Blessed and Happy Purim to all of our Jewish friends, and to all who have a heart affinity with ‘Israel’, and Israel’s God.
I read an amazing article on Purim this morning, by Daniel Greenfield,aka Sultan Knish, called “The Ages Of Purim”. I can’t recommend Sultan’s blog highly enough, he really sets the ‘gold standard ‘ for blogging, as far as I am concerned, and this insightful article is a prime example.
In the article, Greenfield points out that three of the stories behind the Jewish holidays commemorate the Divine destruction of Israel’s enemies. The story of Passover ends with the ‘plague of the firstborn”, Chanukah is the commemoration of the bloody revolt of the Maccabees, and Purim celebrates an Israeli pre-emptive strike at those Persians who had positioned themselves through legal maneuvering to destroy Israel. (Talk about timely).
As Greenfield says so eloquently,
Jewish holidays often make a poor fit with liberal pieties. Three of them end with mass bloodshed, not with reconciliation commissions, suggesting that life is a zero sum game and that those who try to kill you, deserve what’s coming to them. There is nothing vague or ephemeral about those holidays, they mark historical events and the constant presence of death as a reality in the lives of men and nations. They testify to a G-d of history who is less concerned with feelings and tolerance than with justice and truth.
All of Israel’s holidays commemorate historical realities, for the God of Israel is a God who intervenes in the affairs of men. He has acted in history and will again act in History. An ironic thing about the book of Esther, which tells the story of Purim, is that in the whole book, God’s name is not mentioned once. How fitting, that God should act in a decisive manner in history, but He allows his presence to be known only to those with “ears to hear”.
The feast of Purim and the biblical story behind it presents to reader a timeless drama, one that was indeed historical but which is currently being played out all over the world.
We are called to recognize and in some cases to identify with the very real historical figures in the story. We are seeing in the conflict of our own times, many who have risen up who are in the character of Mordecai, God-fearing believers living in a hostile world which militates against everything sacred and which triumphs in the seeming defeat of biblical religion.
There are many, unfortunately who have taken on the role of those Jews who bowed before the power of the conquering “Gentile superstate”.
And of course there will always be Hamans, virulently anti-semitic, anti-christian, ambitious, political animals, who believe in nothing, whose only god is power, and who seek by legislation to snuff out the very life of God’s people. Haman hated Mordecai because he wouldn’t bow down to him like everyone else did, after all he was the “Grand Vizier” under King Ahasuerus.
Pharoah, Antiochus, Yassar Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Hitler,Stalin, and the long line of Mohammedan tyrants all came in the character of Haman. There has been no shortage of Hamans through the centuries, hating the people of God, envying them, plotting to destroy them utterly.
But Purim reminds us in this current age of our modern “sons of Haman” ; the various Ayatollah’s, Imams, Presidents, and Prime ministers who seek to persecute, and destroy the people of God , ie Israel and the church throughout the world, that ,
The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.(Psalm 9:15)
… He ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.(Psalm 7:13-15)
Finally , there will always be those who are thrust into positions such as Esther, called upon to use the position and influence they have been given by God to plead the cause of the Kingdom of God, and to save lives by their intervention. Esther risked her own life when she went in unto the King, but her uncle counseled her,
When Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. (Esther 5:13-16)
There have always been Esthers, God has seen to it. We read of such people as the Ten Boom family; ordinary people, an elderly watchmaker and his two spinster daughters who lived a simple predictable life, work, friends, church, holidays, worship, etc., until history violently intruded and they found themselves in the confrontation with evil itself.
This is our own age, an age very much like the book of Esther itself. We are expected to bow low before the godless, humanistic verities.
Also like the book of Esther, God’s name seems to be absent from the public square, un-acknowledged, ignored, trampled on. But for those who have “ears to hear” God’s presence is obvious.
Sides are being taken, decisions are being made, neutrality is impossible, a non decision in the face of evil, is a decision.
What would they do? Would they risk all for the cause of good? What would you do?