Esther

Esther – The Name

Esther is the Persian name meaning “star” which reminds one of Daniel 8:10, speaking about the persecution of the Church, “It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them.” The stars here would be Christians. Esther’s Hebrew name was Hadassah, which means a “myrtle tree” which is featured in the vision granted to Zechariah where he saw the invisibly present Lord riding upon a red horse standing amongst the myrtle trees “that were in the bottom (the shady valley)” (Zechariah 1:8), which was a place of lowness and dis-esteem. This would well represent the position of the Jews at this time in the Book of Esther. They were a chastised people, slow to recover from their self-brought captive state, and not highly regarded in the eyes of the world. Just as a myrtle tree has a sweet smell and a bitter taste, so too Esther was “sweet” in character and was adverse (“bitter”) to the wicked Haman. These two opposites of character are also found in Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Ahasuerus

In Chapter 1 of the Book of Esther we are told of how the King of Persia, King Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes), divorced his wife Vashti following her insubordination. The king’s advisers suggested that he get a new wife and queen to fill her place, and Esther was chosen as Queen. The king represents Jesus. The name Ahasuerus means Lion-King. Jesus Christ is designated “The lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5). Ahasuerus was one of 11 rulers of the MedoPersian Empire. He was preparing his conquest of Greece. In picture, this represents that Jesus also was preparing for a conquest of the Gentile world, represented by the Greek-speaking believers who were served the Gospel by Paul and others. Xerxes made great in-roads into Greece, but he did not conquer the country. Likewise, Jesus made great in-roads into the Gentile world with the Gospel, but he did not convert the world in this age. His conquests, “thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies” (Psalm 45:5, Revelation 6:2), cause arrows of truth to enter the hearts of unbelievers, converting them to be followers of Christ. Thus the historical background of the book of Esther fits well as an episode depicting the beginning of the Gospel Age selection of the Church.

Vashti

The name Vashti means beautiful and she represents the nation of Israel who had exclusive favour for 32 years from when Jesus (the Seed of Promise) came, but then went into disfavour because of their rejection of Jesus and disobedience. As the Apostle Paul said, “Blindness in part is happened to Israel” until the full number of Gentiles is found to complete the Bride class (Romans 11:25). When king Xerxes called Vashti to appear before him in her royal robe and golden crown, she refused to obey him. The lesson for us is that if the Lord invites us to put on the royal robe of Christ’s righteousness, wear the golden crown of the divine nature, and appear before the great king in beauty of character as his bride, we should not refuse such an invitation. We should consider it as a great honor and should obey eagerly and promptly. Those contemplating consecration should also think about this. Vashti’s situation reminds us of the case of King Saul who also was disobedient. “And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you” (1 Samuel 15:28). Vashti and Saul both lost their crowns. If not obedient, any one of us can be replaced and our crown assigned to a better person. Jesus said, “Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Revelation 3:11). There is a very sobering thought here. We can lose our crowns by not holding fast to that which we have, by being disobedient to the truth. This test is even now upon the church.

“The king’s daughter is all glorious within” (Psalms 45:13). Vashti was very beautiful, but only on the outside. She did not exhibit the inner beauty that is pleasing to the Lord. “Your beauty should not be dependent on an elaborate arrangement of the hair, or in the wearing of jewelry or fine clothes; but on the inner personality, the unfading loveliness of a meek and gentle spirit, a thing very precious in the eyes of God” (1 Peter 3:3, 4, Weymouth). We want to be beautiful and precious in God’s sight, who looks not on the outward appearance, but on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

Mordecai

“(5)Now there was a Jew in Susa the citadel whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjamite, (6) who had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away” (Esther 2:5-6).

Esther was the daughter of Mordecai’s uncle; that is, Esther and Mordecai were cousins. After her parents died, the older Mordecai brought up Esther as if she were his own daughter. Mordecai, a Jew, courageously refused to bow to or reverence Haman (King Xerxes’ Prime Minister) and this was noticed by others, as well as by Haman himself. The king’s servants confronted Mordecai and asked why he transgressed the king’s command. In the beginning Mordecai probably delayed the revealment, but after the pressure increased, “he told them that he was a Jew” (Esther 3:4).

At the time of the beauty contest, Esther humbly listened to Mordecai’s advice and obeyed him, not disclosing her identity as a Jewess. In the antitype, the world does not recognize the true Church, the “little flock,” in the present age (Luke 12:32). Nor did the world know Jesus. Thus, the mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” — the secretiveness — is a real factor (Colossians 1:27). Even though Jesus sent out the gospel call through his apostles and, generally speaking, the world is familiar with that call, true Christians are not recognized. Later Esther needed prodding from Mordecai to go in to see the king on behalf of Israel.

Mordecai seems to represent the Ancient Worthies, who will be “princes in all the earth” during the Kingdom Age (Psalms 45:16, Isaiah 1:25-27, Micah 5:5, Ezekiel 44:1-3). The “house” (the earth) was the possession of Esther (the Church), but the king (Jesus) was behind the whole arrangement. Since Haman represents Satan, the god of the present evil world, the elevation of Mordecai would indicate the transfer of power to the Ancient Worthies at the beginning of the Kingdom (2 Corinthians 4:4). Mordecai’s name means “dedicated to Mars,” and with Mars being the god of war, that name also describes the Ancient Worthies, who will be strong for the Lord and for a sense of justice. When Jesus rules with a rod of iron, he will rule through the Ancient Worthies, his earthly representatives, who will be backed by authority and power. The Great Company will be in the role of subservient messengers and servants.

The Beauty Contest

(8) So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. (9) And the young woman pleased him and won his favor. And he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king’s palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem (Esther 2:8, 9).

For this contest, “many young women” were to be brought to the palace in Shushan and given into the “custody of Hegai (the King’s eunuch) who had charge of the women,” for preparation of the women. Like Eliezer with Rebekah, Hegai pictures the Holy Spirit. God gives the custody, care, and nurturing of Christians, His children, to the charge of His Holy Spirit, which enlightens, feeds, and nourishes them (John 14:25-26, Romans 8:26-27).

The process of selecting a queen to replace Vashti corresponds to the high calling of the Church, which come “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Those who appeared to be promising candidates were screened and then inducted into the court of the king for further screening and selection. Psalms 45:10-15 fits in nicely here.

“(10) Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, (11) and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. (12) The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people. (13) All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. (14) In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her. (15) With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.”

When we consecrate, we leave our father’s house, the house of Adam, and we leave the things of this world including human relationships, hopes, aims, and ambitions. Our heavenly king greatly desires to see inner beauty of character in us (1 Samuel 16:7), and he gives us needed experiences to develop it. We are spiritually nourished so that we can be “complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). We add to our robes the beautiful adornments of the Christian graces. Psalm 110:3 refers to these as “holy garments” and Galatians 5:22-23 talks about the fruits of the spirit, which we are to bear. 2 Peter 1:5-7 instructs us to add to our faith seven qualities: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity. Thus, we are to be moral, understanding, self-controlled, enduring, godly, and have two kinds of love: phileo (brotherly affection) and agape (unselfish love for the other). When we finally enter the king’s presence, our clothing is of wrought gold, symbolic of the divine nature, and we receive a golden crown, the crown of life.

The seven maidens assigned to Esther during the preparation were not contestants. They were supplied to Esther, and represent guardian angels who provide us with custodial care through the seven periods of the Gospel Age (Matthew 18:10). Once we enroll into battle as soldiers of the Cross, we too, like Esther, are given special spiritual “food” — the Word of God and an understanding of it, through the holy Spirit (Matthew 4:4, John 6:35, 50-71).

Esther 2:12, 13 — (12) Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women — (13) when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace.

The 12 months of Esther’s purification were “six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours.” The myrrh pictures bitter experiences, whereas the sweet odors and fragrances are the joys of the truth. God balances these opposite experiences for the Christian. “The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” God adds no unnecessary sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). Thus the Christian has a checkered life of summer and winter, of light and darkness experiences. Opposition, persecution, and ostracism — disciplinary experiences — are mixed with joy. The Manna comment for June 4 says: “In the calmer days, when the sun[shine] of [God’s] favor shone brightly upon you, you were quietly laying the foundation of a knowledge of the Truth, and rearing the superstructure of Christian character. Now you are in the furnace to be proved.” There comes a time for change, for hard experiences with a dark cloud and a chill. In Song 4:16, the Bride class says, “Awake, O north wind; and come, O south wind! blow upon my garden, let its spices flow.” The true Christian must have both experiences. Therefore, he asks God for this. “Send sorrow, send pain; sweet are thy messengers, sweet their refrain” are the sentiments of a hymn. The Christian is willing to suffer for Christ, but he wants uplifting experiences too. Thus, Jehovah blesses His children with measured and balanced experiences.

During our selection period on earth, we are to hold our hope firm, steadfast, unto the end (Hebrews 3:6). We should be “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10). To give up because of thinking he or she has failed, results in disaster. You may recognize that you have not made the highest grade, but you must keep the hope to the end of your course. Even Paul said, “I do not even judge myself” (1 Corinthians 4:3) — though in another place he did advise us to examine ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:28). Paul did not condemn himself, for God is the Judge. However, we should judge our actions by inspecting them daily. We are not to reason, “If I do not make the Little Flock, there is always the Great Company class,” for that attitude diminishes the prospect of making the Little Flock. We are to run the race until we reach the finish line. What God thinks in the meantime is His decision. Thus, the 12-month period of Esther’s preparation applies to the lifetime of each one in the high calling.

“In the evening” a candidate came before the king, but the decision was made “in the morning” (Esther 2:14). Each Creative Day began with an evening and ended with a morning (Genesis 1:5,8,13, etc.). “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). The Gospel Age is a “nighttime,” as shown by the Passover picture. Joy will come in the morning, not only for the world in the Kingdom, but also for the Christian who makes his calling and election sure. We are to “pay attention” to prophecy “as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star (Jesus) rises” in our hearts (2 Peter 1:19). If we follow properly, Jesus will rise up in our heart and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Each one has had the “evening” in which to please the King. At the end of our course we die, and when the “morning” comes, a decision is rendered.

(15) When the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his own daughter, to go in to the king, she asked for nothing except what Hegai the king’s eunuch [the keeper of the women, KJV], who had charge of the women, advised. Now Esther was winning favor in the eyes of all who saw her. (16) And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign …” (Esther 2:15-16)

When a candidate was to be presented to the king, she made herself as attractive as possible. She fixed her hair, wore a becoming dress, used a certain perfume, etc. How did Esther handle this? Verse 15 states that Esther “required nothing except what Hegai … advised.” She acquiesced fully to Hegai and left the choice with him. She did not exercise her own will, but complied with his decision, trusting in God’s keeping power, instructions, and advice for attaining the throne. In the antitype, the consecrated are instructed what Jesus would like to see in our characters. God and Jesus instruct us, but compliance is largely a voluntary matter. To be faithful, we have to acquiesce, submit, and be beheaded for the witness, or testimony, of Christ (Revelation 20:4). The truly consecrated, those who attain the high calling, will leave the choice with the “keeper.” John 6:38, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” Romans 6:4, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” At consecration we vow to be dead with Christ, meaning we give up our earthly rights and acquiesce to the will of God, preferring to suffer with Christ and lay down our lives in sacrifice (1 John 3:16, 2 Timothy 2:12).

When Esther was presented to the king, she “obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.” So we hope to be viewed by the holy angels, specially our guardian angels. They did not decide her acceptance, but they were impressed, feeling she would be selected as the queen. Over the 2,000 years of the Gospel Age, some guardian angels may have successively guarded 20 to 40 Christians. As they watch those they are assigned to, they know everything about them. God makes the final decision, but the guardian angels could approximate their destiny.

Esther “was taken to king Ahasuerus into his royal palace” “in the tenth month” of “the seventh year of his reign,” still future in the antitype. The Esther class comprises all 144,000 faithful saints. They will enter the King’s royal house at the marriage. The risen saints wait with Jesus for the arrival of the feet members. When complete, all will be introduced to the Heavenly Father at the wedding.

The “seventh year” suggests the seventh (and last) stage of the Church, the end of the Gospel Age. As a class, the feet members will be caught up in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52). Then the Little Flock will be presented complete. Emperor Jehovah will be seated on His throne, with Jesus on His right hand.

“(17) … the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. (18) Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity” (Esther 2:17-18).

In the story of Esther, the virgins who failed to become the bride were not sent home, but were given a secondary place in the king’s household. These represent the Great Company, referred to as “the virgins, her companions (Psalm 45:14),” also termed “foolish virgins” in Matthew 25:3,8.

The feast that followed Esther’s selection, the second gathering called “Esther’s feast,” corresponds to the marriage supper, which the Great Company class will attend (Revelation 19:9). They will serve “before the throne” (Revelation 7:15).

The Ancient Worthies

Esther 2:19, 20, “When the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate. Esther had not yet shown her kindred, as Mordecai had charged her.” Mordecai represents the Ancient Worthies.

Verse 21, “In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.” The king’s gate was a place of judgment, and the Ancient Worthies will have a place of prominence in the earthly kingdom, that will begin at Israel. “The law” will go forth from Zion, and “the word of the LORD” from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3). Later, in the due, the general resurrection of mankind will begin.

As Mordecai wrote a new law in the king’s name which counteracted and Haman’s wicked law of death (Esther 8:8-10), a New Law Covenant will be inaugurated with Israel that will bring life to mankind. Haman was hanged upon gallows he had prepared for the innocent (Esther 7:10), and Satan will receive the penalty of death that he inflict upon humanity. Haman fortune was given to Esther who turned it over to Mordecai to administer for her, representing the transfer of Satan’s usurped dominion of the world to the church, reigning with Christ, who will be represented by the Ancient Worthies. This will fulfill Daniel’s prophecy, “The kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27).

Haman’s ten sons were killed, as the powers of this world will pass away also (Esther 9:10). The narrative closes with Ahasuerus (Jesus) in control (Esther 10:1), Esther his queen vested “with all authority” (Esther 9:29), and Mordecai “advanced” by the king, as will be the Ancient Worthies. The human family will be blessed evermore.

References:

  • Br. Frank Shallieu, Old Testament Studies – The Book of Esther, 1996 Study
  • Queen Esther, Beauties of the Truth, Volume 25, Number 3, August 2014
  • Br. Donald Holliday, Esther and Our Times – The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom 1999 – Sept-Oct

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Isaiah 45:15 – A GOD Who Hides Himself

ISA. 45, 15.jpg

Have you ever thought that God has withdrawn his favor from you?

Have you ever questioned… Is God really still dealing with me on a personal level, like His daughter/son?

We think to ourselves, could I really be in such a bad spiritually state?

We question ourselves:

Why could God be hiding from me?

In Isaiah 45:15 (NASV) we read, Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!”

Here we note that hiding from man, is one of God’s attributes. Is it because we have done something to displease the Lord, and where God disapproves of our actions? Perhaps in such a situation, we find we don’t have the prayer life anymore or one that we would wish to have where there is ease of communication without guilt or feeling unworthy. Or, we may be saying to ourselves “my life is no different than that of the world around me.”

So when we can’t distinguish any difference in our life then in the life of a person who has not given himself to the Lord then we say “there is no specific purpose to my individual experiences compared to another person in the world.”

Or, perhaps our experiences feel like they no longer have any spiritual meaning when we can’t identify what the experiences are for, and we get into a rut; when our experiences mean I am merely just existing or surviving this experience and I know I am just existing because I experience, but I cannot identify with me this experience spiritually.

Maybe we recognize that for most of us, when we grasped the Truth, we had a great outburst of emotion for it — we loved it; we were enthused about it; we talked about it; we were excited about it and when we heard a discourse we would get goose bumps from joy! And all of a sudden we come to a place where that is no longer true. We just go to meeting because it’s a habit and we expose ourselves to creation experiences which we are sort of glad about having, but beyond that, there is no quickening of the heart beat.

Here are some possible reasons WHY we may experience that God has hidden himself from us:-

(A) God wishes to AWAKE US TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

It is good to remember that when it comes to God’s dealing with anyone, they are never intended to be a harsh, burdensome experience but God’s aim of  allowing certain trying experiences in our lives, is for the purpose of CORRECTING a situation…. correction of action … and ultimately to correct our character so that we may learn to be perfect  (Matthew 5:48) – that is, “reckoned as righteous” through our Faith (see Romans Chapter 4) and LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS (Hebrews 1:9) so that we can be used in His future kingdom as administrators of the blessings to all the world of mankind – teaching mankind how to walk up the Highway of Holiness, having attained to the highest levels while going through the experiences of the Gospel Age now, while the permission of evil abounds.

In Hebrews 12:6, Apostle Paul writes, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

The chastenings of the Lord are not necessarily designed for punishment, but rather for discipline. They are necessary as a part of our training, and to test our humility before the Lord, and our loyalty to him. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). This is what it means to be “patient in tribulation” (Rom.12:12); and if we are thus patient we will rejoice in a hope which “maketh not ashamed.”

In Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) we read, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Our Heavenly Father does not deal with all in this manner but only with some, His sons.

He thus dealt with our Lord Jesus — “the captain of our salvation” — as he lived in this world of sin and suffered the “contradiction of sinners against Himself.” For, “what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 2:7).

 So the apostle admonishes that we “look unto Him” lest we become weary and faint in our minds (Hebrews 2:2,3). The rigors and the discipline to which a well-trained child is subjected by a loving father may at times seem irksome, unpleasant and painful, but it is for the ultimate good and development of the child in every sense. So it is in the life of the child of GOD but in a perfect manner.

The tests of faith, of fidelity, of love for God and righteousness, of obedience, of patient endurance and suffering wrongfully, the discipline of the Word under adversity, the submission in love to the Father’s will, and an awareness of the guidance of the Spirit, are some aspects of the Father’s discipline as He trains us for the purpose He has in view.

These are all tangible evidences of the heavenly Father’s love and concern. Like those to whom the apostle wrote, we also tend to forget this when the way is hard and difficult. Frustrations, pressures, and perplexities surround us. “Ye have forgotten” says the apostle, “the exhortation that speaketh unto you as unto sons” (Hebrews 2:5).

If we remember this always, we will rejoice even when all things seem to be against us as we earnestly seek to do His will, inasmuch as we know we are under His loving hand.

The life of the child of God, wholly surrendered to Him and to Christ, is an entirely new life, in and of Godly character, under the Father’s influence, control and leading, the Heavenly Father’s constant special and infinite care for our training in the principles of His laws, so that, we can be ministers of these laws and processes of training for all humanity.

We are “hid with Christ in God” (Romans 8:1-4; 8:14, 28; John 1:13; 16:27; Luke 12:4-7, 22-32; 1 Peter 5:6, 7; Colossians 3:1-4). Sometimes the Father withholds or hides Himself in order that the depth of our longing and love for Him and for Christ may be put to the test, that we may be conscious of a sense of loss, that me may yearn for Him and learn to fully depend on Him to reveal Himself more fully in all His love and tenderness.

God may withdraw His favor to awaken us to the situation that we have begun to slip or that we are near the point of slipping and that we need to reassert ourselves spiritually. The best example of this in the Bible, is when we look at the account of Queen Esther.

In the 4th chapter of the Book of Esther, we are told that Esther, (who had become the Queen of the Persian empire), had now an enemy against her uncle Mordecai and all the Jewish people (so this would include her, as she was Jewish). A man named Haman had become a chief counselor of the empire and had put into motion a plan that would mean the destruction of every Jew throughout the Medo-Persian empire. Mordecai realizes this; he tears his clothes; he puts on sack cloths and ashes, and he sits in mourning. Esther’s initial response is documented in Esther 4:4, “So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.”

So we can see that Esther’s first response is “let us stop mourning; let us not face the reality of the problems that we have.” Esther’s initial reaction is not a good reaction. Her reaction is one of not comprehending the true danger of the situation. It is Mordecai who wakens her to the danger by mentioning one thing specifically and that is, that this is not a danger, remote to someone else; it is, that YOUR VERY LIFE IS AT STAKE! YOU TOO, won’t escape this! You too, are Jewish and so your in just as much danger of death as I am in and all the rest of our people, the Jews, are in. But then Esther experiences the alienation that she has already experiences from the King himself and this is noticed in Esther 4:11, where she is speaking to Hathach, one of the King’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and instructs him to say to Mordecai.

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).

Esther realizes that she has become estranged from the King and notice, that she says, as if “I am free to go to him but if I go to him without being invited to, by him, then I am afraid my life may be at stake even earlier because I have been so presumptuous to come to him.”

We may experience this too, in our spiritual lives as consecrated. We may at some point in our spiritual walk feel like we do not feel free to go to our Heavenly Father. We feel “I am not bidden to come to God anymore or feel God is not communicating with me anymore; that God has hidden Himself from me (just like King Xerxes has from Esther), Jehovah God has hidden himself for the past perhaps 30 days too, and we don’t feel we can go and plead our cause.

And this is what Mordecai is bringing out to Esther — the reason for Him hiding. He is saying, “remember Esther … You’re life is at stake! You think you will die if you go to the King … I know you will die if you do not go!”

So in our lives God may bring us to this point in our lives to show us that if we don’t continuously communicate with Him, then we WILL DIE!

You know dear friends, there is a far greater then Haman out there looking to kill us … that is… a “Haman” who is called Satan. Satan wishes to kill our New Creature developing in us — the embryonic New Creation which is developing into maturity until the Jesus agape love in us, overflows towards our beloved brethren and our will becomes dead to self but alive in Christ — being crucified in ALL we think and do, having our minds super-glued on Christ Jesus no matter how ridiculous we sound to the world or how humiliated we are for striving to conform to the LIKENESS OF OUR LORD JESUS.

Dear brethren in Christ, as we are now on an arena and we are a spectacle unto angels and men, let us endure it with great Joy in our Hope that promised for the faithful unto death isn’t just eternal life in perfect conditions, but IMMORTAL life and those who suffer with CHRIST for doing good now, shall reign with CHRIST. They are those who grow into the maturity in Christ, learning and CUTTING OFF and TURN AWAY from sin -from mistakes made in blind ignorance according to any uniquely individual situation allowed by God, and turning completely away from past errors, learning to well appreciate the failings of all their brethren and the world through their own experiences of enduring the sacrificial experiences as prospective Bride of Christ members, and learning to only FULLY depend on and seek out their Heavenly Father’ will in ALL.

So this experience is to help bring us back to the place where we will come and pour out our hearts to our Heavenly Father, but in doing it, we face that one big emotional problem: that problem of … “well I can’t do this because I’ve gotten out of the habit … I don’t have that feeling anymore.” And that’s when we have to awaken to the righteousness that says, “even if I don’t feel comfortable in praying to God, if I don’t do it, the result is certainly DISASTROUS! If I do do this, then there is the ONE and the ONLY potential of overcoming in doing this and as we come to the remedies we’ll find that the first remedy, is the remedy suggested by the first cause, and that is PRAYER.

PRAYER is the beginning of the remedy even though it may be the very hardest to apply when we feel estranged from the Lord individually.

This situation of Queen Esther’s, may remind us of a certain class in the Bible; a class mentioned in the prophecy of Jeremiah 8; a class that ends up saying “the harvest has ended the summer is passed and we are not saved.” That class that speaks those words in Jeremiah 8:20, in Jeremiah 8:11 said that the reason for their punishment is because they said “they have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”

Is this not the very thing that Esther was doing! Esther was telling Mordecai “your problem is you need to get out of your sack clothes … You need new clothes.” And Mordecai was telling her that’s like saying “peace, peace when there is no peace.” That is not the problem but rather is the symptom. The problem was that she needed to approach the King on behalf of Israel.

And so the alienation we sometimes feel is to awaken us to the deeper problems that lie there to bring us to the Lord not to solve the alienation but to solve a deeper problem; to find out what it is to not keep us away.

(B) God may hide himself from us, to teach us FAITH, TRUST and RELIANCE upon Him through Jesus Christ, our Master and King.

Sometimes our Heavenly Father teaches us that our life isn’t different from anybody else’s or to bring us to a place where we can’t see any purpose from an experience, He then says,

“That’s when YOU NEED TO TRUST IN ME when you can’t trace Me.” This is brought out beautifully in Job 23: 3-5,8,9,15 (NIV) and this pin-points the problem.

(3-5) If only I knew where to find Him; if only I could go to His dwelling! I would state my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what He would answer me, and consider what He would say to me.”

(8-9) “But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.”

(11) “My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.”

This is a sad set of scriptures. Job looks everywhere for God, yet cannot find God to feel that He is with him in his experiences at a time of experiencing so much pain and misery. These experiences seem over his head and as a result, Job was beginning to sink in the experiences he had. It isn’t until later in the Book of Job, that Job starts swimming upward again and begins getting over these experiences.

In Job chapter 23: 3-5, Job wanted to find God to plead his case before God.

Let’s look at verse 6 & 7 to fill in some answers.

(6) “Would He vigorously oppose me? No, He would not press charges against me. (7) There the upright can establish their innocence before Him, and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.”

In verse 6, Job realizes if he could find God, he would find Him a Merciful God, who would give him strength.
In verse 7 is the realization that if we feel we have lost God, we firstly need to find our Advocate — the one who pleads on our behalf! We know it is our Beloved, Precious Jesus who is the Best Lawyer in the whole universe!

When we feel we have lost our ability to approach God then more than ever we feel “if only someone spoke God’s language and could get through to Him for me”, and that is exactly what Jesus does! And Job was as if saying, “if only Jesus would argue for me … if I could just enlist the upright one on my side, then he would deliver me from this judgement forever … Then I would be over this particular experience”.

So friends, IT IS FINDING THE UPRIGHT ONE, JESUS, IN OUR LIVES.

And Job says he can’t. He goes upward, downward, backward, front, and simply can’t find him. So now let’s look at verses 10 & 12:

(10) “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
(12) I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”

So just like Job highlights through these words of his, let us look for the realization that even though we feel God is hiding himself from us for a brief moment, He knows exactly where we are and has not departed from us, and it is HE who FIRST FOUND US, called out us of darkness into His marvelous light, and adopted us as we are told in Ephesians 1:5 (NLT). God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”

God wishes for us to develop faith in Him, that He is taking charge in our life and to TRUST COMPLETELY in Him.

In verse 11 & 12, Job says what he felt he had done, and they are a stimulus to us about things WE MUST DO to feel this pull to our Heavenly Father. We must trust and be convinced that God will pull us through and make us more than gold IF:

1.      Our feet will hold to His steps;
2.      His way we keep and do not decline;
3.      We do not go back from the commandment of His lips;
4.      We esteem the words of His mouth more than necessary food.

It is at this point God is telling us we will be in a good place IF WE DO OUR PART. God is saying, “I’m putting you in a place where you can’t see Me, but if you just do your responsibilities then trust that then I will do what I promise to do and bring you closer to Me.”

And Job tells why he’s so confident in Job 23: 13-14. “But He stands alone, and who can oppose Him? He does whatever He pleases. He carries out His decree against me, and many such plans He still has in store.”

The Leeser’s Jewish Bible translation of Job 23:14 reads, He will bring to completion what is destined for me.”

Each one of the Church of the Body of Christ members (that’s you and me dear brethren) are being trained and fitted for a peculiar specific and each different part of the body that requires a different treatment. I can’t be treated in exactly the same way as Sister X, Y or Z or Brother A, B or C as we each need specific experiences and as we come into these experiences as their all different, we don’t see what the end result is, and God’s saying to us, “the reason I give you these experiences is because I want you to have confidence that I KNOW BEST what the end result should be and so I’m not going to let you see what this end result is, so that you will learn that my hand will lead you through this to safely overcome and develop a Christlike character that I require from you, so that I can present you to my Son when I’m through with you.”

It will take every inch of TRUST, of DISCIPLINE over the mind, and FAITH. It will require us to LAY DOWN OUR COMPLETE UTTER ALL for God to direct us now so we can prove to Him our LOYALTY to God’s PRINCIPLES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS so that we can receive the Highest possible reward because of proving to God that we please Him through overcoming the most unfavorable circumstances of the permission of evil.

And the end of this verse is saying that just like God has this kind of experience in store, so HE has other experiences for us also.

Now, the hiding of God’s face is only one tool in His tool box. 

The heavenly Father has tools of throwing His arms around us too!

At other times in our walk up towards spiritual Holy “Mount Zion”, God is showing us, that He really likes what we are doing.

God gives us His tools of directing us, just when we need that direction.
Our Divine Father testing us to the words we sing in that hymn,

“I’d rather walk in the dark with God,

than go alone in the light”. 

So would you really? That is what God is TESTING.

God is as if saying, “Are you willing to really walk in the dark with me when you can’t see the next step? Will you trust to take the steps in the dark and know that it will lead to gold? Would you really rather walk by Faith then walk by sight? Show me how”.

Let us look at one more thing here. Job’s attitude in Job 10:2. Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.”

This same word “bitter” is used in Deuteronomy 31:27. “For I know thy rebellion…?” The word “rebellion” here, is the same word as the one written as “bitter” in Job 23:2.

Job in verse 2 is saying, ” I just want to argue with God and show and explain to Him that this hiding from me just isn’t fair!”

This attitude is the one God is trying to correct, to bring us into a complacent one that Job shows and had in Job 23:10.

(C) God may hide himself to TEST THE SINCERITY OF OUR CONSECRATION.

How much easier it is to say “whatever your will God, I’ll do it!” but then when hammered down as life unfold, through the Christian pilgrimage to our heavenly home, how easy is it to accept our Heavenly Father’s will when we experience agonizing experiences of pain, sickness & disease, and death?

When we first made our consecration, it may have been far more easily said “God may it be your will”, yet we learn to understand what this means ONLY through the BIGGEST BLESSING OF ALL that follow: LIFE; EXPERIENCE; PHYSICAL and MENTAL PAIN, and /or SICKNESS, and SUFFERING.

We now see that being a soldier in the Lord’s army takes every inch of mental and physical energy that we have into the fight for the victory of being a member of the 144,000!

Never give up!

Never, never, never give up!

A martyr means “a witness” and to be a witness of CHRIST will cost us our ENTIRE ALL not just half of us… No way! God doesn’t want a lukewarm CHRISTIAN as a King to reign with His Son Jesus in future… God does not want a COLD Christian either who has a non- repentant or non-forgiving heart… God WANTS A ZEALOUS follower of Christ who shall defend JESUS and those who are His; who have professed consecrating into Christ, to the best of their human abilities -seeing them all as better than self (Phil. 2:3).

So our tools to overcoming is prayer and the studying of Holy Scriptures every day and immersing the mind into Scripture at every point you have even if it’s a few minutes here or there then do that! ALL our time is consecrated unto the Lord so we no longer even own it, as we lay down our ALL on the altar of sacrifice daily, and daily seek to fulfill our covenant sacrifice until death.

Never stop to rest from activity in the Lord’s service, even for one minute!

Don’t ever think the battle is won till faithful until death!

By hiding himself, God is in fact asking us “are you willing to take a path where you now can no longer identify with me, where you find your confused and say God how does this experience identify with me?”

This was the test our Lord Jesus experienced too. Remember when Jesus hung on the cross, for the first time he did not call God “Father but said:

 “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

that is,

“My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Jesus felt our Divine Father’s face hidden from him!

Look at the depth that Jesus felt this experience …

I mean here is a PERFECT human, the Son of the Almighty Jehovah God, who had had a prior relationship with the Father when he was the Logos in his pre-human existence. Jesus knew God intimately!

God was testing our Lord Jesus to the very depth of his consecration. Could he take that alienation? In Jesus case, the experience was very temporary. It had to be, as his life was very temporary; it was only a more few hours on the cross and so at last his life WAS RESTORED and Jesus’s last words (which were called out by him in a loud voice) were,

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).

God had tested Jesus to the point of seeing if Jesus would really take and accept any experience, even the experience of turning his back on Jesus, turning away from him so that he could not even see the Father’s face.

(D) God may hid himself from us to TEACH US leadership and principles.

Under the Old Law, the Israelites were told exactly how to order their life. They were given a set of Laws and were instructed by God how to follow these laws to inherit eternal life. Every experience of life related to what God did want or didn’t want.

But when it comes to the Church of the Firstborn, God says, “I’m not going to give you a whole set of Laws and tell you what to do and what not to do, but rather I want YOU TO THINK OF IT FOR YOURSELVES … I’ll give you the material to based your thoughts upon, (and that’s in the Bible) but YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE what I want you to do and what I don’t want you to do.” And that’s HARDER, as it’s no longer the case of reading what the law is, but trying to learn HOW GOD OPERATES. And as a result God gives us the Gospel, a broad sketch outlines of HIS will. He gives us a book full of biographies – of both Old and New Testament characters and God doesn’t tell us which experiences they did right and which they did wrong but gives us these experiences and tells us “now you decide which ones I approve of and which ones are right and which ones are wrong based on an EDUCATED CONSCIENCE that you’ll gain from works in developing your Faith in Me”. And in most cases, God doesn’t give us the answers in our own individual experiences but wants us to think on His principles to deal with our challenges of life.

God does not want us as His children to memorize rules, but HE wishes us to be like philosophers and reasoned upon and apply His Righteous Principles… to figure out what He would wish of us and this takes continual leaning on HIM and HIS word through prayer and study.

That is WHY our Father hides himself, so it is better for us to see the principles.

Let’s share a practical example.

You have a new employee and there is only so long you can stand over your new friend’s shoulder and say “do it this way, this way, this way and this way.” After a while, you need to tell the new employee, “this is the end result I want so do it the best way you can.” You LET THEM figure out the best way in realizing how to accomplish the job and the LORD is telling us the same thing. “I want your character like mine. I’m not going to show you every step. I want you to figure it out on your own based on the principles to develop leadership potential.
Why does God work like this? Because God’s training us!

For what? To be Kings who will reign with Christ.

And a King must learn to think.

A King must know what the principles are to actively apply them.

God is training us to be teachers. There are good teachers and bad teachers. One feature distinguishes the two:

A bad teacher — teaches merely facts. He tells you what is the answer. What it is.

A good teacher — teaches how to think and how to arrive at the facts. These students can surpass their teacher and then they become even better teachers.

God is a good teacher. God is saying “if you just look at Me you’ll never learn to teach others so I’m going to hide from you so you can figure out what I’m trying to accomplish in your life.

God teaches us that we must be governed in our life by PRINCIPLES, not by emotions.

The emotional response to Truth can sometimes be an asset but it can be out of balance in our lives because that’s the only response we look for, so God may withdraw the emotional response and withdrawn that which produces that emotional response to see if we’re really serving him out of the principles of righteousness.

(E ) God hides himself in order to STIMULATE STUDY. 

We learn to go back to our Father’s word to see why He is hiding His face.

It’s like God’s way of tapping us on the shoulder and saying, “Read 2 Timothy 2:15 again … ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.'”

Just as one doesn’t study a verse of the Bible out of its context, so too we study the book of our lives IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR LIVES and we don’t take an experience all by itself and say why did GOD let this develop but we relate it to the context of our whole life.

When we go to school to be trained we relate what we study to the job we will do afterwards. So to, in the school of Christ, we are being trained for a particular job which includes many functions and let’s incorporate them into one job — Mediator.

What makes a good mediator?

The Vines Expository Dictionary definitions the word “mediator” in the following way:

“A mediator should himself possess the nature and attributes of him toward whom he acts (man) and should likewise participate in the nature of those for whom he acts (God). Only by being possessed of both deity and humanity can the mediator comprehend the claims of the one and the needs of the other.

And in the final analysis that is exactly the point. We will have the Divine nature (deity) if we are faithful unto death. Jesus got the Divine nature at death, when he was faithful. Only by having that, could he really understand what God required because then he shared the same requirements. Only by being with men and possessing their nature could he understand what they needed and he could then diagnose them. And so with us. Our experiences are to give us a common identity with the world. In fact that is why our life is no different from the world around us, and we’re told it wouldn’t be.

(F) God hides his face to BROADEN OUR BASE OF SYMPATHY

1 Corinthians 10:13 talks about what kind of experiences God gives us.

1 COR. 10, 13 -with cross

There is no experience we have that is different to man’s. So we look around and see that our experiences are no different to those we see around us and so therefore we say…”God is not with me”… It is just the opposite. BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE AROUND YOU, GOD IS WITH YOU!

If we look for our lesson and apply ourselves in learning to trust God’s providential care and leading we will know how to endure the experience and use the strength God gives us to overcome any and every test of character development God allows to come our way.

Our Divine Father tells us, “I’m giving you these experiences because that’s what you are here for… to learn to be part of the Mediator.”

In the tabernacle picture, you had two animals making ONE SIN OFFERING. But there was a distinction between those two animals. One signified Christ; one signified the Church. They both died; both had the blood applied on the mercy seat. But the blood of the bullock was for Aaron the High priest and his house, the Levites. The blood of the goat was for the whole family of Israel.

Christ’s part in the sin offering is peculiarly and particularly for the Church and the Church’s part of the sin offering is peculiarity and particularly for mankind.

And we can substantiate this in Hebrews 2: 17-18, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15,16).

So mankind will have the same experiences that the Church has because that is required in the body of experiences in the sin offering to most effectually help back the world of mankind in the kingdom that someone has gone through a life no different; that they have gone through the most common experience that mankind has had and that is universal and that is, that God is hiding his face from me.

So one of the most common experiences he must give us is that He hides His face from us so that we can learn to find it and so that, in turn, we can help mankind find God’s face again so that their lives are more meaningful even as we look to find God’s face in our experiences so that likewise the experiences can be more meaningful to us.
May the Lord add His bless.

Acknowledgment

Br. Carl Hagensick – words from his discourse titled “When God Hides Himself” have been used to create this post.

 

I KNOW NOT WHAT AWAITS ME

I know not what awaits me,
  God kindly veils my eyes,
And o’er each step of my onward way
  He makes new scenes to rise;
And every joy He sends me comes
  A sweet and glad surprise.

Where He may lead I’ll follow,
  My trust in Him repose;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows“;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows.”

One step I see before me,
  ’Tis all I need to see,
The light of heaven more brightly shines
  When earth’s illusions flee;
And sweetly through the silence comes,
  His loving, “Trust in Me!”

Oh, blissful lack of wisdom,
  ’Tis blessed not to know;
He holds me with His own right hand,
  And will not let me go,
And lulls my troubled soul to rest
  In Him who loves me so.

So on I go not knowing;
  I would not if I might;
I’d rather walk in the dark with God
  Than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk by faith with Him
  Than go alone by sight.

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/14/isaiah-4515-a-god-who-hides-himself/

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