Summary: Victory comes when we are in right relation to the King
Victory Over Enemies
Woodlawn Baptist Church
September 19, 2004
“In 1567 King Phillip II of Spain appointed the Duke of Alba as governor of the lower part of the nation. The Duke was a bitter enemy of the newly-emerging Protestant Reformation. His rule was called the reign of terror, and his council was called the Bloody Council, because it had ordered the slaughter of so many Protestants. It is reported that one man who was sentenced to die for his biblical faith managed to escape during the dead of winter. As he was being pursued by a lone soldier, the man came to a lake whose ice was thin and cracking. Somehow he managed to get safely across the ice, but as soon as he reached the other side he heard his pursuer screaming. The soldier had fallen through the ice and was about to drown. At the risk of being captured, tortured, and eventually killed – or of being drowned himself – the man went back across the lake and rescued his enemy, because the love of Christ constrained him to do it. He knew he had no other choice if he was to be faithful to His Lord.”
That’s quite a story – could you have been so noble and faithful? A reporter was interviewing an old man on his 100th birthday. "What are you most proud of?" he asked. "Well, " said the man, "I don’t have an enemy in the world." "What a beautiful thought! How inspirational!" said the reporter. "Yep," added the old man, "outlived every last one of them."
Sometimes I think it would be wonderful to live life without any enemies, and then I realize that one day I will! The Bible tells us of that wonderful time when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will sit on the throne in His kingdom and rule and reign with righteousness and peace, and in that day things are going to be different than they are now – but until then we might as well get used to the fact that not all people are going to like us, and in fact, many will even hate us.
As believers in Christ, we all go through a wide range of feeling and emotions when it comes to those who would do us harm or have ill feelings toward us, and nowhere is this wide range better expressed than in the Psalms. There were times when David prayed for his enemies. There were times when he prayed about them; going so far as to ask God to destroy them on occasion. Sometimes as he prayed, David would ask for wisdom and guidance in the face of his enemies, or that God would keep him in the way of righteousness. Sometimes David wondered how long his enemies would have the upper hand; why did he have to suffer when he was in the right? David praised the Lord for victory over them, for his protection from them, for God’s provision when pursued by them. He asked God not to hand him over to them. Sometimes David wondered whether God was using his enemies to punish him for some sin of his, or that God was permitting them to defeat him for some purpose he didn’t understand.
It can be a confusing thing to deal with an enemy. You and I naturally want God to deal with them. We can begin to harbor feelings of hatred and bitterness and anger and can even begin to pray in that state. I have asked God on occasion to remove an enemy from me, and at times I wish the Lord would deal harshly with them as they have with me. Other times I remember what Jesus said about loving our enemies, and then I feel guilty for my anger and hatred. How do you respond in the face of your enemies? Do you know who they are? If I could share with you a plan for how you could be guaranteed victory over your enemies, over those who hate you or use you, and you knew that you were assured that victory, would you try it? Would you implement it in your life? Today I’m going to give you three criteria for victory that are found in the 7th chapter of Esther, and as you write them down ask God to help you be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.
“So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen. And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What is thy petition, queen Esther? And it shall be granted thee: and what is thy request? And it shall be performed, even to the half of the kingdom. The Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favor in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition and my people at my request: For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage. Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so? And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and queen. And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.”