Perseverance of the saints 5

In the Book of Esther we see the perseverance of the older saint Mordecai, as he … rent his clothes, and went out into the midst of the city… (Es 4:1), and the younger saint Esther as she prepares to risk her life by boldly going … in unto the king, which is not according to the law… (v. 16).  They could so easily have preserved their own earthly comforts and benefits, but like Moses spurned the easy enjoyments of this world for the far greater glory of our Father’s heavenly kingdom.

Meanwhile, the pride and fury of Haman is relentless, intense and specifically focused.  His rage is almost uncontrollable, he being full of wrath (Es 3:5), full of indignation (5:9) and full of the glory of his riches (v.11).  We ought not to forget that Satan forcefully and persistently continues to be the accuser of our brethren (Rev 12:10) and is full of great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (v. 12).

Whether through religious or political leaders, Satan manifests himself in a variety of guises, perhaps the most subtle and insidious being through certain celebrated preachers whose public words seemingly hold up the biblical doctrine of faith in Christ, but who are in fact … false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ (2 Cor 11:13). As shocking as it may sound, this should be … no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (v. 14).

Whether in (Mordecai and Esther’s) new-found prosperity, or in (Job or Jonah’s) sudden adversity, Satan will never leave us alone and especially targets us in a time of change or uncertainty, when godly habits and routines might be threatened.  May we struggle for the glory and glory in that struggle, being assured that our trials of prosperity and adversity are … for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness (Heb 12:10), knowing that our hate-filled, pride-filled, age-old accuser shall one day be … cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev 20:10).

Look!

When tired, in turmoil or transition

Satan gets into position,

roaring leonine ambition

thwarting grace his only mission.

 

Through fatigue, flux or frustration

Satan moves as is his station,

once near God, now no relation

sin’s his rule, retaliation.

 

Change or charm or challenge comes

Satan is there, hear how he hums,

first sinful depths expertly plumbs

then souls for scrap, he does his sums.

 

By hook or crook or by the book

Satan’s the bait Christ never took,

for all of us before mistook

Satan as Christ, saved sinners, look!

Irresistible grace 5

If whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning … (Rom 15:4) and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself (Lu 24:27) then we are surely to read the royal love story between Esther and King Ahasuerus not merely as an isolated excerpt in the history of the Jewish people but as a profound and instructive picture of Christ and the church.

Esther, unlike the Queen of Sheba (illustrative of the seeking experience) is described not as one seeking but as one having been brought also unto the king’s house … (Es 2:8), the holy penman of the Book of Esther emphasising how he preferred her (2:9).  A Christian, by parallel, is not someone who has initiated a saving relationship with God (although subjectively the seeking experience occurs) but is one who has acted in response to the Holy Spirit’s work within, utterly dependent on this. Christ Jesus reminds us that Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you (Jn 15:6), there being no personal basis for one’s salvation other than the sovereign will of God.

Esther is described as having purified herself with oil of myrrh and with sweet odours (Es 2:12), and that King Ahasuerus delighted in her (2:14) as she obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her (2:15).  So too are the prayers of believers described as having ascended up before God with the smoke of the incense (Rev 8:4), the Lord shunning the Vashtian beauty of the world in favour of the rare Christian beauty of a meek and quiet spirit (1 Pe 3:4).

The ‘so’ of So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal (Es 2:16) speaks of effectual calling.  Like us, Esther had her trials, doubts and difficulties but ultimately obtained grace and favour in his sight (Es 2:17). Christian believers find assurance not in their own works but in the ‘he’ of … he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6).  Relief rather than frustration is in the confession that salvation is entirely by grace and through faith; and that not of yourselves (Eph 2:8).

Thank God, for what proud, Vashtian destruction would we wreak upon ourselves if we were but once favoured, to be then left to our own devices.

God Himself

Oh Lord I pray that this one in my arms      

You’d steal away from vicious worldly charms,     

that she would see the Holy One alone      

the only way her sins for to atone.   

 

Oh Lord I pray that that one in my shake      

You’d steal from manmade science’s mistake,    

that he would see the Daysman’s living bread    

the only way to keep him from the dead.  

 

Oh Lord I pray that that one in my view     

You’d steal from this degenerate human zoo, 

that she would see the radiance of Him    

the only way her dark desires to dim.  

 

Oh Lord I pray that that one in my words   

You’d steal away from sharp and spiteful birds, 

that he would see the love of God himself   

the only way to God being God Himself.