Living on Borrowed Time – Part Three

Bride

Again, I’m going to let God’s Word do the speaking about Living on Borrowed Time:

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their Master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when He comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for Him.  It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them watching when He comes.  Truly I tell you, He will dress Himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.  It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them ready, even if He comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the Master puts in charge of His servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whom the Master finds doing so when He returns.  Truly I tell you, He will put him in charge of all His possessions.  But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk.  The Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect Him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

“The servant who knows the Master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the Master wants will be beaten with many blows.  But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.  From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked,” (Luke 12:35-48, emphasis mine)[1].

Notice how many times in this passage Jesus reminds us to be ready.  He reminds us to keep at our assigned tasks and promises three times that it will be good for us if He returns and finds us doing what He told us to do.

In my last post (see Living on Borrowed Time, Part Two) I wrote about scoffers, people who say that everything is just continuing as it always has (2 Peter 3:4, paraphrased).  In reality, of course, they are so enamored of this world and its pleasures that they don’t want the party to end.  They see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and believe what they want to believe.  And Jesus said that life would continue as before, with people eating, drinking, marrying, and partying on right up to the final moment[2] (Matthew 24:38, paraphrased).  Not all of those caught unawares are unbelievers.  Notice verse 46 of our passage from Luke 12.  It says that He will “assign him a place with the unbelievers.”  So some of these partiers are believers.

I don’t believe that this means that He will send them to hell (unless they never made a genuine commitment to Jesus in the first place).  I believe that this means that they will be left behind at the Rapture.

The thing that differentiates the Bride of Christ from the average believer is that the Bride is making herself ready.  Let’s take a look at how a bride makes herself ready:

Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem.  She pleased him and won his favor, (Esther 2:8-9, emphasis mine).

Hegai was a pagan (demon-worshiping) eunuch.  Esther’s religion (Judaism) would have made her shun such people[3].  But Paul advised us:

Be wise in the way you act toward [unbelievers]; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone, (Colossians 4:5-6).

That is exactly how Esther pleased Hegai and won his favor.  And although the Bible doesn’t explicitly state it, I believe that the Holy Spirit imparted this wisdom to her.  Here was his response:

Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food.  He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem, (Esther 2:9, emphasis mine).

Hegai immediately gave her every advantage in the contest to win the king’s heart: beauty treatments, special food, seven royal attendants, and the best place in the harem (where no doubt, she could enjoy undisturbed sleep).

Let’s read on about Esther’s preparation for meeting the king:

Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women . . . (Esther 2:12).

Twelve months of beauty treatments speaks of a person’s commitment to the goal—going in to the King.  We need to be committed to our King, and desire to go in to Him.  Twelve is the number of government.  We need to be committed and submitted to His Heavenly government.

. . . six months with oil of myrrh . . . (Esther 2:12).

Six months also speaks to commitment and six is the number of humanity.  Oil of myrrh was a spice used for preparation of dead bodies.  We need to be sure that we have truly died to self.  I’ve noted before that self dies one of those long, drawn-out opera deaths: singing and dying, only to get up and sing some more, flailing and flopping on the stage before it’s finally dead.  We cannot become fully alive spiritually until we have put our flesh and its desires to death.

. . . and six with perfumes and cosmetics, (Esther 2:12).

Frequently the Holy Spirit will manifest as a pleasing fragrance (usually flowers).  “Pleasing is the fragrance of Your perfumes; Your Name is like perfume poured out.  No wonder the young women love You!” (Song of Songs 1:3).

Cosmetics are used to emphasize the good features, while de-emphasizing the bad.  This can be understood as developing good character traits while unlearning the bad.  The key to the cosmetic process is closeness with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will give you the grace (power) to overcome the bad stuff in your character, while drawing you into a deeper love with Jesus.  That deeper love will cause the good character traits to bud and blossom in your life—creating the fragrance of Christ in your life.

And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. . . . When the turn came for Esther to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai suggested (Esther 2:13 & 15).

Even more than the other things that Hegai did for Esther, his knowledge of the king’s tastes helped Esther choose something to bring—something that would truly please him.  What can we bring to our Heavenly Bridegroom from earth?  Only one thing, and that is the thing He wants more than anything: other people.  When you begin to understand God’s heart for the lost, you will develop that heart, too.  When you go into the King, take as many people as you can with you.  Nothing could please Him more!

Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her, (Esther 2:15).

I think it’s significant that everyone loved Esther.  Because they loved her, the king saw how they treated her, and this no doubt inspired his own love for her.  That’s not to say that God is influenced by how other people think about us.  But our relationships and our love is not only supposed to be vertical (towards God), but also horizontal (towards others).  If we love and forgive others, God counts that in our favor, even if they don’t love us.

She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, (Esther 2:16).

Tebeth is the tenth month.  Ten is the number of divine order.  It’s also double grace (five being the number of grace).  Seven is the number of perfection and completion.  Esther was divinely ordained to be queen and enjoyed grace multiplied.  The timing was perfect.  And all of this was not just for Esther, herself, but for her people.  God divinely set her in place to save her people.

We also must wait for the proper time, which only God the Father knows.  The timing will be perfect in every way, for us, for the world left behind, and for foiling the worst of the defeated enemy’s plans.  God has divinely ordained us to be a part of His Kingdom, but not only for ourselves.  We are given this amazing gift in order to share it with others.  I believe that part of God’s strategy in the timing will be snatching some people right out of the defeated enemy’s hands when he’s momentarily distracted.

So, like Esther, we should be preparing ourselves to meet the king by:

  • Good conduct with unbelievers.
  • Making the most of every advantage that we have for our spiritual growth, including:
    • Beauty treatments – “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight, (1 Peter 3:3-4, emphasis mine).
    • Special food – Feed on the Word of God every day. Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life.  Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty,” (John 6:35).
    • Seven royal attendants – Don’t hesitate to ask God for angelic help—that’s what they’re there for! “Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]” (Hebrews 1:14, AMP, emphasis mine).
    • The best place in the harem – As I noted, this was to give her undisturbed rest. So spend time with God.  Rest in Him.  The Lord told Moses: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest,” (Exodus 33:14).  Sometimes you may find that you fall asleep during times of prayer.  This is nothing to be ashamed of.  Rather, I believe that spending time with God is sometimes, just being so comfortable in His Presence that you slip into sleep.  I’ve noticed that these are always times of the most refreshing rest[4].

Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins.  So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.  And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials.  He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality, (Esther 2:17-18).

This story wouldn’t be complete without seeing the king’s reaction to Esther.  He was attracted to her, he favored her above all the others, he crowned her, he gave a great banquet for her, he proclaimed a holiday, and he generously gave gifts because of her.  Our Bridegroom will be attracted to us—like a magnet—and us to Him.  We will fly to Him faster than rockets.  Our Bridegroom will favor us above all the others who are left behind—believers who didn’t bother to be watching for Him.  He will crown us at the Bema Seat Judgment, in which our works will be tested[5].  He will give us a banquet like no other seen in Heaven or on earth.  He will proclaim a holiday—for us, his Bride!  He will generously give gifts because of us!

scary cake

This is going to be a celebration like none other.  After all:

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him, (1 Corinthians 2:9).

God thinks way bigger than we can even imagine, so this celebration will break all records of all the celebrations of earth combined—by an enormous margin.  Get ready to have the best time imaginable—or get ready to go through the worst suffering the world has ever seen.  The choice is yours.  God is good!

[1] I recommend reading the whole chapter to see the context and the other things that Jesus said right before and right after this passage.

[2] By “final moment,” I don’t necessarily mean their deaths, though some will surely die.  What I mean is the final moment before Jesus returns to Rapture His Bride away.

[3] For a better understanding of how Jews interacted with pagans, take a look at the reaction of the woman at the well to Jesus’ willingness to have her give Him some water (John 4:8-9).

[4] Of course, sleeping is no substitute for prayer.

[5] Note: the Bema Seat Judgment is not about salvation, and we can never do enough good works to ever hope to be saved.  Salvation is a free gift.  But we are expected to do something for the Kingdom with the gifts that God has given us.  This is where our works will be judged.  Some will win a crown, some will not, and some will win multiple crowns.

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