Purim

For Such a Time as This

by Dr. Richard Booker

Bible readers know the importance of Purim as told in the book of Esther. Set in ancient Persia, modern Iran, the One True God of Israel providentially allowed Hadassah (Esther) to be strategically placed in the king’s palace and find favor with him. Esther was Jewish.

People of the Book know the story. When the king dismissed his queen who refused his summon, the king chose Esther as his new queen. But there was trouble. The king had a prime minister who was an evil man. His name was Haman (boo). Haman (boo) hated Jews and plotted to kill them all.

As the story unfolds, Esther had a cousin named Mordecai (yay). Mordecai (yay) learned of the plot and told Esther that she had to go before the king and intercede for her people. Esther must have been struck with fear. You see, it was politically incorrect for Esther to appear before the king unless the king called for her. It was against Persian government protocol to speak without getting permission. But Esther wouldn’t just lose votes; she would lose her head. She sent word to Mordecai (yay) that whoever enters the king’s inner court without being called was subject to death. And the king had not called for Esther in 30 days.

Mordecai’s (yay) response to Esther was a powerful statement that has stirred the hearts and minds of people ever since they were written in the Book of Books.  He said, “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than any other Jew. 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 if you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

WOW! What a challenge and what insight. Mordecai (yay) knew that when Haman (boo) discovered that Esther was a Jew he would have her murdered along with all the other Jews in Iran, oops, I mean Persia. Mordecai (yay) also knew that the God of Israel was sovereign and that, just perhaps, Esther was born and chosen for this one assignment to save the Jewish people. Mordecai (yay) also knew that if Esther failed in her assignment, God would use some other means to rescue the Jews. What a word that is for Christians today. If we don’t help the Jews in the coming perilous times, God will use others but we will suffer at the hands of the Haman’s (boo) of our world.

Now there was more to Esther than just good looks and a year’s free admission to the palace spa and Mary Kay cosmetics. She had an inner strength and the courage to answer Mordecai (yay), “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shusan, and fast for me; neither eat or 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 4:15-17).

As students of the Bible know, the king did receive Esther who revealed Haman’s (boo) plot to the king. The king honored Mordecai (yay) and Esther and commanded that Haman (boo) be hung on the tree that he had prepared for Mordecai (yay). Haman’s (boo) wife and friends saw this coming and said to Haman (boo), “If Mordecai (yay), before whom you have begun to fall, is of Jewish descent, you will not prevail against him but will surely fall before him” (Esther 6:13). God is a faithful covenant-keeping God. He will defend Israel and judge those nations and people who seek to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. We all have a choice – blessings or curses.

As things turned out, the king gave the Jews the right to defend themselves (hello Israel) who defeated those who plotted to murder them. Then all the Jews of Persia celebrated for two days with feasting and joy, exchanging gifts and helping the poor (Esther 9:20-23). Furthermore, Mordecai (yay) invited all who would join them (non-Jews who love the Jews) to celebrate with them (Esther 9:26-28). Christians – go get your groggers – it’s time to party.