Esther 4:15-16 (the message)
Esther sent back her answer to Mordecai: “Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even though it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.”
Mordecai left and carried out Esther’s instructions.
Recently I heard this quote in a sermon by Pastor Jimmy Evans (author of “Marriage on the Rock”…great resource for marriage!): Fear is a prophet spirit from Hell that leads you to make decisions God will not honor.
As soon as I heard him say this I jumped up and grabbed the journal I use for taking notes. It stung me…it reverberrated…
Fear is the voice of the enemy trying to consume you with thoughts and emotions about what could happen as though it will happen. Fear, once it takes root, drives our motives. We become almost obsessed with preventing or running from what we fear. The way Jimmy Evans said it hit the nail on the head for me…when we are consumed by fear we make choices controlled by fear…choices God will not and cannot honor. Often our lives take wrong turns and we end up in a mess or causing a mess because we were responding to this “prophet spirit” that wants nothing more than to steal God’s best plan for our lives as well as those around us.
I think back to my early twenties. I was a mess! As a child and teenager I let the fear of rejection and abandonment take root in my life. Goodness, as a child you can hardly prevent it! As a child you believe the actions (or lack of) and words (or lack of) of adults are concrete…absolutely right. By the time I hit my early to mid twenties I was driven by my fear of abandonment…I was grasping and clinging for love. I was so afraid I would not be loved that I made decisions God could not honor. Basically, it’s called sin. Many times the sin in our lives is born from a root of fear. And being real, fear often leads to selfishness…such a consumption with ourselves that everything about life is filtered through a lens of “what about me…how does this make me feel…what does this say about me…me, me, me.” Often times we don’t even realize we are living this way. Fear has had its heyday and we are like the frog in the kettle…we didn’t recognize the heat because it was so insidious.
This morning, as I read back over Esther’s response to Mordecai’s rebuke, I was reminded of this quote from Jimmy Evans. I thought about how fear had been yapping at Esther’s heels. Her first response to Mordecai was basically, I’m not going to the king! He could kill me! But as her older cousin rebuked her and spoke the truth to her that she was queen for this very purpose, she was able to hear God’s truth over the lies of the prophet spirit of fear. Fear was telling Esther she would die. God, through Mordecai, was telling her she was part of His plan of deliverance!
I really admire Esther. Not just wow, she is a great Bible character admire. I mean my heart is stirred by her “if I die, I die” heart. See, even though she must have still experienced the emotions of fear, she made a monumental choice that she would make the choice that honored God. Perhaps the voice of fear was still whispering in her ear. I would guess the enemy did not give up so easily…after all this would not be the last time Satan tried to stamp out the Jewish race. What made the difference? Esther recognized truth. She heard the voice of truth and chose to put herself in the hands of God. Knees trembling? I bet. Heart pounding? I can only imagine.
What about our fears? Yes, I was an emotional mess because of fear. I was trying so hard to be what I thought would earn love in hopes of alleviating my fear that I would not be safely loved. My fears continued to drive me in marriage. Oh, we think we know the solution to our paralysis. We think if we hear enough affirmation, receive enough attention, earn enough respect, demand enough of our way, achieve enough success, lose enough weight, hear the begging of forgiveness, feel the highs of power, have the biggest house, cash the check with the most zeros, raise the smartest kids, obtain the coveted position or even overcome our addictions and destructive patterns we will then have silenced the prophet. And yet as we strive in all these ways we have yet to recognize and hear His truth. We remain stuck and consumed with our inner most fears and the way we live cannot be honored by our Creator.
As I slipped into my thirties (now half way through!) I finally began to hear and recognize my Father’s voice. Oh He had been speaking to me all along, but I did not really, really believe or trust. But as God’s hand became heavy on my life…as He moved me and rearranged my circumstances I began to hear Him. Sometimes He has to move us away from our comfort zones so we can hear what He wants to say to us! What I began to experience was the freedom in being loved…held in His hand. Finally, I could look at what was my greatest fear at the time and say “if I die, I die” but I am going to move forward trusting God with my heart, mind and soul. For me, that meant trusting God with my worth and my marriage.
And like Esther, I experienced deliverance. I no longer live in fear of divorce. I no longer live in the fear I am not good enough to be loved. I no longer live driven to pretzel-shaped living…twisitng myself to fit the forms of expectations I hope bring me love and acceptance.
I still deal with fear at times in other areas of my life, but now I know that God’s truth is what I must hear. And trust. And obey. I know that doing the same thing, believing the same lies, living in the same old patterns will never change anything. I believe that like Esther, I have a choice to make. We all do.