Disowning The Enemy
By Johnny Tatum
The purpose of studying Esther 7-10 is to understand that Holy Spirit has power in our lives when we just turn our will toward Him.
PART 1: TURNING POINT
The book of Esther is an allegory and the characters are symbols as follows:
Everything appears to be perfect. The king has total authority; his will determines everything that happens.
Picture:That is the way our life is designed to be in Messiah Jesus:
However, everything is not perfect; there is a villain—
STORY OF THE INTERACTION
Story:The king is in authority. There is no obligation placed on him and he is free to do what he wants. However, trying to influence him are Mordecai [indirectly, through Esther] and Haman.
Picture:In our lives, our will is being persuaded by Holy Spirit [who indirectly communicates to us through our new spirit] and by our flesh.
Story:In the beginning of the book, Haman (the prime minister) is in charge.
Picture:By default, our flesh is in charge.
Story:Everyone bows down to Haman except for Mordecai, and that is what eats at (strongly upsets) Haman. The whole world could bow down to Haman, but he cannot stand it (cope with the fact) that Mordecai does not.
Picture:Holy Spirit will never bow down to the flesh, and that enrages the flesh.
Story:Haman vows to get rid of Mordecai, so he goes to the king. Haman does not say Let us kill Mordecai, because that would be too brazen. Instead, he goes for a peripheral issue — he aims at Mordecai's people (the Jews). Haman tells the king Those people follow a different law than we do, and they do not fit in. For your benefit, we need to get rid of them. In fact, I will give you some money.
Picture:The flesh will never say Let us kill Holy Spirit, because that would be crass. The flesh wants to look religious, so he would never say that he wants to get rid of Holy Spirit.
Story:The king buys it (accepts it as true), and he gives an order to kill all the Jews. It is the Law of the Medes and Persians, which means the Law cannot be revoked — the Law produces death.
Picture:God's Law — the Law of Sin and Death — produces death.
Story: This Law goes out to all the empire. When that happens, Mordecai grieves.
Picture:We do not grieve Holy Spirit by brazen sin, but by doing things we think are good and that are in our self-interest. Really, they may not be.
Story:Mordecai knows what is going on and he has to get that information to Esther. He uses a messenger, named the truth; Mordecai sends the truth to Esther.
Picture:Holy Spirit knows everything that is going on, because He is omniscient (all knowing) and He is God. Holy Spirit communicates information — the truth — to our spirit. Holy Spirit has given us a great radar system that warns us if we are doing something that appears to be in our own self-interest that we think is good, but it may backfire (produce an undesirable result).
Story:In Esther 4, we learn the reaction of the Jews. Understandably, they go into extreme grief because they are going to die.
Picture:The Law of Sin and Death goes out to the whole world. God has a standard of perfection. For individuals who do not attain a [100 percent] sin free life, they are going to die. This includes everyone who has ever lived.
Application:Most people are not even convinced that they are sinners. Those who are convinced know that there is no way out for them, and know, in the depth of their hearts, they need a Redeemer (Savior).
Do you recognize that you are a sinner and that you cannot meet God's standard of perfection? Do you know in the depth of your heart that there is no way out for you to be redeemed apart from our Savior (the Person of Messiah Jesus) who knew no sin but who paid the ultimate price (death) for you? Do you long to live according to the Law of Life (Law of Liberty) rather than under the Law of Sin and Death? Then simply acknowledge in prayer to the Lord God—
I confess I am a sinner and I deserve to go to hell because of my sins. But I believe that when Messiah Jesus died on the Cross, He was paying the penalty for my sin. And when Messiah Jesus arose from the dead again, He rose to give me eternal life.
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For since we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:4-7)
Story:Now, Esther knows the truth — Haman is the enemy.
Picture:The truth that Holy Spirit is telling our spirit could be something specific we are doing in our own self-interest that is going to backfire. More likely, it is just that our lives are characterized by self-interest first, which is going to backfire.
Story:The information has to get to the king.
Picture:The information has to go from our spirit to our will, our mind.
Application:For biblical believers, our spirit does not have to be persuaded because it is always in tune. I have heard people say God, please settle my spirit. Our spirit does not need to be settled because our spirit is perfect.
Scripture:In Romans 7, Paul says that In my spirit, I am in tune with the Law. I have no problem with my spirit; the problem is with my flesh.
Story:Esther goes to the king because he has to know the truth. The king asks What do you desire? Name whatever you want up to half.
Picture:We do not have to be totally surrendered over for Holy Spirit to work in our lives; in fact, we cannot totally surrender all. The comforting thing is: if we just turn our will toward Him, that is enough.
Story:Esther's request How about dinner tomorrow with you, Haman and I? is something amazing, because she risked death for that.
My Request:I would have said Kill Haman, kill everybody who knows him, and kill everybody who can spell his name -sic!
Story:They have a second banquet and the king says You name your request. I am totally given over to you, so you name whatever you want and it is yours, up to half. Esther gives him an answer that on the surface does not seem remarkable, but it is.
YHWH IN THE BACKGROUND
Throughout the book of Esther, the name of GOD — Hebrew, YHWH (Yahweh) — never appears, though He is clearly in the background of every chapter; through acrostics we clearly see Him in the Hebrew text. An acrostic is a series of words in which the first letter in each word, when read in sequence, forms a name — in this case, YHWH.
We know this is not random selection, because acrostics work only at the beginnings of words. In the Hebrew text of the book of Esther, you will find the name YHWH in an acrostic in every critical verse, which is a signal to us that GOD is really there. He is not in the foreground, but He is directing everything from behind the scene. This is why there was never any question that the book of Esther belonged in the canon (Scriptures).
For example, in Hebrew we find an acrostic in Esther 5:4. The English text reads:
Esther said, "If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him?" (Esther 5:4)
In Hebrew, you read from right to left, and from top to bottom. Reading this text in Hebrew, you see the following acrostic:
Hebrew word for –
Begins With The Hebrew Letter (transliteration to English) –
This acrostic forms YHWH, the name for God.
Interestingly enough, YHWH appears just at the time when Esther is planning this banquet with the king and Haman, because it is the turning point of the whole book. She made this dumb-sounding request after the king says Name what you want, up to half and Esther responds How about lunch? GOD was doing that — YHWH is behind it all. All this is true for every critical juncture in this book.
Note:The Jews may have forgotten how to pronounce YHWH. After several hundred years, the Jews did not speak Hebrew anymore; they spoke Aramaic, which they picked up when they were exiled to Babylon. Later on, when they relearned Hebrew, the Jews had forgotten how to pronounce many of the Hebrew words, because the vowels were not written in the Hebrew text. For the name YHWH, they substituted the same vowels for the name Adonai, meaning Lord, and pronounced YHWH as Yahweh. Unless it coincidentally has the same vowels in the word Adonai, YHWH is probably pronounced with short vowels because God wants us to emphasize the breathing. Why? Because YHWH really means I Breathe — GOD Breathes. So every time the Jews said YHWH, they breathed the whole way through His name.
Story:Haman hears that he is invited for lunch with the king and queen, and he goes home thrilled.
Picture:The flesh loves to be exalted.
Story:Though Haman tells his family all of this good news, he cannot enjoy it. Why not? Because on his way home, Haman sees Mordecai sitting at the city gate, and Mordecai does not bow down to Haman. All of that praise and adulation, which Haman receives from everyone else on his way home, means nothing to him now. So he devises a plan I know what I will do. I will build a gallows 75 feet high. [Literally, it is over kill to put an individual up 75 feet high -sic!] And I will go tell the king to hang Mordecai.
However, that night the king cannot sleep, so he calls for the chronicles of the kingdom to be read.
YHWH IN THE BACKGROUND
Another verse where the name YHWH (GOD) appears as an acrostic (the front letter of successive words):
During that night the king could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. (Esther 6:1)
You can find YHWH in all kinds of words in the Old Testament. In both the Hebrew and the Greek Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible), you will see this pattern. Interestingly enough, in the Septuagint, every fifth letter spells CURIOS, the Greek word for Lord.
YHWH is behind it; you cannot miss Him.
Application:GOD is behind this; He is not letting the king sleep. The king calls for the chronicles of his kingdom to be read. This is another reason we know that God was behind the scenes: who would call for something like that for their bedtime reading materials?
Story:As the king hears the chronicles read, he remembers something — Mordecai discovered a plot against the king's life, and the culprits were then killed.
Then the king hears a noise out in the hall. Guess who it is? It is Haman. The king calls him in and asks Haman, what should I do for the guy that I want to honor? Haman quickly answers I know just the thing. Let him ride on your horse, let him wear your crown and your robe, and let someone lead him through the streets saying, "This is the man the king wants to honor." The king says Sounds great to me. You do it, just as you have said, for Mordecai. So Haman does this humiliating task of leading Mordecai through the street and yelling This is done to the man whom the king desires to honor.
Picture [For Believers]:The flesh will get religious if he has to.
[The Better] Picture:Our flesh will obey our will, even though he does not want to.
1 Now the king and Haman came to drink wine with Esther the queen.
2 And the king said to Esther on the second day also as they drank their wine at the banquet, "What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted to you. And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be done."
Application:There are two important things here—
3 Then Queen Esther answered and said, "If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition and my people as my request;"
Now Esther starts to tell it all—
4 "for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king."
Notice:If we were just going to be slaves, I would not trouble you with it, but we are going to die!
5 Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, "Who is he, and where is he, who would presume to do this?"
6 Esther said, "A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!" Then Haman became terrified before the king and queen.
Picture:We recognize our foe — our enemy — is our wicked flesh.
Application:Most biblical believers never really experience those moments of recognition that our flesh is our enemy, he is within us, and he is a traitor who is undermining what we are doing. If we really come to this understanding, we would look at things differently.
Example:Other people or certain circumstances appear to be a hassle to us. But do we come to the point where we stop and say Wait a minute! Is this my own flesh doing this? If we really examine that question [through God's light], then we realize what an enemy our flesh is. However, most biblical believers do not go through that mental part—
We want to examine everything through God's light. It could be that after we give that question over to God, we might say Yes, I believe it is other people in this situation — and it could very well be.
Next: Esther 7-10, Part 2: GETTING RID OF THE ENEMY
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We express our appreciation to Mitchell and Dawn Kolodin for their excellent work in transcribing and editing this entire Esther study.
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