Purim–Persecution

White CrucifixionIllustration:  “White Crucifixion,” by Marc Chagall, oil on canvas, 1938.

“The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti (Esther 2:17).

The warfare between Ahasuerus and Vashti does not end in harmony. Though God is grieved when His children hurt each other, He is able to use the evil for His purposes. Ahasuerus grows lonely and desires a new wife, and there in Persia lives a young Jewish woman named Esther. She is a victim of the exile, and is living there with her uncle Mordecai, who is caring for her in the place of her parents who have died. She is beautiful and Ahasuerus chooses her to be the new queen. On Mordecai’s advice, she does not tell Ahasuerus that she is Jewish. Perhaps Mordecai desires better for his charge than he can provide, and fears that if Ahasuerus learns of her ethnic identity, she will be discriminated against and persecuted.

Jewish people have lived for centuries with the fear of persecution because of their faith and ethnic identity.  Haman’s plot, Syrian conquest, Muslim invasion, Spanish Inquisition, English Crusades, Russian pogroms, and Hitler’s Final Solution. All efforts to destroy God’s people. But God has reigned over evil, and has preserved His people. The root of faith has been guarded zealously by God, who patiently waits for his people to realize  that He has sent the Messiah for them.

There are many who would persecute those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah as well. The Pharisees, the Romans, the Muslims, Stalinists, and “modern society.” Persecutors try to deny God’s people the faith that God has given them.  But God reigns over this evil, too. The root of faith nourishes all who believe in Jesus, gentile and Jewish. And in the face of persecution, the root sustains faith and gives strength.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, guard my faith in the presence of persecution. In Y’shua’s name, Amen.

Ponder the path:  We have many opportunities today to deny our faith in the face of discrimination and derision. It has become politically correct to support activities that defy God’s Word. But politically correct is neither political, nor correct. It is spiritual and a denial of truth.

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