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Studies In Intercession from the Book of Esther
Power of God in Action
Esther chapter 6
"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14
In Lesson 7 we saw the intercessor as standing before the king, clothed in royal robes. We saw the scepter of the king extended in grace, and we saw Satanic boasting by Haman in pride and preparation.
In this lesson we trace the power of God beginning to work on the scene, which will encourage intercessors. When things appear to be at their worst, we can know with confidence that God is working behind the scenes. We must not underestimate Divine power (Psalm 37).
The Bedchamber Revelation
God intricately brings many details together at just the right time. His timing does not always make sense to us. Mordecai had uncovered a plot to kill the king, had saved the king's life by reporting this plot. The deed was recorded but he was never rewarded for it. Instead, Mordecai's enemy Haman was promoted. The bible does not record Mordecai questioning God or complaining, despite seemingly unfair treatment. Rather he continued to seek God and do what was right, even when it appeared that his deeds went unrewarded. How many of us would respond the same way?
Yet, despite the seemingly unjust circumstances, God was at work behind the scenes to cause all things to come forth at His perfect timing.
That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. NIV
Haman had risen in position and power in the kingdom, but he did not use his advancement for the good of others in Esther chap 3. Mordecai did what was right, but was not advanced (Esther 2:19-23). And God was about to set things right, in response to the prayers of His people.
Reading the chronicles of the kingdom was a common way for leaders to pass the time in those days. A similar reading of the word of God can benefit intercessors who wish to take hold of God's promises. Abraham found this to be true (Romans 4:20). It is good to review God's promises to us. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:20 "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen, unto the glory of God by us" and in 2 Corinthians 7:1 he said, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Peter added (2 Peter 1:3-4) "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." Finally, Paul advised this in 1 Timothy 4:13: "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." In other words, intercessors need to read the word to become familiar with the promises God has given them in it, and to any conditions that accompany God's promises. By knowing the promises of God and meeting His conditions, the intercessor prepares to be able to lay hold of those promises in prayer.
King Ahasuerus had his scribe read the chronicles of the kingdom to him because he could not sleep that night (Esther 6:1). Why do you suppose he could not sleep? Could it have been the hand of God on Him, because God was in the process of setting up circumstances to answer the prayers and fastings that had gone up before Him? That is precisely what happened here. God was at work behind the scenes. It is not uncommon for God to make a person loose a little sleep when He wants to deal with them or show them something. He seems to use this strategy on both the godly and the ungodly. He also uses this strategy with His intercessors.
For instance, in Pslam 132:4-5, we see that King David lacked sleep because of his ministry to God, and he was blessed for it. Likewise, the intercessor must be prepared to go without sleep at times to be available to God. Christ asked this of His disciples in Gethsemane, that they would watch and pray with Him through the night (Mark 14:35-41). Be prepared for the Lord to wake you up and pray in His purposes, as God does not sleep in His vigilance (Ps 121:3-4)
God is able to turns the heart of kings and exercise His influence on them. Proverbs 21:1 says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." In fact, we see God influencing kings throughout history. Many times God troubled their sleep when He began to deal with them. For instance, God troubled King Nebuchadnezzar in his sleep in Daniel 2:1. king Darius also lost sleep, while Daniel was snoring in the lions' den! (Daniel 6:18).
Likewise, God disturbed king Ahasuerus' sleep, which caused him to review the chronicles of the kingdom. God used this to remind him of the work of Mordecai. It was then that the king realized that nothing had been done to reward Mordecai for his work in saving the king's life. God allowed the reward to be delayed, but not forever denied. In His perfect timing, He brought this to the King's attention.
Intercessors must not forget to remember God's goodness. He will take care of the intercessor in His perfect timing, just as He took care of Mordecai. Just at the Lord caused the King to remember Mordecai's good work, He desires for His people to remember His good works towards them. Jesus demonstrated this desire in Luke 22:19 "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." This is echoed in 2 Peter 1:12-15, which says, "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance." When we have been warring and fell exhausted and unable to go on, we will find strength in remembering what God has done for us and it will give us renewed vigor to pray (Jonah 2:7).
Bitter News To Haman
With his memory refreshed, the King looked for a way to reward Mordecai. It was the middle of the night, so he knew that most of his court (those who he would ask for advice) were home in bed asleep. He inquired to see if anyone was actually there, because this matter seems urgent to him. As it turned out, Haman was there. (Esther 6:5-6). Now Haman is there for the wrong reasons. He is filled with hatred and seeking revenge against one of God's intercessors. He could hardly wait to carry out his evil scheme against Mordecai. In fact, the bible informs us of the reason he was standing in court at that odd hour; it was to ask the king for permission to execute Mordecai (verse 4).
Isn't it amazing how God turned the situation on the enemy.. he is coming forward to try and destroy the intercessor, but God uses him as a agent to cause the intercessor to be rewarded!
The king asked direct question to Haman. Haman was so self-opinionated that he saw himself as the likely one for the King to applaud. It was his very pride robbed him of his prudence. "So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honor more than to myself?" (Esther 6:6). God has a way of catching the evil ones in their own craftiness, of causing their own pride to be their downfall (Job 5:13, 1 Corth 3:19).
So Haman demanded royal robes, the king's horse and even the crown with one of the King's noble princes to lead the procession! (Esther 6:9) Then suddenly, Haman found the application was to Mordecai, not himself. (verse 10). Haman was dismayed to have to do this to Mordecai and perhaps he saw the beginning of the end, just as Satan will one day have to bow to Jesus (Rev 3:9).
When this procession was over however, Mordecai did not allow it to go to his head, but resumed his position of service at the King's Gate. When the intercessor sees his prayers begin to be answered, he has to humbly return to his servant position. There must be no room for pride to enter into the intercessor's heart when they see God's victory begin to spring forth in response to their intercession.
Ashamed, Haman hurried home. Esther 6:12 describes it this way: "But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered." The head covering was probably a veil, which was used as a mark of mourning at that time (Jer 14:3, 2 Samuel 15:30). This signified that something dreadful had happened to the head of the household. The Intercessor should be aware of the rout of the Enemy through his position with the Lord long before there is a public display of his defeat.
The Breaking Of Haman
Esther 6:13 says, "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."
Haman had begun to fall before the power of God (Ps 9:16, Heb 10:31). The Lord will vindicate His own. Even the occult enemies of God have to recognize His power and their defeat. Satan cannot win. The intercessor must be convinced of this from the beginning. Even on the day that sin entered the world, God warned the serpent of his defeat. Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Jesus won authority over the devil, and He passed that authority on to His followers.
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
The devil is already a defeated foe. Believe this and pray through today!