Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare
Even Demons Believe And Shudder - Esther 7:6b-10
A Quick Review
Our journey through the story of Esther has followed this devout young Jewish woman from:
- her childhood in pagan Persia to
- the virgins harem of King Ahasuerus to
- the palace as his wife and queen.
Obedient to her step-father/cousin, Mordecai, Esther told no one, not even the king, that she was Jewish. In spite of keeping her secret, Esther continued to worship God among the Persians and their many gods.
Now we find her at a banquet table in the palace where she has hosted a meal for her husband and Haman, his chief counselor and next-in-command. Because Mordecai the Jew would not bow to him, Haman hated him and cunningly deceived the king into agreeing to wipe out ALL Jews in the Persian empire! Then Haman used the king's signet ring to:
- officially endorse copies of an edict distributed on April 13, 474 BC (the first month of the Hebrew calendar)
- set the date of the Jews' massacre for March 13, 474 BC (the last month of the Hebrew calendar).
throughout the 127 provinces under Ahasuerus' rule, and to
Only when this death sentence rested on the Jews' heads did Mordecai tell Esther she would have to disclose her Jewishness to the king. God had thus positioned her to intercede for them and her own life.
After totally fasting for three days and nights, Esther broke royal protocol by approaching the king's throne without first being summoned. Because Ahasuerus loved her, she gained his favor and he asked her request. That's when she invited the king and Haman to attend the first of two banquets she hosted for them. At the second one, toward the end of the meal, she exposed Haman's evil plot.
Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out!
The story continues with Haman, King Ahasuerus, and Esther still at the table. Esther has just exclaimed, "A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!"
The apostle James wrote, "You believe that God is One. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." Haman shuddered!
- He had not known Esther was Jewish until that moment.
- The king was visibly angry due to Haman's utter betrayal of his trust.
- Haman knew (as did the devil that indwelt him) that the Jews worshipped the living God.
- His flawless scheme was exposed.
- Esther held his life in her hands.
Enraged, the king stormed out to the palace garden to strategize. Overwhelmed by the gravity of his situation, Haman remained with Esther to beg for his life, hoping she would intercede with the king for him.
Perhaps Haman left the couch where he reclined at the table so he could kneel before Esther's to beg for mercy. Because he trembled from fear, he may have stumbled and fallen.
God's word doesn't give us specifics, but it says Haman was sprawled across Esther's couch as the king came in from the garden. To Ahasuerus, it looked like a case of attempted rape!
At the king's command, servants rushed to take Haman prisoner, covering his face. Harbonah, a eunuch under Haman's authority, already knew the gallows were built. Loyalty to Haman thinned as he told Ahasuerus about the tower.
During his 'reign' as Ahasuerus' right-hand man, Haman probably kept himself aloof from the courtiers under his authority. Secure as long as he brown-nosed Ahasuerus, now he was stranded without a friend to plead for him.
"Hang him on the gallows!" Ahasuerus roared. So the men dragged Haman to his own house and, before his family and counselors, hanged him on the frame he had constructed for Mordecai. Met by Divine retribution, he had exhausted his opportunities to turn to God and sealed his fate!
Hell Is Forever!
Hell is an awful place. In her book, A Divine Revelation of Hell, Mary Baxter describes what she saw when Jesus took her to hell on 30 successive nights. Those in hell suffer endless torments meted out by the devil and his demons.
No friendships or card parties in hell! Unending darkness, flames and heat, putrid odors, horrific, repetitive suffering, pain, crying and loneliness fill the atmosphere. And memories of all the times Jesus tried to warn them haunt hell's inhabitants forever!
Though satan disguises himself as an angel of light and as the way to status on earth for those who bow to him, his victims in hell find out what he really is! He's evil through and through, enjoying and gaining strength from the pain of his torture on his victims there!
Surely as he suffers eternally, Haman remembers those times God tried to get his attention through Mordecai and Esther. But he gambled with the devil, who left him a pauper and victim--forever!
To prevent individuals from spending eternity in hell, God established a blood line through the Jews from whom would come the Messiah. And it's against Yeshua Jesus that the devil has waged war ever since to prevent His prophecied fulfillment.
The Conduct Of Spirit Warfare
Oswald Chambers says the natural should be transformed to the spiritual through obedience. Submission and obedience brought Esther into the place where God could continue fulfilling His purpose of redeeming the human race through His coming Lamb. Only after He proved Esther was a vessel called, chosen and faithful, did Haman suddenly appear on the scene. Only then was Esther prepared to engage in Spirit warfare with the devil personified in Haman. Of that warfare the Apostle Paul wrote:
- "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
-Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
-Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
-Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
-And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
-For though we walk in the flesh (the natural), we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (Ephesians 6:10-17).
Miraculously, God ordered the events of
- Esther's two banquets,
- Ahasuerus' sleepless night,
- Mordecai's belated recognition for preventing Ahasuerus' murder,
- Haman's early arrival at court so he was the one who led Mordecai through the city square,
- Esther's gracious exposure of Haman's plot, and
- Haman's death.
No human could take any praise or credit for 'pulling it off.' It was the Holy Spirit who "worked all things together..."
God's enabling resided in the atmosphere of fasting and prayer rising from the Jews in Susa and the palace. What supernatural possibilities they invoked because of their earnestness and self-denial. That same empowering is ours today if we hungrily and obediently seize the opportunity! Man does not live by bread alone!
The story does not end here. While Esther's encounter with Haman and the king at her table represents our stand against the enemy before the throne of God, there also was territory stolen by the devil that had to be restored to the Jews. That's what we'll look at in the next article.
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