Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare
Preparation For A Future - Esther 2:7, 10, 20
Serena and Venus Williams did not become tennis stars overnight. Their training began when they were young girls under the tutelage of their father. Wimbledon was their goal long before they reached it, and they prepared to win.
In a similar manner, the story of Esther the queen begins with a little Jewish orphan girl named Hadassah. When her parents died, she was adopted to be his own daughter by her older cousin, Mordecai. He raised her with her destiny in mind.
Disciplined By The Spirit
We learn much about how Hadassah was raised from verse 20:"...for Esther did what Mordecai told her as she had done when under his care." In other words, as a child growing up, Hadassah learned to obey Mordecai.
Esther's willingness to obey implies that Mordecai was consistent and reasonable in his expectations. He gave Hadassah no reason to question his authority and she found obedience pleased him and it deepened their love relationship.
Mordecai taught her to submit to him as her father. Though the Bible doesn't say so, Hadassah must have learned to be submissive and obedient to God, as a result. To properly learn to fear and worship God, children need to be compliant to their parents. Rebellion is an awful thing!
Surely Hadassah had temptations to overcome. We don't know how old she was when her parents died, but if she was aware of those events at all, she suffered deep grief from her loss...or might even have felt sorry for herself.
According to testimonies of people who were adopted, they have often felt like second-class citizens among siblings who were their parents' natural children. Surely Hadassah could have been tempted to become bitter or tied up in grief or self-centeredness, but she overcame them with Mordecai's help and discipline. And, as she allowed Mordecai to direct and mold her life, submission and obedience became her character, her way of life and fabric of her being.
From verse 11 we know Mordecai was an attentive father: "Every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and how she fared." We're getting ahead of the story by introducing this verse, but it shows his love and concern for Hadassah, who by this time was a young woman. Certainly he did not exact submission from her through violence or force. Instead, his intense love disciplined and molded his daughter not just for the moment, but for her future.
In The World But Not Of It
Mordecai and Esther were in a unique situation. Being Jewish exiles in a foreign country was difficult, because Jews worshipped God amid the rampant idolatry of the Persians. Perhaps Mordecai's household practiced their Jewish observances privately, because verse 10 tells us: "Esther did not make known her people or her kindred, for Mordecai had instructed her that she should not make them known." In other words, these Jews were not open about their Jewishness.
In light of the previous article, a look at Hadassah's childhood reveals many parallels between her life and events in the Sower and the Seed:
- Left an orphan, Hadassah was called by Mordecai to be adopted into his family. We, too, have been left orphans by sin (the devil has no family, and hell will be a lonely, unimaginable place of suffering with no comforters!), but God adopts us into His family through the call of the Holy Spirit and our obedient response.
- Hadassah was adopted by a relative, her cousin. So that He could bring us into God's family as His siblings, Jesus became our Elder Brother and gave His life for our redemption, then sows the seed of the Gospel so we can hear and be adopted!
- While growing up, Hadassah had to resist and fight temptations as she learned to be submissive to Mordecai, her adoptive father. As God's children, we also learn how to resist temptations through submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit.
- Through obedience to the call and disciplines of Mordecai, Hadassah learned the depths of his great love for her, but she did not take that love for granted and grow careless. We, too, learn the greatness of God's love for us only as we obey the Holy Spirit in ALL things and submit to His disciplines and tests. Yet, we can never get so involved or overwhelmed by the 'stuff' of life that we grow careless in our seeking of God and living for Him or it will choke out our first love for Him!
- Even as Hadassah had the full privileges of family in Mordecai's household, so, too, we who love the Trinity are co-inheritors with Jesus of all that is God's. We are not second-rate step-children in God's eyes! But we come into the fullness of our inheritance through perseverance and faithfulness.
So we've seen that Hadassah learned submission and obedience after she was adopted into Mordecai's family. In much the same way, when we are truly adopted into God's family, we are led and disciplined by the Holy Spirit to obey Him as He corrects and changes us more and more into the likeness of Jesus.
Next time we'll follow Hadassah as she moved into the harem where she became known as Esther.
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