On March 7-8, we stop and take time to commemorate a major victory that God provided to the Jewish nation.
It is no secret that the Jewish people have been targeted by violence and oppression throughout history. One of the most glorious accounts of triumph over this horrid oppression comes from the book of Esther. Purim is a reminder of the victory God gave the Jewish people who were living in Persia.
Esther, because of her stunning physical beauty, was chosen to be one of the many wives of the king of Persia. Out of all the other wives, she was adored the most by the king. He chose and to anointed her to be the official queen. Because her uncle Mordecai feared for Esther’s safety, she was encouraged not to expose her Jewish identity.
Haman, a close advisor for the king of Persia, had a heart that hated God’s people. It his desire to purge Persia of the Jewish people dispersed throughout the country. One day, he became enraged when Esther’s uncle Mordechai refused to bow in his presence in the public square.
This refusal to acknowledge his high-standing fueled the vindictive Haman to construct an elaborate gallow that would hang 75 feet high. He planned on shamefully decreeing a public death sentence for Mordechai. He was more than eager to kill and destroy all of the Jews in Persia, and Mordechai was his chosen first.
In Esther 3:13 the permission for Haman’s destructive plan was laid out very clear. “To destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women in one day.” During Purim, we stop to remember the honor Esther gave to God. She willingly stepped in and risked her own life to spare the annihilation of her people. To go before the king was a deadly thing to do, and to expose her bloodline was a risk that Esther took to spare the lives of those who had no voice. She treaded lightly and honored God with every step she made. She took the time to fast and pray, seeking God for guidance as the fate of her people were in her delicate hands of influence.
When Haman’s vindictive plot to destroy her Jewish family and nation was exposed to the king; he reversed the decree and publically humiliated Haman and all of his relatives. They, instead, were the ones executed on the very gallows Haman designed and constructed. The deliverance of God’s people was also a day of judgment for their oppressors.
When I reflect upon the freedom we have experienced because of the sacrifices of brave people like Esther, I am happy to enjoy the benefits of it. During this time of year, many celebrate the downfall of Haman. Let us remember as Messianic Believers that Proverbs 24: 17-18 says: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heat be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away his wrath from him.”
It is good to celebrate freedom; it is not healthy to celebrate violence, death and destruction. If we are to maintain our conscience with the Lord, we must rely on Him to be the vindicator of our justice and not gloat in the glory that only His blessing can provide.
During this Purim, let us try to remember what Christ Himself said in Luke 6:28, “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” Jewish people as a whole, have grown accustomed to the word persecution. We have been running from it and fighting against it since the days of Moses. Until the return of Yeshua our Messiah, we will continue to be a target.
During this Purim, let me encourage the Jewish believers in Christ. God is our vindicator. God will reckon with our oppressors. It is our duty, as true Christ followers; to handle oppression with the trust that Esther gave God. Moment by moment, hour-by-hour, praying and watching and waiting for God to make all wrong things right.
Instead of the traditional celebratory gragers (noisemakers) and hamentaschen (pastries fashioned with Hamon’s ears in mind), let us instead offer a prayer of thanksgiving and a blessing to those who unknowingly are messing with the Almighty God.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
During this Purim, I decide to do things your way. Instead of gloating about the victory that you provided my ancestors through Esther, I want to honor you. Lord, it was you who worked and used what satan meant for evil to bring glory to yourself and your people. Today, I bow in reverence to your way of doing things. I want to honor you with an obedient heart that is humble enough to admit I cannot be obedient without your help. Lord, I want to bless those that oppress me. I want to do it for you. My heart is willing, but when I try, I am unable to do it with a sincere agreement. My will is standing against my heart. Lord, help me to see that the ones who oppress me have to contend with a God who loves His children. I know you will provide proper vindication in your own timing. For this alone I should be sorrowful for my enemies. Open my heart and fashion it to be the kind of heart that is like Christ, in Jesus’ precious name, bless me and those who I can touch with my life and words, Amen.”
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan