Preparation for Encounters with the King
By Rod Nichols (Rod@RodNichols.com)
Recently, the Lord had me camped in the book of Esther for several weeks. Esther is a book most people pass over to get to the good stuff. It’s interesting that God is not mentioned at all in Esther and yet it teaches some very powerful and important messages.
God wants to have a closer relationship with His children. In the beginning, He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. God enjoyed intimate fellowship with His children. Then sin separated them from the Father. The second Adam, Jesus, came to earth to bring God’s children back to Him. The chasm between God’s holiness and our sin has been bridged. We now have access to the throne room. However, there is still protocol to approaching the King.
Esther was a Jewish peasant girl. When King Xerxes went looking for a new queen, his servants gathered all of the most beautiful virgins in the kingdom. The Bible refers to Jesus as the bridegroom and to the church as the bride of Christ. Just like the virgins gathered to King Xerxes, we are to be the spotless bride for the Son of God. We couldn’t do this on our own, it is the blood of Jesus that washes our sin away and makes us white as snow.
Gathered with many other virgins into the king’s harem, Esther sought to learn about king Xerxes. She befriended his chamberlain and learned about the king’s favorite colors and types of clothes. Unlike the rest of the girls who wanted to do it their own way, Esther wanted to do it the king’s way. Today, many of God’s children are still trying to do it their own way. God has given us an instruction booklet called the Bible (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). He wants us to read His book, so that we may learn the King’s ways, His wants, and His likes.
Esther had to submit herself to twelve months of purification. She soaked in bathes of myrrh and perfumes. Daily beautification rituals removed blemishes. Instruction removed the hard edges and taught her proper protocol. We too must submit ourselves to a purification process. Our sinful flesh stinks to God. Jesus died for our sins, so that in the end we will not be judged for them (those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord), however our sin still stinks. God wants us to submit to His purification process. First, we must come to him broken and open to His discipline. Second, we need to ask Him to search our hearts for any evil thing. Third, when God reveals things like pride, envy, coveting, gossip, greed, doubt, lust, lack of submission to authorities, and others, we must be willing to admit our sins and repent. He is quick to forgive.
In several places the Bible talks about the refining of silver. The silversmith takes the raw silver, with all its impurities and submits it to heat. The heat melts the silver and brings the impurities to the top. The scum that forms on top is called dross and is scooped away by the smith. He continues this process until the silver is so pure that he can see his face. This is the same purification process that we must submit ourselves to. God will turn up the heat, scoop off the dross (impurities), until He can see His face – the face of Jesus – in us.
Prior to Esther’s encounter with the king, she spent time with the chamberlain creating clothes that would really wow Xerxes. It is important for us to do the same thing. The Bible teaches us the kind of clothing that will attract the King. Romans 13:14 says: “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” How do we do that? Accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Be baptized in water – identifying with Him in death, burial, and resurrection. Then take on His qualities – love, humility, truth, and service. Colossians 3:12 says: “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Verse 14 goes on to add: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Properly clothed, we will be attractive to the King.
Esther spent many hours under the tutelage of the chamberlain learning protocol. The Bible teaches us much about protocol as well, which means that we must meditate daily over the Word of God. Psalm 51:17 reads: “The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise.” Brokenness attracts the King more than any other attitude.
Revelation 5:8 tells us that our prayers are like incense; a sweet aroma to God’s nostrils. They cover up the stink of our flesh and allow our pure spirit to communicate with the Spirit. Joshua 22:27 says: “We will worship the Lord at his sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices, and fellowship offerings.” Thankfully, we do not have to bring slaughtered animals to the altar at our church, to be burned as a sin offering to God. Jesus covered our sin with His blood, so that all we have to do is present our bodies in worship of God.
Lastly, is fasting. Not eating solid food and drinking good tasting drink in honor of the Lord was quite common in the days of Esther. Undoubtedly she fasted during her time of preparation for her encounter with King Xerxes. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus said: “When you fast . . .” Notice that He didn’t say “if” you fast, so clearly He intended for His followers to fast. From a physiological standpoint, fasting cleanses the body of toxins. Spiritually, it also purifies. During a fast, we draw closer to God and He shows us our impurities. Through repentance, God cleanses us in preparation for our encounters with Him.
God is longing for His children to draw nearer to Him. He longs to open heaven so that we might enter in, as Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John did. Tommy Tenney, in his book God Chasers, describes a time when this happened at a church in Texas. Churches in various parts of the world are experiencing an open heaven. God is no respecter of persons, He wants to open heaven to you as well.
When Esther approached the throne room of Xerxes, she fell to her knees and bowed before the king. All of her preparation was evident to the king. She found favor and Xerxes extended his scepter. We too must be prepared to approach the throne room of God. We should approach with awe and respect; in brokenness and with an attitude of worship. If we do, our preparation will be evident and we will find favor with the King and He will invite us to enter in.
Our eternal life with God was insured when we accepted Jesus as our Savior and gave our lives over to Him. How we live the rest of our earthly life is up to us. We can live it in the world, knowing we have fire insurance or we can live it in the spirit by entering into the throne room and experiencing God’s manifest presence. One time in the presence of the Glory of God and you will be ruined for life; ruined for the ordinary.
Esther was serious about her relationship with the king. Out of the many beautiful girls, she was chosen. God is just waiting for His children to get serious about their relationship with Him. How about you . . . are you ready?
Rod Nichols is an Associate Pastor at Truth and Grace Foursquare Church in Tacoma, WA. He is also a published author and accomplished public speaker and teacher. Rod’s latest articles and books can be found at www.RodNichols.com. Rod is married with five children. He and his wife Karen live in beautiful Washington State. Rod is available as a freelance writer. If you'd like to hire him, e-mail Rod@RodNichols.com.
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