The story of Esther is a classic tale of good versus evil—where the villain, Haman seeks to wipe out our hero, Mordecai and the rest of the Jewish people living within the Persian Empire during the reign of King Ahasuerus. Through a miraculous act of God, a Jewish orphan named Esther saves the entire nation.
Purim is a Jewish feast celebrating this riveting story. Each year families gather together, they dress in costume, they eat delicacies, and most importantly they retell this story of God’s faithfulness to his people. Mordecai himself started this ancient tradition.
“And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, 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; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.”—Esther 9.20-22
Although one cannot deny that a party celebrating biblical heroes could benefit any Believer, there are many who struggle with the understanding the depth of significance this particular feast has both for Jews and Christians.
Esther is an orphan. Her parents died early in her life, and Mordecai (her cousin) raised her. She is beautiful outwardly, but also within. When she is placed before the King, he favors her above all other single women living within the kingdom—ultimately choosing her for his bride. She does not reveal her Jewish heritage to him. When Haman, an arrogant man filled with hatred for her people, puts together a plot to wipe out the Jewish people living within the empire, Esther is beside herself. Will she remain silent while her people are destroyed, or risk her own life to stand in the gap for them?
“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!’”—Esther 4.13-16
Many living within the United States do not understand the deep seeded anti-Semitism that Israeli citizens experience on a daily basis. The spirit of Haman is still alive and well, seeking to wipe out the Jewish race completely.
Much like Esther, the Body of Christ has a unique opportunity to stand with the nation of Israel. We may turn away from our responsibility to pray and speak out, but eventually we, too, will face the very enemies that Israel now stands against.
As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Purim, let us remember the important lessons shared in the story of Esther. We invite you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the entire nation. Pray for Godly wisdom for the Prime Minister, the Knessett, and all those serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Pray that the United States and the nations of the world will begin to rise up in support of Israel’s existence.
If you would like to serve the nation of Israel and her people in both word and deed, please visit our home page where you can learn more about the unique ways in which you can partner with us to bring hope to both young and old alike.
We leave you with these famous words from Pastor Martin Niemöller—WWII activist who spoke out bravely against the tyranny of the Nazi regime.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”