July 2, 2012

Revealing Christ In The Old Testament XII: A Christ-like Woman

Esther sees the seed preserved which should will give birth to a Savior. In the story of Esther we will and power is manifested in defeating all enemies in spite of the unalterable law of the Medes and Persians.

The Book of Esther is intended to show God's care of His people. Though the name of God is never mentioned, God Himself is all over the book in a sublime way, ruling and over-ruling the events for the perpetuation of His people. God will even protect them from extermination. Although there is also no actual discernable mention of prayer to God, it is implied in the mourning and fasting of the Jews when they heard the royal decree for their destruction Esther 4:1-3 ; and again, when Esther ordered a three days' fast among her people before she ventured to go before the king in Esther 4:16). The Feast of Purim shows not only to the truth of the narrative, but to a people's gratitude to God throughout all generations for their miraculous deliverance (again).

The king holding out the golden scepter in the story of Esther has been an encouragement to many a saint of God in bringing their petitions to the King of kings. Although there was fear and trepidation from Esther going before Ahasuerus/Xerxes, we as Christians should have no fear of approaching God as we now have Jesus as our intercessor and we are covered by His sacrifice on the Cross. The Temple Veil was rent in two and we have direct access to the Father through Christ. We will never need to fear being refused an audience before the Almighty God that would inevitably call down His wrath upon us. This wrath was covered by the blood of the lamb.

Behind the hostility of Haman we see the deeper malignancy of evil that is Satan. As he will attempt to do all throughout the Old Testament, he will seek to make void the promise of God of a coming Messiah by wiping out His lineage. Satan has no qualms about wiping out the entire Jewish race. Just as we observe Saul throwing his spear at the young David. It is the same sordid evil that the devil used to prompt Herod to massacre the innocents/newborns of Bethlehem, but God delivered His Son by sending Him into Egypt. This scumbag even attacked and bruised His heel through Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, against Jesus but God raised Him from the dead anyway according to Scripture...according to plan.

In the aforementioned Resurrection of Christ we see Salvation. In the Book of Esther we see the simple and obvious shining type or shadow in Esther of Jesus mindset. She was willing to lay down her life for her friends or those she loved. She would die to save her people.

John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

We see a pristine picture of Christ in Esther. Jesus who was not only willing, but who actually did lay down His life for us. He who, like Esther, interceded for us to save us from certain death intercession salvation is assured to us. But because she had a merciful and loving God full of grace, she is spared the shame and execution that would be Jesus' human end. She is given to a natural death after what appears to have been an exceptionally orchestraed but mostly normal human life expectancy.

In Esther we also see the opportunities God often presents to us by working directly in our lives. When God gives these opportunities or opens doors we must recognize them as such and seize them while we can. Our decisions no matter how small or mundane sometimes contain the power of life and death. Mordecai was so sure of God's working through Esther we read this in Esther 4:12-14:

"When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Most often we will think little of our ability to affect a change in the world and downplay our importance, but when God be for us...who can be against us? So what happens? Esther turns to God as we all should. Just as Jesus turned to the Father in prayer the night before His arrest in Gethsemane. In a time of need we see the prototypical reaction that all Christians should emulate...a firm and absolute dependence on God. 

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