PURIM: APPLICATIONS for TODAY, 03.03.18
“Purim, celebrated on the 14th of Adar, is the most fun-filled, action-packed day of the Jewish year. It commemorates our nation’s miraculous salvation more than two millennia ago” (http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1362/jewish/Purim-How-To-Guide.htm#utm_medium=email&utm_source=1_chabad.org_magazine_en&utm_campaign=en&utm_content=content).
For those perhaps less familiar, the quoted source provides an easy summary of the Book of Esther, and an understanding of what the celebration of Purim is about. Now we will look a bit closer at the story and how it applies to us today. Principles, parallels, and lessons, abound in the story of Esther.
God chooses those who will be obedient to His call.
In the first two chapters of the book of Esther, God put in place an individual who would stand for His chosen people, and intercept, by His Hand, a plan of annihilation.
God still calls individuals today, who will stand in the gap, and prevent the plans of the Enemy from succeeding, by taking up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph.6:16), and wielding it against the Enemy; and by having those who abide in Him not holding onto our lives (“and they did not love their lives even in the face of death” Rev.12:11) as though they were more important than God’s plans, and needs for our participation in them. We must be willing to apply His principles to real life; to walk in them.
Principles of faithfulness, obedience in the face of Opposition and Persecution:
“All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded it. But Mordecai would not bow down or pay him honour” (Est.3:2). Mordecai, a faithful Jew, as was Daniel, would not bow to the demands of a pagan leader, and dishonour his God, Yahweh. Let us be as highly principled when the serious persecution of the last days comes upon us. .. . . How will you respond when all are required to bow down by taking the mark of the beast? (Rev.13:14-18).
The Enemy is always looking for a place/way to strike (1 Pet.5:8):
“When Haman saw that Mordecai was not bowing down or paying him honor, Haman was filled with rage. . . . . So Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus”(Est.3:5,6).
“If it pleases the king, let an edict be written to destroy them. . . . It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s ring. Dispatches were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, stating to destroy, slay, and annihilate all the Jews” (Est.3:9-13).
“When Mordecai learned all that was done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the middle of the city crying out in a loud and bitter voice. In each and every province where the king’s edict and law came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many put on sackcloth and ashes”(Est.4:1,3).
“The spirit of Haman has continued throughout the centuries. That same spirit of hate and persecution has tried to annihilate God’s chosen people repeatedly. Still very much at work today . . . always seems to come up around Purim..” (Rabbi Cal Goldberg, “Grafted Into Royalty, message given March 4; posted on March 10, 2017 http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/grafted-into-royalty-rabbi-cal-goldberg/ ).
Identifying and Exposing The Enemy:
“He also gave him a written copy of the decree, which had been distributed in Shushan, for their annihilation, to show to Esther and to explain it to her. He instructed her to go in to the king, to beg his favoOr and plead before him on behalf of her people. Hathach went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said” (Est.4:8,9). When we expose the Enemy and his plan, then it can be destroyed. When Watchmen receive the warning (“Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” Isa.21:11), and act upon it, the Enemy can be bound, immobilized his plan destroyed.
Identifying the Enemy is a key component of warfare:
“King Ahasuerus responded to Queen Esther, “Who is he? Where is the man that presumed to do this?” Esther replied, “The man—the adversary and foe—is this wicked Haman!” (Est.7:6,7). When we shine God’s light on the Enemy’s plans, then the plans can be demolished. “We must “put on the whole armour of God” (Eph.6:10) (Rabbi Cal Goldberg, Message From The Bema, Mar. 4, 2017), and walk in it daily, so the Enemy’s plans cannot prosper.” It is time for God’s people to stop aiming attacks at individuals through whom the Enemy works, and begin aiming at the real Enemy, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph.6:12). Too many believers are still caught up in fighting the wrong battles, getting into unnecessary conflicts with individuals/people, when what is really needed is to bind the wrong spirits working from within those individuals.
“Who knows whether you have attained royal status for such a time as this?” (Est.4:14).
“The message of Purim is the power of intercession and how Queen Esther and Mordecai were willing to intercede on behalf of their people in order to overturn a decree. . We can overturn the Enemy’s plans through effective intercession. . . . .God has a way of turning things around” (Message from the Bema, “Grafted into Royalty,” Rabbi Cal Goldberg, March 4, 2017). There is power in prayer; and there is a special anointing/power given when assigned to stand in the gap. If it were not so, God would not have “searched for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand in the breach before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it” (Ezek.22:30); and also in Jer.5:1, Yahweh was looking for someone who would stand in the gap for Jerusalem: “ If you can find a person, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, then I will pardon the city.”
“I have set watchmen. All day and all night, they will never hold their peace. “You who remind Adonai, take no rest for yourselves, And give Him no rest until . . . .” (Isa.62:6,7).
God by His sovereign will, chooses whomever He will for the tasks which need accomplishing, “for the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chron.16:9). He needs loyal, surrendered hearts- hearts sold out to Him, willing to be plugged into His purposes, to “be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Tim.2:21).
When God gives us an ASSIGNMENT, we must be willing to put His cause before our own life (Rev.12:11); and when He calls us to it, we have His covering:
“Esther sent this to reply to Mordecai, “Go! Gather together all the Jews who are in Shushan and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast in the same way. Afterwards, I will go in to the king, even though it is not according to the law. So if I perish, I perish!”(Est.4:15,16).
“On the third day, Esther put on her royal apparel and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall . . . . . she found favor in his eyes, so the king held out to Esther the golden scepter in his hand and Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter”(Est.5:1,2).
“If I have found favor in the eyes of the king, and if it pleases the king, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare the life of my people—this is my request! For we have been sold, I and my people, for destruction, slaughter and annihilation” (Est.7:3,4). Are you willing, like Esther, to watch, intercede, fight for your people if the Father calls you to it?
The Enemy’s weapons will be turned against himself:
“So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai” (Est.7:10).
“That same day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Then Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had revealed how he was related to her. The king took off his signet ring, which he had taken back from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. Esther then appointed Mordecai over Haman’s estate”(Es.8:1,2). Just as for Job, having submitted to the testing he was later blessed more than double; so Mordecai, having endured, and withstood the attacks of the Enemy, was gifted with what God took away from his enemy (Haman) and gave it to His faithful servant, Mordecai. There are blessings for obedience and faithfulness. When we are faithful, we do not need to ask for God’s blessings; they will be a natural outpouring for our obedience.
The power of Intercession/Standing in the Gap:
“Don’t ever underestimate the power of your prayers. . .. . they do make a difference . .. . “ (Rabbi Cal Goldberg, message from the Bema, “The Power of Intercessory Prayer,” Feb.25, 2017 by Rabbi Cal Goldberg, posted March 4, 2017). Referring to Esther, Goldberg teaches, “Adonai placed her in a position of authority for this reason . . . . to save her people . . . This is the heart of an intercessor, one who is willing to intercede in the face of danger.”
There is a time and a place to stand in the gap. When we are called, we must unflinchingly, without hesitation, and in total obedience step up to the plate. Esther did it, and she didn’t even have a New Testament in her hand; surely we, as God’s people, have even more weaponry and authority. What a lack of courage there is today amongst God’s people. . . .. Where are the Watchmen? Where are the warriors? God’s people need a fresh breeding of boldness, for “He died for all so that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised” (2 Cor.5:15).
“Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She pleaded with him to stop the evil of Haman the Agagite and his plan that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king extended the golden scepter to Esther, and she arose and stood before the king. . . . . let an edict be written rescinding the dispatches devised by Haman . . . . to destroy the Jews who are throughout the king’s provinces. For how can I endure seeing the disaster that will fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my relatives?” King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “I have decided to give Haman’s estate to Esther and had him hanged on the gallows, because he stretched out his hand against the Jews. Now write in the king’s name on behalf of the Jews what seems good to you and seal it with the king’s signet ring. For a decree that is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, cannot be revoked” (Est.8:3,5,6-8). This decree was written in the name of King Ahasuerus, sealed with the king’s ring, and sent on horseback by couriers who rode on the king’s horses specially bred for their speed. The king granted the right for Jews in every city to assemble themselves and to protect themselves—to destroy, kill and annihilate any army of any people or province that might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder their possessions (Est.8:10,11).
Blessings and Victory for Obedience, perseverance, endurance . . . . .
“For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honor. Throughout every province and throughout every city . . . . . the Jews had gladness and joy, banquets and holidays. Many peoples of the land became Jews, because the fear of the Jews had overcome them” (Est.8:16,17).
When God calls someone, and in obedience that individual immediately rises to the call, there will always be blessings/rewards. We do not have to ask God to bless me, bless me; when we are in the midst of His will, it is a natural outcome: “Before Esther even asked, the King gave her more than she would ask . …” (http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/grafted-into-royalty-rabbi-cal-goldberg/).
Deliverance for God’s People. . . . .
From “First Fruits of Zion,” we learn that: “the message of Purim is that God will not stand by idly and watch the destruction of his people. He will continue to fight for them “from generation to generation.” Whether it is through an overt display of his power as in the exodus from Egypt or a more hidden form of help as in the book of Esther, he will defend the Jewish people. In the Passover haggadah we read: “In each and every generation they rise up against us to put an end to us. But the Holy One, blessed is he, rescues us from their hand.” As we celebrate Purim we also eagerly await the day when Messiah will return, establish the kingdom, defeat Israel’s enemies, and wipe out their memory once and for all. May it be soon and in our days. Amen” (“Birds of a Feather: Haman, Amalek, and Shabbat Zachor,” by Toby Janicki, http://ffoz.org/discover/purim/haman-amalek-and-shabbat-zachor.html?utm_content=buffer28bd2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer ).
Purim, Celebrated, Remembered today:
“Mordecai recorded these events and he sent letters to all the Jews . . . . These were to be days of feasting, celebration .. . . . . So the Jews agreed to continue the commemoration . . . .” (Est.9:20,21) so the celebration of Purim is honoured today in memory of God’s deliverance of His people. “. . . . the Jews established and took upon themselves, upon their descendants, and upon all who joined with them, that they would commemorate these two days in the way prescribed and at the appointed time every year. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family and in every province and every city. These days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor their remembrance perish from their descendants” (Est.9:22-29).
The promises of God to His people ultimately apply to all who choose to believe in and follow Messiah. Having been grafted in, “if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal.3:29). Should not Gentile believers who have been grafted in celebrate also; for if the Lord had not seen fit to deliver the Jews where would the Gentiles be? Should we not at least take away the crucial message that “The book of Esther is a powerful message of intercession” (http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/grafted-into-royalty-rabbi-cal-goldberg/) and implement this powerful strategy, walking in the authority given by Yeshua, to be instrumental in setting the captives free? For how do you not know that you have not been called for such a time as this? (Est.4:14). Is the Father indeed calling you to be a Watchman on the Wall? (Isa.62:6,7). “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” (Isa.21:11).
© Copyright 2017, revised 2018 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
- All Scriptures quoted from Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
- “Birds of a Feather: Haman, Amalek, and Shabbat Zachor,” by Toby Janicki, http://ffoz.org/discover/purim/haman-amalek-and-shabbat-zachor.html?utm_content=buffer28bd2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer Feb. 23, 2018 (updated).
- http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1362/jewish/Purim-How-To-Guide.htm#utm_medium=email&utm_source=1_chabad.org_magazine_en&utm_campaign=en&utm_content=content; Found also @ https://www.pinterest.ca/vernacrowther/reference-corner/
- Ask Dr.Brown, “What You Didn’t Know About Purim” Published on Mar 23, 2016, https://youtu.be/I6s8D-e3kvY
- Rabbi Cal Goldberg, “Grafted Into Royalty, message given March 4; posted on March 10, 2017 http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/grafted-into-royalty-rabbi-cal-goldberg/
- http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/the-power-of-intercessory-prayer-rabbi-cal-goldberg/ , message from the Bema, “The Power of Intercessory Prayer,” Feb.25, 2017 by Rabbi Cal Goldberg, posted March 4,2017.