Submission and Obedience

Part 21

Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare

Having Done All, Stand - Esther 8:17 - 9:10

The Outcome of Prayer and Fasting

With the issuing of Mordecai's edict, the Jews had ten months in which to prepare to defend themselves. Ever since Haman had issued his infamous edict two months prior, many Gentiles in the kingdom developed a hatred for the Jews. Though writers claim the Jews were so assimilated into the Persian culture they were indistingishable, that is doubtful. People of the provinces knew exactly who the Jews were and whom they would murder and plunder. It was too much like the reaction of many Europeans to Hitler's propaganda about Aryanism and his degradation to less-than-human status of the Jews. Yes, the Europen Jews were businessmen and professionals in their nations, but they still practiced their Hebrew traditions faithfully. Identifyng and murdering Jews became all too easy! 'The Solution' was demonic and so was Haman's plot!

Undoubtedly, the Jews' enemies did not keep their animosity a secret, so the Jews already knew who they were. However, after Mordecai issued his law to all the provinces and peoples over the king's signature, fear of the Jews fell on the people. Not wanting to die, many had a change of heart and converted to Judaism and the worship of God!!

When March 13, 474 BC arrived, those who once planned to gain mastery over the Jews were overwhelmed by them instead. Not only was the Jews' physical force a deterrent to their enemies, but more importantly God put a supernataural dread of them on the people. Even the rulers, princes and leaders in government went to the Jews' aid---because they were afraid of Mordecai!! He commanded more power and authority than any of them could match.

Even then, the Jews had enemies who attacked them on the appointed day. Those they killed and destroyed. Although the king's edict said they could take their enemies' possessions as booty, the Jews did not plunder them. Throughout the kingdom of Persia, the Jews wiped out 75,000 who hated them, but kept none of their wealth.

In the capital city of Susa, the Jews killed 500 men including the ten sons of Haman. When the king heard it, he asked Esther if she had a further request. Her answer was two-fold:

Wow! Does that mean capital cities polarize their inhabitants more than the rest of the nation?

King Ahasuerus issued the word and the following day, March 14, the Jews in Susa killed 300 more men without taking any of their belongings. To hallmark the victory God had over satan's scheme, Haman's dead sons hung from the gallows their father had built.

How differently the Jews in Susa reacted to the children of Amalek. Hundreds of years earlier, King Saul refused to wipe out all Amalekites, so his progeny in Persia had to finish the work for him. And they displayed their handiwork on a gallows for all the world to see and fear!

Jesus' death on the cross hung the devil out to dry, too. His victory over death and hell was confirmed in His resurrection and ascension to Heaven. And, because Jesus conquered our enemies, the Father sent believers His Holy Spirit, so that we may countermand the curses of the devil and his imps in this present age. That is our authority and our responsibility!

Intercessory Living

Even as Haman's death conferred great authority and power on Esther and Mordecai, Jesus' victory over satan and his kingdom gives members of His Body the authority to war against satan's devices. Intercession in prayer is our weapon against the enemy.

So, how does intercessory praying translate into intercessory living? When we are in agreement with His Spirit about the needs of people for whom we intercede, we give our life for them, so to speak. Shouldn't we die for others when we're out of the prayer closet, as well? What does that look like?

"Therefore in all things whatever you would that men should do to you you do even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets" (Matthew 7:12). Even as God gives us good things when we ask Him, in such measure we ought to give to others in day-to-day living. That giving is not confined to material goods. Often it expresses itself in our time, energy, strength, and interest expended on behalf of others as Jesus reaches out to them.

Paul said of himself, "I die daily." (I Corinthians 15:31). Read his own testimony sprinkled throughout his epistles and see how he put himself last or died to his own wishes for the sake of those to whom he gave the Gospel. Jesus called it death. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:24-25)

"What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and doesn't have works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled;' notwithstanding you give them none of those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit?" (James 2:14-16) When we intercede for the needs of others before God, we also must become a provision for that prayer's answer when we can. We are a living sacrifice for those around us.

From a prison cell, Paul voiced it another way: "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who...made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant...He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:3-8). In Jesus' case His humility toward God took Him to the cross for us.

Esther is a prime example of living intercession:

Quite possibly, she had no children (Ahasuerus had four by a former wife), which, for a Jewess, was untenable. By her purity and goodness, she probably won her Gentile husband to Judaism and the worship of the One true God. God's expectation for the Jews to evangelize the Gentiles is something they traditionally failed to do for centuries.

So then, a life of intercession is death to all except the Holy Spirit and where He takes us. That's where Esther dwelled. As a result, Mordecai's reputation spread throughout the kingdom, and his power increased accordingly. When we live there, too, the Holy Spirit has full reign and accomplishes the purposes of God. How pleased He is!

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