Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare
Esther 8:1-2; Ephesians 1:7-8, 13-14, 18-23; Colossians 1:26-27
Restoration! What a promising hope. So often people look back at their lives regretfully and say, "If only..." as they view broken relationships, wasted strength and opportunities, splurged finances and health---lost time, strength and years! To them God says, "...I will make up to you for the years..." Joel 2:25.
With Haman's death, Ahasuerus took immediate control of two things: His signet ring and Haman's estate, wealth undoubtedly accumulated in his ascent to becoming head prince of Persia.
What a picture of Jesus' victory!
- He reclaimed and took control of the keys of death and hell.
- As the Second Adam He took possession of the inheritance satan usurped from Adam and Eve through deception, an inheritance they would have kept through obedience.
Rather than giving that greatness to another of his princes, the king gave it to his queen, his bride. What made him change precedent? Why did he choose Esther rather than a Persian, why a woman rather than a man? We're not told exactly, but consider this historical perspective:
Prophecy Being Fulfilled
When Jerusalem was conquered in 586 B.C., surviving Jews were exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah instructed them to set up housekeeping and businesses to wait out 70 years of captivity. Yet, no matter how happy or content they were in Babylon, fervent Jews longed for the day of their release and restoration to their homeland.
Twenty-three years after Nebuchadnezzar's death, his grandson Belshazzar was acting king of the Babylonian realm. While the debauched Babylonians celebrated their gods at a drunken orgy, Cyrus and his Persian (Median) armies diverted the Euphrates River and came under the city wall on a dry river bed to conquer Babylon. Gods of stone were powerless before the Creator of Heaven and His purposes!
During the first year of Cyrus the Persian's victory, the prophet Daniel noted the 70 years of exile were concluded. He began fasting and praying for God to forgive the Jews and once more turn His favor toward Jerusalem. Soon after, God commanded Cyrus to begin rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem according to Isaiah's prophecy about him spoken before the exile.
By Cyrus' decree Jews could voluntarily return to Judah to accomplish the restoration. Those Jews who remained in the places of their exile were expected to underwrite the cost by contributing gold, silver and goods for building materials and workers' support.
All of this surely was written into the chronicles of Persia by Cyrus, who would have detailed his part in helping the Jews---and about their God, as well. (God recorded it in Ezra 1 and II Chronicles 36, also.) Eighteen years later, Darius I found the scroll on which Cyrus had written.
He enforced and added to the decrees of Cyrus to enable the Jews to complete the rebuilding process. Surely Ahasuerus knew this history; perhaps his staff read it to him the night he had insomnia!
Therefore, because of Persian history and precedent, Ahasuerus held the Jews in high esteem. No wonder he was so irate that Haman had tricked him into issuing an edict to kill all of them! How understandable that Ahasuerus gave Haman's accumulated wealth to Esther, his bride who had proven to be pure, trustworthy and loving to him and to her people.
Our Spiritual Inheritance
However, Esther represents the Bride of Christ in this account. What a picture this is of Jesus' giving an eternal inheritance to His bride. But who is she?
- Jesus' body.
- Believers in Him, both Jew and Gentile.
- Those who are born again by faith in His atoning death and resurrection life.
- Those who live holy lives and walk in His Spirit in submission and obedience to Him.
To His bride He has given riches stolen by the devil. But what are those riches and what do they look like?
While it is impossible here to unlock the complete treasury Jesus has given to His bride, several key passages in the New Testament provide that insight concisely:
- "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us."
- "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth...were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory"
- "...that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe...and He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." Ephesians 1:18-23
Affluent Western culture quantifies God's blessings according to achievement, wealth, status and substance; these cannot be the measure of our inheritance in Jesus. Otherwise, believers in extreme poverty and deprivation throughout much of this world, those suffering in prisons for the Gospel's sake, and the many more who are daily persecuted for worshipping and proclaiming Jesus would not qualify.
No, the riches of God are vastly different. Looking back at Eden, what is it that Adam and Eve forfeited because they sinned? Wasn't it their innocence, fellowship and oneness with God? They relinquished their hallowed meeting with Him in the cool of Eden's day! After they sinned, rather than enjoying intimacy with their magnificent Creator, the pair heard His voice and hid!
The estrangement between God and man has existed ever since, but Jesus gave Himself to reconcile us to God and establish intimacy with Him once more. Reconciliation means much more than using Jesus as a fire escape from hell or having Someone to come to only for handouts and blessing.
I'm always glad when Grandpa comes,
Because he brings a gift.
It might be candy, paints, a game,
Or car that's very swift.
When Gramps arrives, I run to him
And hug his neck around;
Then check his hands for what they hold,
And play with what I've found.
As Grandpa leaves, he calls to me;
I see him pause and wait;
I stop and wave, return to play
While sad, he shuts the gate.
Managing Spiritual Wealth
What Esther did with her new riches is a huge lesson concerning true heart holiness and Spirit warfare!
- She told Ahasuerus that Mordecai was her father.
The spiritual significance of this move is crucial. The king, ruler of the second great world power seen by Daniel, rewarded Esther with great wealth because she had proved to be called, chosen and faithful. Yet Esther did not assume personal esteem from her gain. Instead, she let Ahasuerus know her father Mordecai was the one responsible for guiding and developing her character.
Dear reader, no matter where we are in our spiritual walk, how many spiritual gifts or what authority we receive, all result because of scrupulous submission and obedience to the infilling Holy Spirit and His leadership. Lest we think we control power in prayer or in using the gifts He gives us, we must remember always that nothing we are or have has any other source than the King of kings. The power resides in Him as He indwells us.
Just before Jesus began His earthly ministry, He was anointed by or baptized in the Holy Spirit by God the Father. It was in the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus walked perfectly in His ministry, performed His miracles and endured the Cross. Before He ascended to Heaven after His death and resurrection, Jesus promised He would anoint us in the Holy Spirit with the same anointing He received!
Therefore, when we are called, when we meet the tests to be chosen, when we are found faithful and absolutely trustworthy as that perseverance is tested and found true, God gives us increasing authority in prayer and His kingdom. However, that authority is inherent in the indwelling Holy Spirit and our obedience to Him.
Jesus was careful to instruct His disciples, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you..." The gifts from His hand are not because of us or anything we did. They come because the Holy Spirit dwells in us in all His fullness when we die to ourselves through submission and obedience to Him.
Notice that as soon as Ahasuerus gave Esther the estate that belonged to Haman, she appreciatively let Ahasuerus know it was her father who was responsible for who and what she was. Just so, when God increases our authority in His kingdom, immediately and intentionally we honor the Holy Spirit, confessing Him before the Father as our Source, our Supply, and our Sufficiency. We take or keep no glory to ourself.
The Authority Transferred
Esther's introduction of her father to the king took Mordecai to another level:
- Ahasuerus gave his signet ring to Mordecai.
Because Esther honored her father, Mordecai received the authority to act in the king's name. Whereas Haman had used the ring for evil against God and His people, the transfer of authority and power to Mordecai enabled him to fulfill God's purposes to bless the kingdom, Jews and Gentiles alike.
At His death Jesus took back man's authority usurped by the devil in Eden. Jesus wants to bless this world in ways that will honor Him. When we put the blessings God gives us under the control of the Holy Spirit, He is released to enact that inherent authority when He indwells us and finds us faithful.
Wonderful things happen when we appear before God in His throne room and put all new blessings in His Spirit under the control of the Spirit, claiming nothing for ourselves.
When Esther watched Ahasuerus place his signet on Mordecai's finger, she saw the two men in her life form the "one new man" we discussed in Part 2--Jew and Gentile united as one! But she also had a new relationship with Mordecai. Not only was he her father, but now he was also her effector of intercession for their people and the kingdom of Persia. Through the rest of the account of Esther we shall see them working together.
One more benefit accrued from defeating Haman through prayer and fasting:
- Esther transferred the administration of Haman's wealth to Mordecai, as well.
The significance of her action is the theme of the next discussion.
Back to top