Starting at sundown on March 23 and continuing until sundown on March 24, Jewish families all over the world will observe the Feast of Purim with pastries known as Hamantaschen, children dressing up as their favorite Biblical heroes, and the reading of the Megillat Esther - the book of Esther.
The Feast of Purim is a holiday that declares the faithfulness of God to His covenant people, Israel, and affirms that He is the only god that man can trust as a god that keeps his word and cares for his children wherever they are.
Purim (which means "lots") carries multiple ironic hidden messages because Haman, the story's villain and enemy of the Jews, plotted to eradicate them by casting lots. Esther - Hadassah as she was named at birth - remained hidden in King Xerxes' palace as a Jewish woman. Her Persian name Esther, most likely given to her upon entering the Persian king's court, comes from a root word meaning "hidden." Hidden from all for a good reason...the time for revelation had not yet come.
Esther's story begins with King Xerxes' banishment of the former queen and his search for a new queen (Esther 1:10 - 2:4). At the proclamation of the king's decree, Esther's uncle, Mordekhai - who had raised her as his own after her parents' death - saw to it that she responded to the decree and was then taken into the king's house and put under the care of a palace servant. Esther won favor with the palace servant. He lost no time giving her cosmetics, special food, and seven girls from the king's palace to attend to her (Esther 2:8 - 9). Esther 2:10 tells us Mordekhai instructed her not to tell of her people, or her family ties - basically her Jewishness.
After the 12 month requirement of beauty treatments, each girl had her turn to appear before the king in an effort to win his favor and ultimately, to become his choice for queen. Each girl was given whatever items she wanted from the harem's house to increase her chances for favor with the king. At Esther's turn, she asked for no additional items, yet she was admired by all who saw her on her way to appear before the king. Esther 2:17 reveals none of the other girls obtained such favor and approval from him. Esther had won the heart of the king! Surely God had His hand upon Esther and caused the king to smile on her. Surely "the king's heart in Adonai's hand is like streams of water - He directs it wherever He pleases" Proverbs 21:1.
After Esther is made queen, Mordekhai becomes aware that Haman (may his name be blotted out forever) has devised a plan to exterminate all of the Jewish people living in King Xerxes' provinces. Mordekhai is able to reveal this news to Queen Esther. It is this famous exchange between Mordekhai and Esther where we get the well-known and powerful scripture: "Don't suppose that merely because you happen to be in the royal palace you will escape any more than the other Jews. For if you fail to speak up now, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from a different place; but you and your father's family will perish. Who knows whether you didn't come into your royal position for such a time as this" (Esther 4:13 - 14). Mordekhai knew the God of Israel is a covenant keeping God. So much so that he could say in earnest that God would deliver His people. But if Esther did not use her position as the queen, she would not be one who received that deliverance. Wow.
We know the end of the story. Amazingly, when Esther approaches the king - which would result in death if he did not let down his sceptor - she receives the necessary sign of approval to speak. She reveals the plot, the devisor of the plot, and her Jewish lineage and asks for her life and the life of her people. The rest, as they say, is history. Beautiful history.
As supporters of Israel, we know that persecution is woven into their existence. The story of Esther should remind us of many things:
1) God can use someone who may appear unimportant to accomplish great things, if that person is willing to dedicate himself/herself to God;
2) God remains faithful to His people, Israel. He miraculously guards them and maintains His promises to them;
3) Because the covenant promise to Abraham remains unbroken, we know the enemies of Israel will inevitably fail;
4) Scripture assures us the haughty will be destroyed; the humble will be exalted (God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble - James 4:6);
5) God's ways are higher than our ways. He often works in ways we cannot understand or conceive. This requires humble obedience from us and complete trust in Him.
We at Father's House fully recognize this persecution will continue and require our ever-faithful support for the land of Israel and the people of Israel - whether they are living in the Land or not. We believe that our ministry at Father's House, as well as your support of our ministry, has been brought together for "such a time as this."