Fifth Sunday in Lent: Purim–Persecution

DeathIllustration:  “The deceased (The Death),” by Marc Chagall, oil on canvas, 1908.

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law–to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).

Haman is certainly an evil man to devise such a plan to kill all the Jewish people in the Persian kingdom. It is traditional during Purim that as the book of Esther is read, when Haman’s name is mentioned, the people listening yell loudly, shake noisemakers and stamp their feet to cover the sound of the name. Often we will even put an H on the bottom of our shoes as we stamp our feet, symbolically stomping the memory of Haman away. While this makes the reading of the story more fun, it truly does nothing to combat the persecution that Haman plots, nor does it do much to remove his name from history. Action must be taken. Mordecai knows this too.

Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes and walked throughout the city mourning very loudly to draw Esther’s attention. When she noticed him, he was prepared. He laid the whole plot out for her, even to the point of having a copy of the king’s edict delivered to her with a request to intercede with the king. But to intercede put Esther’s life in danger. No one approached the king without being summoned–the penalty was death! Mordecai’s response to Esther’s fear was concise. “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).

Mordecai knew the promise of God:  the Deliverer will come regardless of our actions. But God desires to use us, and puts us in the right place to be used. Esther did intercede for the Jewish people and they were spared. But death will still claim them if they do not have faith in the Deliverer. Jesus came to deliver all people once and for all from the threat of death.

Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for placing me in the right place to share Your Truth.  Give me courage today to be your servant. In Y’shua’s name, Amen.

Ponder the path:   Has God placed you in a position to share the truth of God’s deliverance with someone today? Please do not remain silent.

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