"Forever, O Lord,
Thy Word is Settled in Heaven" (continued)
"Enoch walked with God," and God took him out of this world before the flood; but Noah, who "found grace in the eyes of the Lord" went through that terrifying flood.
Joseph was sold into slavery and unjustly thrown into a dungeon for many years before he was made second in command to Pharaoh; but Moses, who by Divine Purpose was saved from death as a baby and became Pharaoh's daughter's son and was reared in the palace and could have possibly been the next Pharaoh, was sent to the backside of the desert for 40 years.
Daniel stood for over 70 years while in captivity as he prayed and interceded for God's Purpose in the land of Israel, yet, he was not allowed to return to the land; but Ezra and Nehemiah returned to restore God's temple because God sovereignly moved upon the kings who held them captive.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever." Amen (Romans 11:33, 36).
So we find that Esther is not delivered from Ahasuerus' harem; on the contrary, she is made his queen. Mordecai, like his contemporaries, Nehemiah and Daniel, has a favored position in the king's household: "Mordecai sat in the king's gate"; whereupon, the Word tells us that Mordecai watched closely over Esther, and he advised her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew. God always has a reason for "the hiding of His power", and this time He hid it in the palace of a pagan king in a woman called Esther, and in a man called Mordecai.
It was after Esther had become queen that the evil Haman rose to power (Esther 3:1) and was placed by the king in the position that was probably second in command in the kingdom. "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" (3?2). Why not? Mordecai undoubtedly bowed to the pagan king, when then would he not bow to Haman? We find the answer to our questions in Esther 3:1 as the Holy Spirit tells us of Haman's ancestry, "Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite"; hence, Haman was a descendant of the Amalekite kings. In Exodus 17:16, the Word of God solemnly records that "the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." And whom the Lord has "war with," so do they who live a life in the Spirit: Therefore Mordecai would not bow!
Exodus seventeen will help us to understand the significance of this "war." Israel was about to be given another lesson in the wilderness. We know that God allowed the wilderness experience so that they could learn by trial what was truly in their hearts and whether they would wholly follow Him or not. The Lord also allowed the wilderness experience so that they could learn that He was the answer to all their need, no matter what the circumstances; for if they learned this, they would become a people completely dependent upon Him in all things! So the people could not find water, they were tired, weary, and complaining as usual; and Moses, following the Lord's directions, had smote the rock and a great river had gushed forth to quench the thirst of a thirsty people: - the water from the smitten rock foretold of the Living Water, the Holy Spirit, to be sent forth by a Smitten Saviour. Then Amalek comes on the scene, and there is war! - for any time God's people are being satisfied by the rivers of living water, war will immediately erupt. And here we find the first mention of that great warrior of God, Joshua, as he goes forth to do battle with the Amalekites; and we know that behind the Amalekites is satan himself, because in the scripture the Amalekites are first mentioned in Genesis 14:7 among that infamous list of the seed of the serpent.
~. T. Austin-Sparks~
(continued with # 18)