  • a king's power, which is his glory, is displayed in his amassed wealth.
  • wealth secures the king's reputation or glory, especially among other kings.
  • the glory of a king is his power to out-give all other kings.
  • giving to a king places a demand on the king's wealth, i.e. another person can never out-give the king.
  • giving to a king demands a response from him.
  • giving attracts the king's wealth to the gift-giver--the gift a king gives in return abundantly out-sizes the one he received.

It took King Ahasuerus three years to establish his position after succeeding his father, Darius, to the throne. Now he show-cased the extent of his power before his royal subjects. Following six months of enjoying the display of the king's wealth amid great festivities, his guests went home. Then Ahasuerus threw a second banquet for all those in Susa, the winter capital, in his palace that was adorned by lavish woven hangings, marble columns and expensive mosaics with accessories of gold and silver.

The Queen's Response

Toward the end of the seven days, after the banqueters had been regaled with rare delicacies and expensive wines, the King sent messengers to bring Queen Vashti to the stag celebration. He wanted to show off the beauty of his wife, who was his crown jewel.

In another part of the compound, Vashti was feting women from the city at a banquet all her own. The ladies must have admired Vashti, whose very name meant "Beautiful." Perhaps she revelled so much in their glowing admiration she hated to join a group of men who had had too much to drink. What we do know is that she 'refused' to join her husband...and essentially mothered the women's lib movement!

In reality, Vashti rebelled against the king. It's clear from Esther's experience farther in the book that no one crossed the king without paying a price, not even the queen! Vashti's denial of his authority as supreme ruler greatly humiliated her husband in front of his inferiors, but his embarrassment quickly turned to rage. When he was advised to remove her crown, depose her and find a new queen, he agreed.

Might this account of King Ahasuerus and Queen Vashti reflect what occurred in Heaven before time began? Could it be that God, King of the Universe, had a glorious celebration for the angels of His kingdom, sparing nothing in feting and showing them His glory? Somewhere apart from God's throne room, might Lucifer have gathered his followers to stage his own celebration? Certainly God would have tried to persuade Lucifer, perhaps His most powerful and beautiful angel, to join the main banquet as part of His glory.

Instead, Lucifer, who was highly favored (Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14), refused to come. His pride-filled heart insisted he should sit on a throne next to God's and be elevated to the same status as God Himself. Imagine a created being having the chutzpah to think he could be equal to the One who created him!! But he did--and he's been in rebellion against God and His glory ever since.

Beginning in Genesis 1, rebellion is a recurrent theme of the Bible. Rebellion against one simple rule is the story of Adam and Eve's fall in the Garden. "You shall not eat from the tree," God told them, but they did and brought the curse of sin on the whole human race.

Repeated rebellion marks Israel's relationship to God. The people of Israel often rebelled against God's authority when they turned from worshipping Him to idolatry. They rebelled against God's government when they insisted on having a king like the pagan nations around them. And, worst of all, they rebelled when they rejected Jesus as their Messiah-King, instead demanding His death.

Rather than letting her rebellion create havoc within the kingdom, King Ahasuerus removed Vashti and sought a new queen. God cast Lucifer and his followers out of Heaven and created man to be His glory, instead. And Adam and Eve were thrust from the Garden of Eden.

Those who rebel against God's authority always forfeit blessing and favored standing to instead incur judgment. Submission and obedience to God open the door to privilege and great endowment. As we move on, the book of Esther will make this increasingly clear.