Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare
Called According To His Purpose - Esther 3:7a; Romans 8:28
Last time Haman, the Agagite, a descendent of an age-old enemy of the Jews, made an abrupt entry onto the stage. In his rage over Mordecai's insubordination to him, Haman was determined to exterminate not just that one Jew, but all the Jews throughout the Persian empire. He had not yet expressed his desire to anyone officially, but already the seeds of hate were growing a plan.
Yet, before continuing to reveal the diabolical scheme of the enemy, God quietly inserted into the narrative: "In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus..."
At first glance, how easy to pass over those words. Listen to them! Let them shout into your spirit! Had Haman been tuned to hear, they would have filled him with abject fear. Hear the Glory of the Ages proclaim His absolute dominion over the affairs of men as He chronicled the years of King Ahasuerus:
- Vashti rebelled in the third year of his reign,
- Esther became his new queen in the seventh year, and now
- Haman was elevated in the twelfth year.
For nine years God had been preparing the whole realm for the moment Haman began his devilish move. Haman's anger, his hatred, and his resulting plot were no shock to God. He had readied everything to carefully and totally manage them.
Parenthetically, may the writer interject something about organizational management? For years, corporate leaders and business owners taking management training programs were taught various theories and skills about people management. Year after year instructors revamped their curricula with new and higher-powered methods after the old ones were dumped in obsolescence.
Finally, management theorists realized that real managers do not manage people. Instead, they create or manage the environment in which their employees work, so the employees can more effectively meet the expected and desired outcomes of the organization's top executives. They should have read the book of Esther a lot sooner!
Dilemma or Development?
Five years had intervened since Esther moved to the palace. For her they had been long years. Being an observant Jew, she maintained her worship of God while obediently keeping her ethnicity and religion a secret from the pagan staff and even her own husband. Not easy! In fact, it was difficult!
At first she must have wondered if she could do it one more day. It took all her energy and deliberate concentration to live with grace and faithfulness both toward the people with whom she lived and before God, whom she worshipped. Her life among the Persians was akin to how Jesus typified the life of His followers:...in the world, but not of it.
That was Esther's life in the palace. Nothing valorous. Nothing noteworthy or distinctive. Simply, day to day faithfulness where God had put her. It certainly was not the sort of life an observant Jewess expected or would have thought was blessable by God. It absolutely was not the type of separation from the world many believers imagine is essential to pleasing God. Yet, it was He who had put her there! At least she hoped it was His doing. She believed it was. As far as she knew, it was. So, she was faithful in what she knew. She was obedient.
Observers would have said Esther was treading water...or marking time...or maybe wasting it. That is the world's way of looking at God's work. They see only the visible. But God is in control of time.
Even we question: Wasn't Esther chosen? From her new vantage point, shouldn't she have been doing great and marvelous things for God? Isn't that what being chosen is all about? Promotion? The pinnacle?
Believer, raise your sights! God tells us not to be conformed to the world. Our thinking and mind must be transformed by the mercies of God, so we can discern His good and perfect will in all His administration or, at best, trust God until His will is completely revealed. That's what faith is all about!
Thus, while Esther may have wondered why God put her in the palace as wife and queen to a pagan king among pagan courtiers, God was carrying out His purposes at a supernatural level unseen except through hindsight and revelation. Satan, who energized the hatred in Haman's heart, did not know what God was doing nor did Mordecai or Esther. But God was poised and ready and working. He was managing the environment for His employees, His people.
During those five years Esther moved to a new level in her walk with God.
- She learned not to fret.
- She learned that doing God's will is not to have suddenly or heroically arrived by performing some great work or deed for which God elevated her.
- She learned that chosen is to live each day as NOW, for that is where God's will is for that day.
- She learned to be true to God in seemingly unfavorable circumstances.
- She learned like the apostle Paul to be content wherever God put her.
Romans 8:28 emphasizes God's purposes or His corporate goals when it says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
In her place of being called and chosen, God had positioned Esther for His purposes. Now He was preparing her to instrumentally carry them out for greater outcomes than she ever dreamed would be possible.
Esther's life is a canvas on which God shows us that He is at work in our circumstances long before they happen. When a sudden dilemma or crisis hits us, God has already positioned persons and events that will be His resolution to the problem. He is the Perfect Manager. Our continuing complete obedience within that secure environment is the secret to being in productive agreement and fellowship with God's corporate purposes.
No matter what you face this moment, take great hope and faith in this:
- God is already there and He is your answer.
- Rest in His 'already provision' for your need.
- Walk in obedience NOW and always.
- Believe Him.
Daily, God meets you where He is and brings you to His level! Rejoice in Him! You serve the greatest manager in the universe!
And, just as Esther did those five years, we live with THE King! Grow in your love for Him as He pours out His love on you! You are living in His presence.
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