"After these things when the anger of King
Ahasuerus had subsided, he remembered Vashti
and what she had done and what had been
decreed against her" Esther 2:1 NASB.
After what things? In chapter 1, the King has just relieved
Queen Vashti of her royal duties, and the call for a new queen
has been proclaimed throughout the region.
Pause with this phrase, "After these things ..."
There is always an afterwards. Our response today will largely
determine our spiritual growth and development in the days
to come. The Lord is grieved when we break fellowship with
Him, but He is governed by our will, our power of choice;
and His will only overrides ours when in His sovereignty He
chooses to intervene.
There are times when the Lord steps in because He knows of
our deeply imbedded desire toward Him. He seeks to draw us
to Himself by stirring a hunger and thirst for spiritual things,
a deeper walk with Him. He allows a dissatisfaction with our
present spiritual plateau, even when we are active and involved
in ministry. He uses various means.
Other interventions may occur because He is moved by prayer,
either our own or those of others. The importance of praying
for others whom we sense are not walking as closely to the
Lord as He would desire is unquestionable. His intervention
is a demonstration of His mercy.
There is an afterwards, and in this case we read, "after
these things." After what things?
Many of us are occupied with "things," especially
in our American culture. The anthropologist would point out
that man as such can be traced in his sojourn through each
generation because of his "things." He takes as
many things with him as he can, yet always leaves traces of
them behind. The archaeologist bases his facts upon his findings,
the "things" which civilizations have left behind
- the buried things.
What "things" are buried in our spirits? The Holy
Spirit is on a "dig" within human spirits. When
His wooing no longer stirs us, He digs in an effort to uncover,
to expose to our own eyes the rubble we have collected.
Some of us have been ignoring Divine dealings for years.
For many, His "dealings" are hardly recognizable.
We have grown cold. Part of the problem may be our life-style.
Our homes are filled with things, and very few of them could
be classified as necessities. Then too, our time, the twenty-four
hour day allotted to each of us, gets jammed with things to
do; and the value of many of our preoccupations would probably
fall into the "wasted" time category.
What drives us to accumulate so much that we little need,
and disregard the cause of Christ? What makes us spend more
time playing than praying? How is our spiritual growth and
our relationship with the Lord influenced by our present life-style?
Each of us must answer these soul-searching questions for
ourselves. But before we gloss them over, we must pause at
Perhaps if we consider yet other instances of afterwards,
we may be able to get a handle on our own lack of self-discipline.
This phrase is used a number of times in Scripture, and whenever
it appears, we should look at the preceding context to see
what happened before. It is a matter of cause and effect.
In the gospel of John, chapter 21, we read "After these
things, Jesus showed Himself." After what things? Obviously,
He showed Himself after the crucifixion; after He cried, "It
is finished!" He showed Himself after He carefully folded
the linen wrappings and neatly placed them in the tomb and
He showed Himself.
Who would deny that the Church needs a revelation of the
risen Christ? Yet our personal response must be, "I desire
a fresh revelation of the risen Lord, I want Him to show Himself
He is The Revealer, The Unveiler, and The Divine Disclosure.
He is not satisfied to be buried in our past. We love to talk
about the power of God yesterday, but what of now? "Jesus
Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever" Hebrews
God also sees our potential. He sees unimaginable areas of
ministries in our lives. He sees us completed, gifted, empowered.
Certainly there is a price, but He exacts from us only that
which will be for our good. If we would only believe and act
on that. There is no sacrifice which will not reap far more
than we could "scratch" for ourselves. Knowing the
power of His resurrection is a process of daily dying.
A fine-tuning to the Voice of the Lord is developed as we
purpose in our hearts that we will please the King by living
for Him today in a way that will bring no shame afterwards,
as it was with Vashti.
Yes, there is always an afterwards, and in the text we see
the king, disappointed and lonely; "he remembered Vashti
and what she had done."
We need to realize that our King knows us perfectly. The
Scriptures say of Jesus, He knew what was in man. Surely,
we cannot hide any lack of enthusiasm we may have toward the
Lord; but on the other hand, He knows also the slightest spark
of desire we may possess. Our King's love is not to be compared
with any natural emotion. He will do all in His power to draw
us into a more intimate relationship with Himself, short of
violating our will.
When we consider the lives of saints who led Spirit-filled
lives - those who lived on a higher realm spiritually than
the average church-goer, we may get the impression that they
are spiritual giants. We feel we will never attain their level
of spirituality. We read books like Praying Hyde, and despair.
Not many of us are in a position financially to be able to
spend days on our knees, so we give up, thinking the deeper
life experience is not for us.
The Lord graciously helps us to make the changes that must
be made so He may fill every crevice, but first we must allow
the principle of the Cross in our lives. Death to self. As
repentance opens our spirits, desire for Him replaces the
love for self. As we learn to respond to Him in obedience,
we develop a sense of appreciation for His presence. He begins
to occupy every area of our lives. As we cooperate with Him,
He develops our spiritual ears.
The gateway is trusting that His way is better than ours.
Like Esther, we are being prepared for higher purposes, but
in the meantime there is a purification process through which
we must pass.
The Holy Spirit watches over us with a jealous love. He has
an investment in us. He will not stand by and allow us to
waste the Life He has breathed into us. He has imparted gifts
and callings, and intends to lead us into His fullness. As
our desire for purity within is expressed, He will escort
us through our particular processing, into our "afterwards."