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-- © GodSpeak International 2000 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Keith Gerner <AVMuk@aol.com> http://www.avmworld.co.uk
EDITORS:Fred Pekkonen, Teresa Seputis

Studies In Intercession from the Book of Esther

By Keith Gerner

Lesson 7
Praying For An Audience
(or Getting God To Hear Our Petition)

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

In the last lesson we traced the intercessor mourning and carrying a burden in prayer (Esther chapter 5), making a bold request (Esther 4:8) and making a covenant with God (Esther 4:16).

In this lesson, we shall trace the secret of getting an audience with the king, which is vital to the work of prayer and intercession. This is done quietly and deliberately and cannot be rushed. Effective intercession and work takes time and the creation of a proper settlement.

Standing Before The King

Esther 5:1
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.

Esther had done three days of fasting and preparation, probably dressed in sackcloth (Esther 4:16). But now she leaves this and dresses as a queen. There is a time to pray and fast and then to act in authority when we hear from Heaven.

Esther put on her queenly garments when she rose up from prayer to stand in the authority that God had given her. Likewise, God has now given us royal garments -- and he wants us to wear them.

Matthew 22:12
'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless.

Isaiah 61:10
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Esther was wearing robes provided for her by the king. Just so Christ has provided robes for us to wear when we appear to intercede in heaven.

In Zech 3:1-9, we see that the high priest Joshua was similarly clothed for his intercession.

Then the Angel showed me (in my vision) Joshua the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord; and Satan was there too, at the Angel's right hand, accusing Joshua of many things. And the Lord said to Satan, "I reject your accusations, Satan; yes, I, the Lord, for I have decided to be merciful to Jerusalem-I rebuke you. I have decreed mercy to Joshua and his nation; they are like a burning stick pulled out of the fire."

Joshua's clothing was filthy as he stood before the Angel of the Lord. Then the Angel said to the others standing there, "Remove his filthy clothing." And turning to Joshua he said, "See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes."

Then I said, "Please, could he also have a clean turban on his head?" So they gave him one. Then the Angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Joshua and said, "The Lord Almighty declares: 'If you will follow the paths I set for you and do all I tell you to, then I will put you in charge of my Temple, to keep it holy; and I will let you walk in and out of my presence with these angels. Listen to me, O Joshua the High Priest, and all you other priests, you are illustrations of the good things to come. Don't you see? - Joshua represents my servant the Branch whom I will send. He will be the Foundation Stone of the Temple that Joshua is standing beside, and I will engrave this inscription on it seven times: I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.'"

We learn several things from this picture. First we see that Satan would accuse the intercessor and point out shortcomings. (Have you ever experienced Satan's attack of condemnation against you personally? If so, you are not alone, many intercessors experience this, because it is one of Satan's strategies against intercessors.) Next we see that the Lord takes His people's side against Satan. God's plan is deliverance, and therefore Joshua and his nation will have God's mercy, like a stick pulled out of the fire of judgement. God takes away the sin of his people and clothes them in white, so that we can come boldly to his throne.

We can approach God's throne in intercession with confidence when we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, or sins forgiven through the blood of the lamb.

The Scepter Is Extended In Grace

Esther 5:2 says, "When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter."

The king was sitting on his throne and was in the best position to see and receive her so that he could answer her prayer. Likewise, God is always ready to receive us (Heb 4:16), so let us approach Him with confidence.

At the same time, Esther waited in reverence and only moved when the scepter was stretched out to her. She was not presumptuous. Likewise, we must approach God in an attitude of reverence and awe, not presuming on Him but honoring Him (Heb 12:28).

The king was delighted with her and his delight caused him to be very generous to her. Esther 5:3, "Then the king asked, 'What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.'"

Compare this with the attitude of King Herod when Salome danced for his birthday celebration. In Mark 6:22-26, it says, "The king said to the girl, 'Ask me for anything you want, and I'll give it to you.' And he promised her with an oath, 'Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.' She went out and said to her mother, 'What shall I ask for?' 'The head of John the Baptist,' she answered. At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: 'I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.' The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her."

If earthly kings are generous to their own family members, how much more will God be generous to His own children! Once we are assured of His hearing us, we should expect generous giving. God has promised that to us in 1 John 5:15 "And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him."

The intercessor should not only be SURE he is heard, but also that his request will be granted.

Note that Esther's intercession was strategic in nature. She did not immediately ask for Haman's head but suggested a banquet first, which she had prepared in faith! Esther 5:4 "'If it pleases the king,' replied Esther, 'let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.'

Notice the king's response to Esther's request in verse 5. All empire affairs were dropped for this time of fellowship with the Queen! Likewise, God may rule the nations but He is not too busy to listen to individual prayer. Surely we should make time for Him, when He drops all other considerations to listen to us!

Esther had a serious request to bring to the king, it was the foremost thing on her mind. But she does not blurt it out immediately. First she spends time with the king and pursues his attention and prolonged fellowship together. In Esther 5:6-8, we see:

As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, "Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted." Esther replied, "My petition and my request is this: If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king's question."

Likewise, our intercession should not be a rush of requests. It should begin with praise and enjoyment ("Our Father which art in Heaven..." of Matt 6:9 is before the request for daily bread etc.)

Satanic Boasting & Blindness

We see from Esther 5:9-14 that Haman was elated at being the only person in addition to the king who was invited to the banquet. He was very "full of himself." However, he passed Mordecai and was enraged by Mordecai's refusal to bow down to him. This led Haman and his wife to plot to murder Mordecai directly, instead of waiting for the day when all Jews were to be destroyed. So he built himself a gallows to hang Mordecai on and planned to approach the king to get the execution order signed.

Likewise, Satan hates God's elect and he gets enraged when they honor God instead of himself. He gets enraged and begins to plot their destruction, just as Haman did with Mordecai. Satan, in his rage, does not always make wise plans against God's elect. His strategy against Mordecai drasticly backfired. Likewise, he played right into God's plans when he tired to kill Jesus. In verse 14. we see that Haman was happy with his plans, unaware that God was about to turn the situation around for His glory.

Satan similarly was happy in his destruction of babies (Matthew 2), confident he had wiped out Jesus, but GOD was behind the scenes to deliver Him. Then Satan prepared a cross to hang Jesus on. But Jesus rose from the dead, forever breaking the power of death and uprooting Satan's power over mankind.

Pride contributes to the downfall of Satan. Satan, like the Prince of Tyre, fell through pride. That same pride is the downfall of those who Satan empowers to advance his evil kingdom. However, they will meet the same fate, at God's hands, as their master. For instance, here is what God had to say to the ruler of Type about pride: Ezek 28:6-10 "`Because you think you are wise, as wise as a god, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor. They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die a violent death in the heart of the seas. Will you then say, 'I am a god,' in the presence of those who kill you? You will be but a man, not a god, in the hands of those who slay you. You will die the death of the uncircumcised."

Just as HAMAN boasted to his wife, so even he would learn the lesson of God resisting the proud.

The world teaches one thing regarding greatness. But God's kingdom is not like that. Rather, the greatest intercessors are humble men and women. Intercessors need to avoid pride, keep humble and holy. God's judgements are sure, though they may take their time.

Haman was to have an unpleasant surprise overnight!

-- © GodSpeak International 2000 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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