ESTHER 1:1-2:23

Any Reason For A Banquet

By Johnny Tatum



The king and the new queen are brought together, and of course, it is time for another banquet. [This king uses any excuse for another party…]

18 Then the king gave a great banquet, Esther's banquet, for all his princes and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts according to the king's bounty.

Picture: Everything is right, because Holy Spirit is in control.

19 When the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate.

The king's gate is the place of rule, of control, and of judgment.

Picture: As long as Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, it is party time!

Application: As long as Holy Spirit is at our gate, we should expect control, order, beauty, and the life of abundance and blessing because He is working.

20 Esther had not yet made known her kindred or her people, even as Mordecai had commanded her; for Esther did what Mordecai told her as she had done when under his care.

Application: What should we do if we want the blessing of the abundant life? Seek Holy Spirit's advice – counsel – guidance.

Dominion has been reestablished to a degree — the king and queen are together (a picture of the soul and spirit together) — so why is everything not perfect?

In Esther 2, we see the first sign that even with a new queen (a picture of our new creation with our soul under the leadership of Holy Spirit – the way it should be), there is still going to be trouble.


There is another power trying to reach the king…

21 In those days, while Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king's officials from those who guarded the door, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.

It Is No Coincidence: The king's officials become angry when they see Mordecai sitting at the gate!

Picture: The flesh sees Holy Spirit (Mordecai) sitting at the gate, he gets angry, and he tries to reassert control over the will (the king).

Application: As soon as Holy Spirit starts working in us, the flesh springs into action. If we do not activate Holy Spirit very often, then the flesh is somewhat dormant. Actually, in most believers, the flesh is very mellow. Why? Because in our fleshly eyes, everything is going okay.


Fighting For Control:


In this text, we see there is a fight for control of the will. Does this not seem to be a contradiction?

In the New Testament [for example, see Ephesians 4:22], we are told:

Put off the old.

The Scriptures never say Do no put on; it is always Put off. The strong implication is:

If we do not do anything about this situation, the flesh is automatically controlling us — we are wearing the old man.

It seems to be a contradiction, because this seems to indicate that Holy Spirit took the lead. There is no contradiction at all; if we do not actively give Holy Spirit permission to fight, the flesh is winning. And rarely do we say Holy Spirit, please work in me and kill off that flesh.

There was one time we indicated to Holy Spirit to work in us: when we were first redeemed. At that moment, Holy Spirit came in with an initial burst of power that was strong. I think God lets that happen, because a new believer is not equipped to handle the flesh right away, so in that initial burst, Holy Spirit's mighty force of power almost strangles the flesh.

Illustration: Many times people are redeemed, and immediately, God will zap a bad habit. For example, there have been many individuals who have been alcoholics, but at the moment of their redemption, God zaps out all desire for alcohol. [However, do not expect God to zap out all problems…]


The flesh eventually will rally, and then Holy Spirit warns us…

22 But the plot became known to Mordecai and he told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai's name.

Application: Of course Holy Spirit knows!

Question: What is the difference between Holy Spirit and our new nature?

Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God who lives within us, and our new nature is our regenerated person. Holy Spirit communicates the messages of God to our new nature to reassert control over our will.

23 Now when the plot was investigated and found to be so, they were both hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the Book of Chronicles in the king's presence.

Two men, who were trying to kill the king, were hanged on the gallows (literally, they were nailed to a tree).

Picture: At the very beginning of this union between the king and the queen — at the regeneration, the uniting of the soul and spirit — there is a plot to destroy that union by killing the king, and the ones who were going to do it were nailed to a tree.

Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with (Romans 6:6)

Done away with means rendered powerless.

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh. (Romans 8:3)

We will continue to see this battle between the flesh and Holy Spirit.

Application: I love this story because the enemies are crucified right at the beginning, letting us know that when we are fighting the flesh, we are fighting an enemy that has already been crucified (nailed to a tree). If we think that we are fighting somebody who has inherent power, we will never win.


This happened right at the beginning of the reign of the new queen.

Picture: When we were redeemed, our flesh was already defeated.

Application: If our flesh has been crucified, how can he do such a good job on us?

We are surrendering to a dead person!

What was literally crucified was the absolute mastery of the flesh over us.

Before our redemption, we had no choice but to obey the flesh; we were unable to do anything about the flesh. Now the flesh has been crucified in the sense that the flesh does not have power [in himself]; the flesh only has power given to him by us.

Before our redemption, we did not have to give the flesh power — he had power, he lived with us, and he had a whip over us. On our redemption, God nailed the flesh to a tree (the Cross of Messiah Jesus). Now we give power to the crucified flesh in the following ways: a paradox—

The Negative Way: We do not empower Holy Spirit — by not believing that Holy Spirit is working.

The Positive Way [something that sounds good]: We try to obey in our self-effort — by energizing that flesh, which is nailed to a tree. We are fighting an enemy that has been defeated! [Please read Romans 7.]


Let us take another look at Esther 2:23…

They were both nailed to a tree; and it was written in the book of the Chronicles in the king's presence.

Picture: Flesh is defeated — nailed to a tree — and it was written in a book. What book describes all of this? The Holy Scriptures.

Application: What should we look for in the Holy Scriptures? Our flesh was crucified and it happened the moment we believed. Also, we are not fighting somebody who can come off the Cross and hurt us; we are fighting somebody who does not have any weapons unless we give him weapons.


Question: How can we apply what we know about the relationship between our will, our new nature, our flesh, our spirit, and Holy Spirit?

Every day we want to remember that we are complete. We can say My soul is stable because it is plugged into my spirit where it belongs, meaning:

Also, it is important for us to forget what lies behind.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13)

No matter what our emotions were in the last few minutes, right now those are completely, utterly irrelevant. If our emotions get out of control, we can confess that sin [for our own sake] and we can say No matter what my emotions were a few minutes ago, I have dominion because I am plugged into Holy Spirit, meaning:

My flesh is crucified and my soul is plugged into my spirit, which is under Holy Spirit's control.

God says:

I will restore to you the years that the locusts have damaged. (Joel 2:25)

If God can restore the years that locusts have damaged, certainly He can restore anything that we did in the last few minutes. God stresses the years to show that even after a long term, He can restore us.

We are either soulish people or spiritish people [words that I just made up]. Generally, believers are soulish people (using our mind and our will), so when we recognize we have been guided by our soul during the last few minutes, we can say I am plugged in and God will restore those few minutes. [Remember that God can restore a few minutes if He can restore the years.]

Also, Joel 2:25 shows us there are no such things as missed opportunities. If there were, it would mean that God is not sovereign. No, God is always sovereign! The situation that we consider to be a missed opportunity is actually God's doing — God was sovereign in that situation and He was responsible for the opportunity not taking place.

What a release this can be if we think about the following truth: God is sovereign. We can say:

If His sovereignty and providence takes care of unbelievers (God basically manipulates unbelievers for the good of believers), then how much more will His providence extend to believers?


Question: How can we take our thoughts captive to Messiah?

Based on our understanding of the soul and Spirit, let us apply the following verse:

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to Messiah. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

The most powerful thing we can do (we do not have to do anything), which will require mental discipline but will give us great benefit, is to…

Let God transform us by renewing our mind.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

That verse presents a great example of how we are taking every thought captive to Messiah.

When Paul talked about discipline and training in righteousness, he was not talking about changing behavior, he was not talking about using will power, and he was not talking about trying to obey the Law. Paul's goal was:

Changing his behavior by changing his thinking.

Paul had great delight in taking time to monitor his thoughts.

Believers who spend hours in prayer are not making requests for hours; they are taking their thoughts captive to Messiah Jesus by analyzing their thoughts, recognizing they are complete (their soul is plugged into the spirit), and assuring their guidance and counsel is coming form Holy Spirit and not from their flesh — and they call it prayer.


Question: Why do we want to pray for things that we know are going to happen?

We pray for things we know are going to happen so we learn what it feels like to have that certainty.

We pray for things we are unclear about, and we wait for that same sense of certainty.

We think about the things we know are in tune with Holy Spirit. In Philippians, Paul says:

Brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

When we think about things that are:

then, we know — for an absolute fact — that our thinking [in our mind] is in tune with Holy Spirit. It gives us practice analyzing other things, which we are thinking about, and to know whether we are plugged in or not.

Let Us Not Forget:

Whether we take every thought captive to Messiah Jesus or not, we are still complete, and our soul is stable because it is plugged into Holy Spirit.


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