Who is your worst enemy? Think before you choose. Someone harasses you at work. That harassment threatens a job you need. Or your child is bullied at school, though she is handicapped and defenseless.
Responding to an enemy is crucial. We have choices. We can react to harassment by charging into that office and telling our accuser anything that comes to mind – and a few things that shouldn’t. We can hunt down the abusive bully on the playground and knock a little sense into him.
Knee-jerk reactions are a low-level response. They are spontaneous. But that’s the problem. We blast out a thunderous response without taking time to gather facts or know the enemy’s point of view. Impulsive reactions are like gasoline on smoldering coals. Everyone gets charred in the explosion.
In the Old Testament a young queen named Esther faced a powerful foe. His name was Haman. With the king’s consent, he devised a scheme to annihilate every Jew in the Persian kingdom. He had the permission. He had the resources. He and the king signed the deal, then sat down for lunch while the city reeled in disbelief. Neighbors, business associates, and best friends were assigned in a moment of time to senseless slaughter.
Esther hadn’t planned to be queen. Circumstances brought her to a place of influence. What was she to do? How could she stop this fully funded mass destruction? Esther knew she didn’t have the ability to stop it. So she prayed and fasted. All the Jews in the city prayed and fasted. She needed wisdom only God could give to shift authority from an evil, hate-fueled man into the hands of a righteous person.
Wisdom is God’s answer to an impossible situation. We don’t have the smarts, the strength to avert what we know is wrong. We ask God. He promises to answer our request with more than enough wisdom to see any enemy defeated.
So here was the wisdom Esther received. She invited her enemy to dinner. It was a strategic guest list, including a venomous fiend, Esther and her husband, the king. Esther wasn’t sure her husband was an ally, but he was the king. He had the earthly power to shift authority.
We have an adversary. We have no human authority against him. He not only wants to torment us, he has a plot of schematic destruction. We need a transfer of authority.
What do we do? We invite our enemy to dinner.
This is no ordinary meal. This is one in the throne room with our King. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He prepares a feast, a table, for us in the presence of our enemies. He anoints our heads with oil. Here is the transfer. It is at the table, with our enemy and with our God.
The King is my best and dearest ally. He keeps accurate accounts. He offers justice for the oppressed. So I invite my enemy for a meal prepared by my Father, the King. I don’t ignore the enemy, pretending he doesn’t exist or that his intentions are less than total destruction.
I present my case at the right time and in the right way. I make my appeal according to justice. The table is a place of communion, but it is also a courtroom. The enemy comes with accusations, with reasons for my defeat. I submit myself to the King and make my case.
“Father, it is written, ‘Your mercies are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.’” That place at the table, in the courtroom, is not just a place of defense against a foul prosecutor. It is a place of transfer.
Only our God can slam the gavel and make a judgment. “This court rules in favor of the defendant, washed in the blood of her Savior, trusting in the faithfulness of My Word. Not only do I rule in her favor, I transfer the authority that belonged to her accuser to her. Retribution and plunder are now in her hands.” Our enemy is hanged on the same gallows he built for us.
We don’t like to think about enemies like this. But we have to. Sex trafficking of young children is only one demonic scheme that carries on when we say, “There’s nothing I can do.” There is something. We come to the table He’s prepared for us. We say, “Abba, look and judge.”
God did His part. If Esther hadn’t done hers, what would have happened to the Jews? I want to do my part. So my meals with the King will include another guest – my enemy. He won’t be there for a friendly gathering. He’ll be there to face me AND the King.
I demand justice for the oppressed. I require that transfer of authority. The Lord looks for those willing to receive His signet rings in prayer. Will you be one?