Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare
Chosen! - Esther 2:17-18
Empty handed, Esther crossed the courtyard from the harem to the palace, winning the admiration of onlookers and the king's courtiers alike. Without pretense or duplicity, she was thoroughly beautiful, something they had come to see during her months of preparation among them. Yet, she had never looked so lovely as she did that afternoon, her special day.
Ahasuerus and Esther must have met in the late afternoon or early evening, whenever the king's official day ended. Possibly they withdrew to his private dining room to share an evening meal before retiring to the king's bedchamber.
If that was so, none of Esther's conversation drew attention to herself, only to him--his interests, his preferences, his desires and future. Carefully, but indiscernibly, she avoided discussion about her origins and family by guiding their discussion to topics that interested this great ruler. In all she said and did, Esther was genuine, and Ahasuerus discerned her humility and strength.
We're not told whether Esther went back to the harem of the concubines the next morning or if the king was so decisive she remained at the palace from then on. But we do know about their encounter: "...the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti."Esther was chosen!!
A Step Back
God's word is supernaturally circumspect in the ordering of events, what it tells and what it omits of details, and where in the narrative they are placed. For God uses everything to convey His heart and His message to the seeker.
Step back now from where we are in Chapter 2 of Esther and notice all that God has included in Esther's story thus far---and what He omitted or saved for a later point in the book. Little did Mordecai or Esther imagine that their life stories would be recorded and passed down to all subsequent generations as lessons from God for us to follow.
We say, "Can it be that God is doing the same thing with my life?" Oh, yes, He is! But on which side of the ledger will my story fall? On the side of revealing His goodness and providence, or as one where His goodness failed to make a difference because of my wrong choosing and deliberate counter offensive?
It is up to you and me to choose, for when God created us, He made us in His image or nature and also gave us a free will, revoking neither after the pair sinned in the Garden. Jesus, the Perfect Man, had to die in our stead to atone for what our sin-contamination could not become, otherwise, but we still must make the decision to submit our will to Him and obey His Word.
Continuing now in the story of Esther, the detail God gives us is simply: "...the king loved Esther more than all the women..." That is what mattered. The other details don't, not for God's purposes for us, anyway. Ahasuerus had found his queen!
Yet, the question arises: Why did King Ahasuerus choose Esther above all the other virgins?"
The answer may be found in Psalm 45:10-15:
- Verse 10 calls for her obedience one more time, this time to show Esther how to win his favor. "Forget your people and your father's house."
- When Esther took her turn to go into the king's presence, she took only what Hegai told her to take. Recall that she had told no one her true roots and identity. When she entered the king's chamber that night, she carried only what pleased him. He did not care about her nationality nor the history and inheritance of the Jews. He was selecting a new queen who would care only about him and his authority.
- Verse 11 says, "Then the King will desire your beauty. Because he is your lord, bow down to him."
- Was there so much underlying resentment to subservience in the other girls' hearts that they brought it with them during their night with the king? Were they too proud of their heritage to give themselves over completely to the heart of the King who was their foreign Conqueror? Esther must have bowed. She must have been humble, sincerely so, in all her composure and demeanor that night, for to the king, that made her beautiful in his sight!
- Ahasuerus chose Esther, a Jewess (unbeknown to him), to rule over a realm of mixed nations...gentiles. When she finally was forced to reveal her blood line, it mattered little Ahasuerus. She was his Queen!
Ahasuerus loved this young woman who came to him humbly, sweetly, and truly submissive in her strength of character. What a rare combination of loveliness! Truly, Ahasuerus had NEVER known a woman like Esther. She captivated his attention and his heart, and safely allowed hidden, closed and protected recesses of his inmost being to open unguarded to her, for Esther would not exploit them, only protect and revere him the more.
Esther had learned to honor and love Ahasuerus with such abandon through her love for Mordecai. At the natural level, a father's relationship with his daughter sets the stage for her own courtship and marriage to her husband. On a spiritual plane, the Holy Spirit teaches us to love Him and how to love Him rightly with humility and honor, so that when He brings us to the Father in the secret place, God is safe to reveal Himself to us openly and ardently.
Primary and most important was Mordecai's love for Esther. Had he not loved her in her orphaned state, had he not had such integrity that he could not and would not abandon his own flesh and blood, had Mordecai not resolved to love Esther as his own, she could never have learned to love him or anyone else so purely and properly.
God's word tells us that we love Him, because HE FIRST LOVED US. It is God who initiated the plan of salvation, because His infinite character demanded, required and desired it. His beneficent love for us was not and is not dependent on us for anything.
Long before we knew or recognized Him for who He is, God provided everything for us in all spheres of life and existence for now and forever, much as Ahasuerus provided for his kingdom's subjects. He brings all things to bear on our lives in such a way that they point us to Him, if only we hear and listen to the still, small Voice.
What we discover if we follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit in submission and obedience is the ultimate meeting in the secret place with the One for Whom our spirit cried long before we recognized Him!! And He utterly satisfies every yearning with Himself, Himself alone. Not with His benefits nor His gifts, but with Himself. In the secret place, His banner over us is love, He declares, "I have chosen you!" and He places the crown of life on our head.
Publicly, King Ahasuerus was elated. First, he gave another banquet, this time in honor of Queen Esther, to which he invited all his princes and servants. For the rest of the realm he declared an official holiday in Esther's honor, and everyone received gifts, perhaps something as welcome as a tax break!
And, yes! Esther's ascent to the throne did make a difference, not just in the palace but across the entire domain. Her 'rightness' influenced everyone.
Do not believe that when you come into agreement and intimate oneness with God, it is just between you and Him. It is, in a personal respect. But it also blesses the righteous Body of Christ and shakes the kingdom of darkness, for God's will and His kingdom are being promoted and His honor upheld and exalted! For God's sake, His alone, seek Him!!
There's much more to the story, so it shall continue in the next installments!
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