Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Esther: God's Divine Intervention

Esther: God’s Divine Intervention

But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.  Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.” – Esther 9:18-19

Victory was on its way for the Jewish people.  Haman’s law provoking all the people of Persia to rise up against the Jews on the 13th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Adar was still enacted.  Yet Mordecai’s law to counteract it allowed the Jews to fight back and kill those that threatened them.  On the day that Haman had planned for the Jews to be annihilated, the Jews fought back, and defeated those that hated them.  Isaiah 54:17 says No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.” It would be wise for all who attempt to destroy the Jews or Christians to remember those words.  God watches over His children with the wrath of a protective Father in His heart.
The Jews, who had been a meek people having entered the land of Persia as slaves when captured from Judah, were now feared by all people.  Many Persians became Jews before this day to assure their safety.  And on the 13th day of Adar, God saw fit to allow the fear of the Jews and of Mordecai to fall on the people (Esther 9:2-3). 

In the Shushan alone, the Jews killed five hundred men.  The King gave Esther the news in verse 12 saying, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the citadel, and the ten sons of Haman. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It shall be granted to you. Or what is your further request? It shall be done.”  Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let it be granted to the Jews who are in Shushan to do again tomorrow according to today’s decree, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on the gallows.” The sons were already dead, but this act was one of invoking terror in anyone who should come before the Jews.  By seeing the king’s officers hang these ten sons of the man who tried to assassinate all Jews, it would be clear that the king would protect the Jews from any who chose to harm them.
The total number of men killed by the Jews in the Shushan and the provinces of Persia was 75,800 during the two day period.  Yet three times we are told they did not take the possessions of those they killed.  They left these for the children and widows of the deceased.  The Jews didn’t desire wealth from the war, but only their own preservation.

This had been a terrible time for the Jews and for the people of Persia.  During the year that passed awaiting the day, they had lived with fear of imminent destruction, and endured threats of the approaching day.  None of the evil they endured would have occurred had Haman not devised such an evil plan.  To pick the day in which it would occur, Haman cast lots, which is called “Pur” in Hebrew.  It was a form of divination in which he would choose his “lucky” day to defeat the Jews. 
Once the war was over, the Jews celebrated.  On the 14th and 15th day of the month, they feasted and gave gifts to each other to celebrate as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday,” as verse 22 explains. Mordecai thought it was fitting that this should be done every year, and wrote letters to the Jews suggesting that this should become an annual holiday.  Queen Esther then “wrote with full authority” (verse 29) to enact that the holiday be made a legal holiday. 

Each year, on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar (which will be February 23-24 in 2013), Jewish people observe the Feast of Purim, named from Haman’s casting of “Pur” to determine the day of their defeat.  They celebrate the memories of Queen Esther and Mordecai, who was, as explained in Esther 10:3, “great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.” They celebrate God’s coming to their aid, His divine intervention in placing Esther in the position of Queen, and Mordecai in the King’s favor.   
Today they still face those in Persia (Iran) who seek to destroy them.  Today His people, Christians and Jews, are still martyred because they worship Him.  And still today, God’s word stands for the Jews and for those of us that have become His children through salvation that “No weapon formed against you shall prosper”.  

The story of Esther, Mordecai, Haman, and King Ahasuerus is a story of God’s love for His people and the great lengths by which God will place us in His divine plan for “such a time as this”.  Esther may have grown to a young woman taking her beauty for granted and not seeing God’s purpose in providing her with an attractive appearance.  Being taken to the house of young virgins, she may have felt as if she were being taken captive and separated from her family.  Mordecai hearing the plot to kill the king may have thought at the time it was only a coincidence that he overheard the conversation.  The eunuch who went to Haman’s house to summon him to Esther’s second feast may have seen the gallows made for Mordecai and thought it to be nothing more than another of Haman’s evil schemes.  But all these things, placed into God’s divine plan, worked for God’s will to free to Jews, to punish Haman, and to exalt His people to positions of power.  God works His plans in our lives for a greater good, for the glory of Him to be seen among His people.
Isaiah 55:8-13 tell of how we see God’s work in our lives, and how He plans for our good.  It says:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Thank you, Father God, for your divine province over our lives!  Thank you that though we may not understand the events of the day, we can rest in you that in all things that happen, you are crafting a greater plan and eternal good for your children. 



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