Purim–Persecution

An angel painterIllustration: “An angel painter,” by Marc Chagall, gouache and watercolor on paper, 1928.

“Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, that they may put it into the king’s treasuries'” (Esther 3:8-9).

The road we walk is often shadowed in betrayal as well. Betrayal is expressed in many forms, but Purim is a festival that tells a story of betrayal that takes shape in a murderous plot to eliminate God’s people.  The plot begins with a plan to murder the king.

With Esther in the king’s court, Mordecai, with continuing concern for her well-being, is sitting at the king’s gate. It was likely his only opportunity to interact with his beloved niece. While sitting there, he overhears a plot to kill Ahasuerus, and alerts the king. Mordecai’s role in saving the king’s life is recorded.

Soon after, King Ahasuerus honors another man in his kingdom named Haman.  The king commands his subjects to bow down to Haman in honor. But Mordecai, as a Jewish man, refuses because only God is worthy of praise and worship. Haman is enraged and devises a plan to kill all the Jewish people in the land. The king, not knowing that his beloved Queen Esther is Jewish, signs the decree to kill the Jewish people.

It is unlikely that your life is endangered because of your faith, though in many places throughout the world Christians are being murdered for their faith in Christ. In Syria, Iraq, much of Africa and parts of Asia it is dangerous to be a Christian. But there the Church is growing faster than anywhere else. Your life is in danger too. If not your physical life, then your eternal life. In countries where it is “safe” to be a Christian, people are not in worship, and future generations are not raised in the Christian faith. Faith in Jesus prompts a desire to worship God and be an active witness to His glory.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, I confess that in my comfort, I sometimes forget the gifts You have given me. Quicken my heart to confess Your name and worship in Your holy house. Protect the faith of those who risk their lives by professing faith in You and deliver them from danger.  In Y’shua’s name, Amen.

Ponder the path:  Tomorrow is Sunday. Call a family member or a friend and encourage them to worship with you.

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