Submission and Obedience
Spirit Warfare

This Week

Esther: Steps in Spirit Warfare, Part 5

Preparation for a Pageant - 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 supervision and tutelage of their father. Wimbledon was their goal long before they reached it, and they prepared with winning in mind.

In a similar manner, the story of Esther the queen begins with a little Jewish girl named Hadassah. When her parents died, she was adopted by her older cousin, Mordecai, to be his own daughter, and he raised her with her future in mind.

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 be obedient. It is implied that Mordecai said exactly what he meant and was completely consistent and realistic in his expectations. Because Hadassah had no reason then to question what he meant, she knew obedience was her way to please him with perfect agreement between them.

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. Children need to be compliant to their parents to learn how to properly fear and worship God.

Surely Hadassah had temptations to overcome. We don't know how old she was when her parents died, but if she was aware of the tragedies at all, she had deep grief over her losses. According to testimonies of people who were adopted, they often felt like second-class citizens among siblings who were their parents' natural children. So Hadassah was tempted to become bitter or tied up in grief, but she overcame them with Mordecai's help and discipline.

We know that Mordecai was an attentive father from reading verse 11: "Every day Mordecai walked back and forth in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and how she fared." It's true we're getting ahead of the story by introducing this verse, but it shows the man's love and concern for his daughter, who by this time was a young adult. Certainly he did not exact submission from Hadassah by violence or force, but rather by intense love, a love that disciplined and molded his child for future goals, not just for the moment.

Mordecai and Esther were in a unique situation. Being Jewish exiles in a foreign country was difficult, because the Jews worshipped the one True God amid the rampant idolatry of the Persians. Perhaps Mordecai's household observed their Jewish practices and feasts privately, because in verse 10, we are told: "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, the Jews did not flaunt their Judaism.

In light of last week's article, a look at Hadassah's childhood reveals many parallels between her life and events in the parable of the Sower and the seed:

  • 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, believe and be adopted!
  • Left as 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 an 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.
  • 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 submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit by listening to and obeying Him and resisting temptations.
  • As she learned 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 in her obedience. 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 with things in life that they choke out our relationship with God and living for Him or we will not produce the fruits of maturity.
  • Even as Hadassah gained 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 enduring testings and trials with perseverance and faithfulness.

Thus far, we've seen that Hadassah was a beautiful young Jewish virgin from the city of Susa called to the king's harem to prepare herself as a candidate for the new queen. The story continues in the next article.