Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare
Reclaiming What The Enemy Stole - Esther 8:3-16
Once Esther's Jewishness was known to Ahasuerus, she could have become complacent, feeling personally safe. Yet, how opposite her reaction! So overwhelming was the burden for the welfare of her people who still lay under the threat of Haman's irrevocable edict, she was unmindful of the risk to her own life by appearing unsummoned before the king a second time!
Only the king could change the course of history, but only Esther's intercession could change the mind of the king.
Intercession is a word whose meaning is difficult to grasp, but impossible to imitate. Esther's desperateness for her people and the burden of her petition clearly illustrate the attitude and progression of its meaning.
- First, she had to come to the utter end of herself before she could intercede effectively for her people.
- Second, on their behalf she 'became' those for whom she interceded. These truths are lived out in Esther's two trips to King Ahasuerus.
Esther's First Intercession
Before she went to the king, Esther and the Jews fasted and prayed in total abstinence for three days and nights. Look at the outcomes:
The first time
- She trusted and believed God at a new level of obedience.
- She had great composure when she went before King Ahasuerus.
- She acted in great wisdom by convening two banquets for the king and Haman.
- King Ahasuerus received her graciously.
- He held out his scepter to her.
- He granted her desire by attending both banquets with Haman.
- He answered her petition by promising her up to one-half his kingdom.
- Haman, the enemy of the Jews, was hanged!!
The grave enemy of the Jews was overcome, just as satan, the enemy of our souls, was conquered head-on by Jesus when He suffered and died on the cross. Jesus became our Ultimate Intercessor on the tree. Even as Esther set aside three days and nights for prayer and fasting prior to her life/death approach to Ahasuerus' throne, Jesus was in the grave three days and nights, also. When He rose, He was conqueror and held the keys of death and hell!!
However, the edict of satan, sin, death and sickness continues to hold individuals, organizations, cities, nations and regions of the world captive and helpless. The Jews' lives still were in jeopardy after Haman's death, because his edict of death held them powerless. Esther had to intercede before Ahasuerus once again on behalf of her people to break the power of Haman's law.
Esther's Second Intercession
Intercession has degrees in depth. Esther's first appearance before the king occurred because Mordecai prodded her. She went out of duty as an obedient Jewess in her position as queen.
The second time
- The burden rose from within her spirit.
- Mordecai didn't have to tell her to go.
- Esther was not afraid, even if it meant her life.
- She did not observe protocol to make her petition, because her burden was so heavy.
- She was incredibly bold!
- Her petition was completely selfless.
- Her intercession saved her entire nation!
Even before the king could hold out his scepter to her, she had sobbed out her request to him. After the king formally received her, Esther rose to stand before him. Prior to outlining her request, she humbled herself even more by saying:
- If it pleases the king, and
- if I have found favor before him, and
- if the matter seems proper to the king and
- if I am pleasing in his sight...
Notice Esther's concern for the king---she wanted to please him and meet his approval. How like the intercessor who cares for the heart of God, His burdens and His desires. In spite of the transfer of wealth King Ahasuerus made from wicked Haman to Esther, her heart was set on the king and his purposes, not on her own status.
At her first appearance before him, Esther had shown no tears, for her own life was at stake along with the Jews and she was afraid. This time her heart broke in desperation as she pleaded with the king to revoke Haman's edict.
Nothing mattered to Esther except her people and their adversity. Our burden must be as great when we come to God in the stead of those for whom we pray. Their welfare and God's purpose for them is the consuming passion of the Holy Spirit who groans within us.
When the children of Israel worshipped the golden calf idol in the Wilderness, Moses went before the LORD to intercede for them. In Exodus 32:32 he cried out: "But now, if You will, forgive their sin--and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!"
Moses knew about God's book of Life and that his name was written in it. However, he was so burdened for God's glory to be manifested that he either wanted Him to forgive Israel and restore His people for His own glory's sake or else remove Moses' own name from the book in their stead. He 'became' the ransom for Israel! God forgave them.
In Romans 9:3 hear the Apostle Paul: "For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh..." Paul's desire for his own people to know the reality of Jesus-Messiah meant he would accept damnation himself if it could mean their salvation! That is intercession!
"One To Stand In The Gap"
God never violates anyone's will to save their soul. We must receive Him or give Him permission to come into our life or He will not do it. Bound by sin and blinded by the world-system, lost sinners cannot and will not come to God of their own accord. God seeks intercessors to come to Him in their stead and 'become' their permission, so He may penetrate their lives and hearts by His Holy Spirit!
Previously, we talked about the irrevocableness of Persian laws and edicts even by the king. Ahasuerus took action, nonetheless. He gave joint authority to Esther and Mordecai to write whatever they desired to the Jews and seal the letter with his signet ring, making their edict irrevocable, also.
Two months had transpired since Haman issued his orders for the Jewish pogrom. With Esther at his side, Mordecai dictated his counter-edict on June 23, 474 B.C. (what it would have been on the Gregorian calendar). Even so, it is the Holy Spirit Who frames the groanings, desires and burdens within us when we intercede before God as workers with Him.
Mordecai's edict and law stated that the Jews could:
- gather together--assembly;
- defend their lives;
- destroy, kill and annihilate the entire population, including women and children, of any people or province which might attack them; and
- plunder their wealth--all to be done on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of that same year.
How much that sounds like the law of Spirit warfare outlined in Ephesians 6 and II Corinthians 10! We are to:
- stand, singly and as the Body of Christ;
- defend the Kingdom of God, being ready for war in complete battle gear;
- stand steadfastly against the enemy of our souls;
- destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God; and
- take every thought captive into obedience to Christ.
In The Spirit
It's a battle not fought in the flesh, but in oneness with the Spirit by the Spirit. It's fought with weapons according to God's power, not our own cleverness. We fight in the Person and power of the Holy Spirit to destroy demonic fortresses, speculations and plans of the enemy developed against God's kingdom through individuals and nations. The battle ground is the mind and fought against thoughts, imaginations and spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies where satan rules.
When Jews throughout the kingdom received the new edict, they gained incredible relief: immediate light and gladness, joy and honor, and celebrated with feasting and gaiety--because of Mordecai and Esther! Instantly their night turned to day. Though their battle still lay ahead, their freedom began that moment.
Out of fear because the Jews had so much authority, many people of the provinces renounced their pagan gods and became Jews, too. A great end-time revival is coming! Just as the Jewish-Gentile law of Mordecai-Ahasuerus liberated the Jews and won converts among the Gentiles of the Persian kingdom, intercession plus the uniting of Jew and Gentile in the "one new man" (Ephesians 2:15) is ushering in the move of God that will sweep the world in this present generation!
Chapter 8 of Esther concludes with a glorious picture of Mordecai leaving the throne room wearing royal robes of blue and white with a large crown of gold on his head and a garment of fine linen and purple. In earthly terms, he was dressed regally, wearing authority and power. His standing with the king was clear to all who saw him!! They were 'one!' Jew and Gentile were united in 'one new man.'
Intercession elevates the Holy Spirit to His rightful place as Administrator of God's Kingdom in this present age. He is honored and free to work when believers walk and pray in submission and obedience to Him. He is worthy to receive all authority as believers put every gift and the authority God gives us beneath the control of the Holy Spirit.
While it's true we must become intercessors when we appear before God, we also must live intercessory lives. More about that in the concluding articles of this series.
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