For Such a Time as This!
February 2021 / Adar 5781
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!
Purim is a festive and joyful biblical holiday when the Jewish people in Israel and around the world rejoice and read the Book of Esther, the story of a young Jewish woman in Persia. This unlikely candidate, by this world’s standards, becomes queen and saves her people from destruction.
To celebrate, children dress up in festive costumes, and it’s a season of joy and gladness just as it was for the Jews in Persia (modern-day Iran) during Esther’s time. We also read the whole “Megillah” (scroll) and often act out the main characters in the story.
Esther 8:16-17 For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honor. Throughout every province and throughout every city, wherever the king’s edict and his law went, the Jews had gladness and joy, banquets and holidays. Many peoples of the land became Jews, because the fear of the Jews had overcome them.
Why were the Jews rejoicing? A common thought is that the happiness and joy mentioned in chapter 8 was because the enemies of the Jews were defeated. But the great military victory doesn’t occur until chapter 9! The Jewish people are rejoicing because the king’s edict gave them the right to assemble and protect themselves.
Apply this to the global community of Biblical faith today, just as GOD granted the ancient people the right to assemble and protect themselves, He is granting us this right today.
Esther 8:11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies.
Notice that the king’s edict did not annihilate the enemies of the Jewish people. The king’s edict only allowed the Jewish people to defend themselves. And yet this was a reason for great rejoicing and celebration, even before the great military victory in chapter 9, which reads as follows:
On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them… The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword. Esther 9:1 & 9:5
We later read that in addition to the joy and gladness before their enemies were defeated, there was also great rejoicing after their military victory with God’s help.
The remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies … This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy … The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy. Esther 9:16-18
The Book of Esther is the only book in the Bible in which God’s name is not explicitly written. Yet we see God’s hand throughout the book as He sovereignly places Esther and Mordechai in royal positions and “turns the tables” and helps the Jewish people to get “the upper hand over those who hated them.”
As it was some 2,500 years ago when God protected the Jewish people from destruction in Persia (Iran), we pray and believe that God will protect Israel and the Jewish people from their modern-day enemies.
As believers in Yeshua, let’s apply these Promises and to our own spiritual battles, remembering that:
Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
This month, in honor of the men and women who serve in the Israeli Defense Force, we will be sending a donation to “Hope for Israel” a ministry led by our friend Moran. After his military service he came through PTSD with the help of friends in the faith. Now, as a believer, his work is a blessing to the soldiers who protect Israel.
Thank you for your love, prayers and financial partnership. You are making a difference in Israel, the nations and the Body of Messiah!
Chag Purim Sameach! Happy Purim!
From Mordechai [my Hebrew name] and my favorite Esther…Katharine.
Myles & Katharine