Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Esther" Part 3 "Do... Do Not"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…


Part 3

"Do… Do Not"

   The Jewess Esther became the unlikely queen of a pagan empire because Vashti the previous queen disrespected her king.

   "On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded… to bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to show 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" (Esther 1:10-12).

   In the process of time, Esther took Vashti's place though the agency of her cousin Mordecai's working on her behalf.  Or more literally, Esther became queen through God's working in Mordecai.  This illustrates one of Scripture's most fundamental themes, namely, the replacement of flesh as authority with the Spirit of Christ.  We see countless examples of this Divine process throughout Old Testament and New, the most important of which involves "the first man Adam" and "the last Adam" (the Lord Jesus).

   "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (fleshly); and afterward that which is spiritual" (I Corinthians 15:45-46).

   The first man Adam plunged himself and his progeny into sin and its cruel mastery.  Like Vashti, he disrespected and dishonored his King.  "In Adam all die" (I Corinthians 15:22).  The "second Man", as Paul called the Lord Jesus, plunged Himself into a lifetime of challenge, sorrow, and death for the purpose of redeeming us from our sin.  He perfectly obeyed His King, that is, His Father.   As with Esther and Vashti, but of far greater significance, the spiritual Lord Jesus replaced the fleshly Adam as the man who would have dominion.  All who trust and submit to Christ are enlivened by "the quickening Spirit", and will thus reign with Him as His overcoming sons and daughters (II Timothy 2:12).

    In our own lives, countless opportunities to replace flesh with spirit present themselves.  Through the Holy Spirit, we "put on the Lord Jesus Christ", and thereby "put off" the ways of fallen Adam (Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:22).  Indeed, overcoming temptation always involves a "do" making possible a "do not".  Rather than curse those who curse us, we bless them.  Instead of lying, we speak the truth.  In place of bitterness, we pray for those who hurt us (Luke 6:28; Ephesians 4:25).  Or, as Paul commanded, "Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).  We "walk" in order to "not fulfill".  The queen's throne must not remain empty, as it were, but rather be occupied by Esther.  We put on the Lord and His way in order to put off the lust of the flesh.

   As with Mordecai, our Lord works in us to install His spiritual royalty upon the throne by replacing the rebellious fleshly queen.  Our flesh has no business governing our lives.  "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from sin and death" (Romans 8:2).  Thus, we see temptation as opportunity to "put on" our blessed Lord's character, nature, and way.  Thereby, we put off the ways of the flesh, and thereby our rightful King governs our lives by His Spirit, and in His grace, love, righteousness, and faith.

"But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him."
(Colossians 3:8-10)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.
(John 6:35)


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