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.


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