Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, but they were not robots. Endowed by the Creator with free will. They had the ability to make decisions independent of God.
Knowing His children would choose to disobey Him. He designed beforehand a plan of redemption— Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. God so loved us that He chose to pay the ransom. Ensuring the release of His children from satan’s dominion and authority!
But this ransom is conditional. It is dependent upon His children exercising their free will.
Exercising free will is not always easy or safe. Something Esther knew well. As a Jew married to a Babylonian king, Esther walked a tightrope daily.
Let there be…
These events took place during the days of Ahasuerus, who ruled 127 provinces from India to Cush. In those days King Ahasuerus reigned from his royal throne in the fortress at Susa.
He held a feast in the third year of his reign for all his officials and staff, the army of Persia and Media, the nobles and the officials from the provinces. He displayed the glorious wealth of his kingdom and the magnificent splendor of his greatness for a total of 180 days.
At the end of this time, the king held a week long banquet in the garden courtyard of the royal palace for all the people. From the greatest to the least, who were present in the fortress of Susa.
White and violet linen hangings were fastened with fine white and purple linen cords to silver rods on marble columns. Gold and silver couches were arranged on a mosaic pavement of red feldspar, marble, mother-of-pearl and precious stones.
Beverages were served in an array of gold goblets, each with a different design. Royal wine flowed freely, according to the king’s bounty and no restraint was placed on the drinking. The king had ordered every wine steward in his household to serve as much as each person wanted.
Queen Vashti also gave a feast for the women of King Ahasuerus’s palace.
On the seventh day when the king was feeling good from the wine. Ahasuerus commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who personally served him to bring Queen Vashti before him with her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and the officials because she was very beautiful.
But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command that was delivered by his eunuchs. The king became furious, and his anger burned within him. Esther 1:1-12
Although Scripture does not tell us what became of Queen Vashti, it is believed she was beheaded. King Ahasuerus was a ruthless ruler when dealing with anyone who defied his commands.
Once Ahasuerus’s wrath subsided, He sought counsel and was advised to issue the following decree.
Let the king appoint commissioners in each province of his kingdom. So that they may assemble all the beautiful young virgins to the harem at the fortress of Susa. Put them under the care of Hegai, the king’s eunuch who is in charge of the women and give them the required beauty treatments. Then the young woman who pleases the king will reign in place of Vashti. Esther 2:3-4
When the king’s command and edict became public knowledge. Many young women gathered at the fortress of Susa under Hegai’s care. Esther was also taken to the palace and placed under the care of Hegai who was in charge of the women.
Esther pleased him and gained his favor. So that he accelerated the process of the beauty treatments, and the special diet that she received. He assigned seven handpicked female servants to her from the palace and transferred her and her servants to the harem’s best quarters. Esther 2:8-9
When Esther’s turn came to go to the king. She did not ask for anything except what Hegai, the king’s trusted official in charge of the harem suggested. Esther won approval in the sight of everyone who saw her.
The king loved Esther more than all the other women. She won more favor and approval from him than did any of the other virgins. He placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in place of Vashti.
The king held a great banquet for all his officials and staff. It was Esther’s banquet. He freed his provinces from tax payments and gave gifts worthy of the king’s bounty. Esther 2:15 and 17-18
Esther, the nobody was now a somebody. As queen of the largest and most powerful kingdom in the world, Esther possessed authority. Authority she eventually used to save her people from annihilation.
Many today desire authority so they can command, enforce rules or give orders. But in the Kingdom of God authority is not defined by your ability to control others or the implementation of personal agendas. Spiritual authority is fruitful living and the defeat of demonic powers. This is only possible when divine power— the strength or force needed to rule, and divine authority— the right to do so co-exist.
Before petitioning the Lord to entrust you with divine authority, count the cost. Are you willing to?
Put your dreams and desires on the back burner?
Divert attention from yourself to the Lord?
Rely on the Word of God and not the wisdom of man?
Be actively involve in a community of believers who are pursuing the Lord with all their hearts?
Build a holy, righteous life that both contributes to and transforms the Culture?
Serve others without the promise of reward or recognition?
Step out into the unknown and trust the Lord to guide and protect you?
Even if you can only timidly whisper, “Yes.”
The Lord is more than willing to support and empower you during the preparatory process that precedes walking in divine authority. Like Esther’s preparation prior to her night with King Ahasuerus, you must be diligent, humble and patient.
Do not be dismayed or discouraged when the process takes longer or is more painful than you anticipated. Paradigms decreasing relational intimacy with Christ must be removed. By allowing the Lord’s desires to become your desires and His thoughts your thoughts. Like Esther you will hear truth. No matter who utters it.
Hegai, the custodian of the women was very familiar with the king’s preferences. Esther wisely submitted to his advice. Choosing jewelry and clothing that would please the king and insure a positive first impression.
Like Esther, we can adopt some of the customs of a culture without compromising the Word of God. But under no circumstances can the Word of God be compromised. God means what He says.
The Word of God, you see, is alive and moving. Sharper than a double edged sword. Piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow. Able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
Sadly, many Christians today no longer have a reverential fear of the Lord or His Word. No longer shouting from the mountaintops.
Great and amazing are Your works, Lord God, the all powerful. Right and true are Your ways, King of all nations.
Who will not fear You, Lord? Who will not glorify Your name?
Instead, many shout praises about themselves. They tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant! When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them. 2 Corinthians 10:12 and 18
But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the Truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship Him according to the truth. John 4:23-24
A truth Esther willingly embraced. Inscribing her name into the annals of biblical history.
More about that next week!
Be a VOICE shouting into the wilderness.
“CHRIST is returning!”