God has used various ways to give us a gleam into the workings of the Holy Spirit. Here are five diverse ways before we consider another.
The Holy Spirit was portrayed by the dove sent out by Noah which returned with the olive branch.
"And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more." (Gen 8:10-12)
In the account of seeking a bride for Isaac there are four characters presented. Abraham is a type of God the Father, Eliezer a type of the Holy Spirit, Isaac a type of the Lord Jesus Christ and Rebekah a type of the Church-the Body of Christ. (Gen 11:26-26:5; 32:9; 49:30)
The pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night portrayed the guidance of the Holy Spirit over Israel in their journey to Canaan.
"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire." (Exo 13:21); "And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents." (Num 9:17); "He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night." (Psa 105:39); "Thou leddest them in the day by a cloudy pillar; and in the night by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go. ... Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go." (Neh 9:12, 19); "He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar." (Psa 99:7)
The special oil used in the Tabernacle in the wilderness for anointing of the priests, for the inaugauration of various pieces and instruments and for its dedication portrayed the Holy Spirit.
"And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people." (Exo 30:25-33)
Oil was also used in the lampstand in the most holy place showing the light of the Holy Spirit illuminating our hearts.
"And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always." (Exo 27:20)
Water from the rock in the wilderness also portrayed the Holy spirit from Christ Jesus.
"Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel." (Exo 17:6); "He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers." (Psa 78:15-16)
The dove sent out by Noah, Eliezer-Abraham's lead servant, the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, the holy anointing oil and the lamp oil used in the Tabernacle, and water from the rock in the wilderness are all types of the Holy Spirit. These are used by God to convey aspects of the working of the Holy Spirit. But, have you considered Mordecai portraying the Holy Spirit? He is presented in the book of Esther.
Mordecai previews some of the aspects and qualities of the Holy Spirit.
Now the book of Esther is different, it tells us about a gentile ruler over the people of God, about a person involved in a plot to destroy God's people, and just two people who thwart this attempt. And it never mentions God, that is not directly. Here you must pause and read the article, THE NAME OF JEHOVAH IN THE BOOK OF ESTHER, which is Appendix 60 from The Companion Bible by Dr. E.W. Bullinger. It explains how God is at work behind the scenes and his name is hidden in the text. This phenomenon is a great pointer to the quiet and secret work of God's Spirit in the affairs of men and especially in the renewing of our minds and hearts as new creatures in Christ.1
God used the covetous Balaam in Numbers 22-24 chapters to prophecy good toward Israel. He also used the corrupt High Priest Caiaphas to prophecy about Jesus dying for all of the people in John 11:50. So likewise here, God overruled the wicked to bring about good. The book of Esther displays God's providence in the affairs of men and reveals His silent working. Here too He has used the carnality of man, not to approve the flesh, but to convey something very good, the quiet work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man.
Let us build the framework to understand more fully. "... King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him: When he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty many days, even an hundred and fourscore days. And when these days were expired, the king made a feast unto all the people that were present in Shushan the palace, both unto great and small, seven days, in the court of the garden of the king's palace. ... And they gave them drink in vessels of gold, (the vessels being diverse one from another,) and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king. And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure. (Esther 1:2-5, 7-8) Here we have a person who is busy with the things of the flesh, fleshly and carnally minded like Ishmael and Esau:
Ishmael speaks of our condition by nature "born after the flesh," when the flesh has undisputed possession, and we live to gratify self."2 Ishmael is described by God saying, "And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." (Gen 16:12) The flesh "is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Rom 8:7) For "He that was born of the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit." (Gal 4:29) And, "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh and these are contrary one to the other." (Gal 5:17)
Esau, the twin brother of Jacob whose father was Isaac and grandfather was Abraham, came from the heritage of those who believed, trusted and obeyed God. His forefathers were guided, blessed, protected and given great promises by God. Yet, Esau could not value any of his spiritual heritage, the promises of God that could be fulfilled in his own life, nor the purpose of waiting for anything. So, he traded something of incredible value to both himself and his progeny for an immediate bowl of cooked stew. (Gen 25:29-34) In this manner he despised everything that God offered to him as a grandson of Abraham and Sarah and son of Isaac and Rebecca. This is what Apostle Paul addresses to the church saying, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Rom 8:6-7). The book of Obadiah lists the sins of Edom, Esau's descendants: the pride of thine heart (vs 3), violence against thy brother Jacob (vs 10), rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction (vs 12), laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity (vs 13), neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress (vs 14)."2
Yet in the midst of all this there is something of "Jacob" in Ahasuerus for the setting of the feast reflects the colors and appointments of the tabernacle in the wilderness. This suggests the glimmerings of spiritual longings, desiring somehow to see and know the things of God, for we are all made in his image and likeness. (Gen 1:27) "Where were white, green, and blue, hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble: the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red, and blue, and white, and black, marble." (Esther 1:6) "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." (Eph 2:12)
Ahasuerus is king, i.e. over himself, and his wife portrays the union he has with the things of the flesh. He commands Vashti (controller of his flesh), to do something to please him, to submit to him, to simply respect him as a person. But the flesh will have no part in giving dignity to the image of God in man.
"Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus." (Esther 1:9) "On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him." (Esther 1:10-12) So the the king (you and me) sought counsel as to how to depose the flesh.
The scriptures tell us we cannot rule ourselves, to simply command and rule our flesh is futile.
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Rom 3:10-20) "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." (Mark 14:38); "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom 3:27-28); "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. ... So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom 8:3, 8); "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Gal 2:16)
We are as hopeless as Ahasuerus to command Vashti and expect submission. The wise men of Ahasuerus correctly summarize the situation saying that if rebellion (of the flesh) is permitted it will spread and cause great damage.
"What shall we do unto the queen Vashti according to law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the king Ahasuerus by the chamberlains? And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath." (Esther 1:15-18) Therefore, "If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small." (Esther 1:19-20)
Dethrone the carnal flesh's ruler and put another, a better ruler, in its place. Divorce that wicked queen who "was fair to look on" but "refused to come at the king's commandment." That is exactly what Apostle Paul tells us must be done.
"But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." (Rom 13:14); "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom 3:21-28); "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor 2:14)
How is this done? How do we dethrone, divorce and remove the former flesh (or more correctly its controller) to which we have been married and so intimately familiar? We must die to set ourself free from that first marriage to be able to marry another.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Rom 6:1-14); "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." (Rom 3:16-18); "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:5); "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. ... But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom 8:4-5, 9)
So Ahasuerus "sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people." (Esther 1:22)
Here we compare Josh 24:14-28: "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance."
Behind the scenes God has been drawing and seeking us to come to him. He works silently and surely seeking out those whose heart is toward Him. We recognized our fallen nature, sought a new direction for our lives, accepted the salvation of Jesus, put to death our former self and were raised in newness of life. All of this was prompted and led by the Holy Spirit.
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." (John 4:23); "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." (Rom 8:6); "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." (Eph 1:13)
"After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. Then said the king's servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king: And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king's chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them: And let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so." (Esther 2:1-4) This is similar to God's work, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." (2 Chr 16:9 a)
In the book of Esther Mordecai is introduced as the one who raised Esther. Esther was an orphan taken in by a great "father." "And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter." (Esther 2:7) Apostle Paul says, "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Rom 8:15) She was prepared to be a better queen who would "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" "for they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." And later, after figuratively putting herself to death before the king, she saves her people, "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom 8:13)
Esther is truly stunning! You think beauty, but she possessed a special charm of: candor, courtesy, gentleness, grace, dignity, honor, humility, poise, respect, virtue and more. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Gal 5:22-23) And the scriptures about God granting favor to Joseph and David became true again here.
"And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. ... But the Lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison." (Gen 39:3, 21); "And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight." (1 Sam 16:22); "And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. ... Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul." (1 Sam 18:1, 3)
"So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king's house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women. Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it." (Esther 2:8-10)
Mordecai tended this lovely bloom with loving care and concern during his years of rearing her. Now he hovered nearby, like the spirit of God, pressing in by his presence the whispers of love, faith and duty to guard the fragile heart of Esther and to bring her to endure adversity.
"Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you." (2 Cor 7:12); "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions." (Heb 10:32)
"And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women's house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her." (Esther 2:11) Mordecai's presence was also a silent warning, "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." (Matt 13:22); "And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." (Mark 4:19)
God gives us time for purification, to drink deeply of His word and be transformed.
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." (1 Cor 15:1-4); "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom 12:1-2); "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Pet 1:8)
He also uses the lessons of the past to guide us today. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Rom 15:4); "Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." (1 Cor 10:11); "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." (Eph 6:18) So it was for Esther, "Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)" (Esther 2:12)
The day's of our testing come soon enough. Will we, by the spirit, proclaim Christ Lord or draw back from him? Will we try to wrap ourselves in our own cloak or with the robe of Christ's righteousness?
"But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (2 Tim 4:5); "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:2-4); "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (1 Pet 1:7); "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." (Heb 12:3)
Ahasuerus had been king over himself and his former wife portrayed the union he had with the things of the flesh. He had tried to direct Vashti (the old controller of his flesh) who failed him. He sought many women, "religious systems," to find his way but none satisfied like the way of truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Ahasuerus is us. We wanted to change, to be released from this bondage to sin and death just like Pilgrim in "Pilgrims Progress" by John Bunyan. Now Ahasuerus places another controller in union with him who helps him become a "new creation." This ruler Ahasuerus became a changed man.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor 5:17); "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. ... That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Rom 8:1, 4) "So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti." (Esther 2:16-17)
Mordeacai and Esther are inseparable, but only Esther is visible inside the court. She is faithful to Mordecai's directives just like we are to follow the Spirit's leading. Mordecai portrays the spirit in that he revealed hidden things to Esther for the King's sake. (vs 21-23)
"Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them." (Isa 48:6); "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13); "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Cor 2:10)
"And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king's gate. Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him." (Esther 2:19-20); "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Rom 8:14)
Satan did not let these things go unnoticed. He raised up an old enemy to oppose the new heart and actions of the king. The actions of Ahasuerus, our actions, are often inconsistent with our calling, the spirit's guidance and those of our Savior.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Pet 5:8)
"After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment? Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai." (Esther 3:1-6)
Then comes persecution and threats of death.
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel." (Gal 1:6); "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." (Gal 5:13); "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." (1 Peter 5:8-10); "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." (Heb 12:4)
"And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them. ... The posts went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed." (Esther 3:8, 15)
Mordecai conveys to Esther the cause of grief and the solution for her people. And the dialogue between the Holy Spirit and our heart is often the same. We shrink back from duty, but the spirit prompts us to surrender and obey. Mordecai here portrays the Holy Spirit.
"O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles." (Psa 43:3); "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." (Luke 21:15); And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Eph 4:30)
"When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry; And came even before the king's gate: for none might enter into the king's gate clothed with sackcloth." (Esther 4:1-2); "For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)
The solution is prayer: asking for courage, calling for support in prayer, and prayer in secret that we may be rewarded openly. And Mordecai went to enlist others, i.e. move their hearts to seek God, His plan and His favor before men.
"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 20-21); "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph 6:12)
"Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him." (Esther 4:16-17)
Esther goes before the king and sets up an intimate banquet, but not for pleasure. It is prepared for Ahasuerus to sit across the table from Haman. She wants the king, i.e. ourselves, to look into the mirror and see the former person we were.
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor 4:6); "If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." (Eph 4:21-25); "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Rom 8:11); "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." (Rom 13:12); "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor 6:14); "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." (1 Thes 5:5); "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. ... And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Eph 5:8, 11)
"And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him." (Esther 5:4); "Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king." (Esther 5:12)
Now Mordecai had rallied the Jews to fast and pray. The effect was significant.
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Rom 8:26); "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." (Eph 6:18); "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16); "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." (1 Pet 3:12)
Mordecai's work brings courage and wisdom for Esther and a troubled sleep for Ahasuerus. It brought a night of reflection and review in King Ahasuerus along with more love for God's people.
"I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search." (Psa 77:6); "I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night." (Song 5:2); "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:34-35); "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." (Rom 12:10); "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you." (1 Thes 3:12)
"On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king." (Esther 6:1); "... And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? ..." (Esther 6:6); "Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken." (Esther 6:10)
Mordecai's work reveals Haman's elevation of pride.
The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined." (Psa 10:2); "Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase." (Dan 4:37); "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (Pro 16:18); "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." (Matt 23:12; Luke 14:11)
"And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour. Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king's gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken. Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour." (Esther 6:7-11); "And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him." (Esther 6:13)
Esther asks for her life, life for her people and retribution for the wicked Haman. And Ahasuerus sees clearly now.
"A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit." (Pro 29:23); "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." (2 Cor 4:2); "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." (2 Thes 2:8); "To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." (Deut 32:35)
Ahasuerus followed the prompting of the spirit, put his old nature to death, walked in the spirit and brought rejoicing to the people of God.
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Eph 2:1-3); "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. ... If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Gal 5:16, 25); "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Gal 6:7-8)
"On that day did the king Ahasuerus give the house of Haman the Jews' enemy unto Esther the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told what he was unto her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king, And said, If it please the king, and if I have favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces: For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred? Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse." (Esther 8:1-8)
Mordecai previewed some of the work of the Holy Spirit.
"And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour. And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them." (Esther 8:15-17); "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God." (1 Cor 4:5)
"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor 4:1-7)
Ultimately there are great rewards for the servants of Christ Jesus. Esther denied herself, sought for the well-being of others and revealed the subterfuge of Haman who sought his own glory and the destruction of part of Ahasuerus' kingdom. Vashti did not follow her husband toward the things of God, would not deny her own way, and was deposed as queen. Which do you think made a better life-partner, the one who went after the flesh or the one who followed after the spirit?
1. Presented originally by Brother Carl Hagensick.