The Jewish holiday, Purim, was Monday and Tuesday of this week (March 9th & 10th)
The Jews were exiled in Persian lands. Persian politics is totalitarian. The whims of the King become law.
The Persians were going to destroy the Jews—all of them in the empire, because they were a people who refused to bow down to their god-king, Ahasuerus. His right-hand man was Haman, and he saw a way to self-advancement: have these people annihilated.
It was written that all the Jews in the empire were to be slain—“young and old, women and children, the 13th day of the 12th month…and to plunder their goods.” (Esther 3:13, NRSV)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
History is now. The enmity against the Jews endures. And it is encouraged by Arab despots, kings and ayatollahs—again, totalitarian rulers, as in ancient times.
IRAN: A tweet from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: "Israel has no cure but to be annihilated.” He speaks for other Middle East despots.
PALESTINIANS: Palestinian television shows 3-year-olds how to stab an Israeli in the neck. Palestinian school curricula are not subject to Israeli editing; so, their textbooks describe Jews as descendants of monkeys and pigs and teach students to be martyrs. In math textbooks, the teaching of arithmetic is illustrated by numbers of Jews: if you kill so many, how many would be left. And so on.
One of the best jobs a Palestinian can get is to be imprisoned for a terrorist act on a Jew. Monthly stipends are paid both to him and his family by the Palestine Authority
ISRAEL’S NEIGHBORS: The Jordanian King, Abdullah II, will deal with Israeli leaders to make deals on water supply, but Jews are hated throughout Jordan. Just saying the word “Jew” is forbidden. Maps made in Jordan have no Israel. (Confirmed by a missionary friend). In Egypt, the same. President Mubarak wanted peace with Israel only to lift Egypt's heavy military burden of keeping up with Israel.
The Fatah party (of Mahmoud Abbas), Hamas and Islamic Jihad all praise the attacks made on Israelis. On Hamas and Palestinian Authority TV, children are taught to conduct a “heroic operation”—“be a man and kill a Jew today.”
The Palestinians, if given a land with their own governance, would not allow one single Jew to live in it. Actually, it happened: when Gaza was put into the hands of the Palestinians, it became Judenrein—Jew free and one big arsenal for military hardware.
* * * * * * * * *
In Europe, there is a resurgence of anti-Semitism and a failure to deal adequately with its terrorism. And it has spread to America. On university campuses with Middle Eastern studies, all of them (almost without exception) are unsympathetic to the State of Israel. And what about the United Nations? All of their resolutions regarding Israel are negative.
* * * * * * * * * *
In the story of Esther, if Haman had succeeded, the Jewish people as a nation would have been decimated.
NOTE: God is not even mentioned in this story. But still, the twists and turns of the narrative show that even when God is not in the forefront, He is still working behind the scenes. How?
WELL, NOTE: Strange things happen to move Esther and her uncle Mordecai into positions of power. Esther won a beauty contest and thus became queen. Mordecai, her uncle, discovered a plot to overthrow King Ahasuerus. Mordecai told Esther, and Esther told King Ahasuerus in the name of Mordecai, and he, Mordecai was rewarded by a high promotion.
So....two Jews move into positions of power. Only then does the trouble begin. And these two become the saviors of the Jews. They were doing the work of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob--He who chosen this people.
Aha! Isn’t that what we see in the modern history of the State of Israel? We could point to many incidents where God has been at work behind the scenes.
For instance, who in Britain thought that Lloyd-George would become prime minister during World War I? But he did. Prime Minister Asquith was forced to resign in 1916 in the middle of the war, and Lloyd-George was ready to take the helm. Lloyd-George happened to be very familiar with the Holy Land and knew that it was of great interest among the conservative and evangelical branches of the Christian Church. If Asquith would have remained in power, he would have thwarted it. Then, Sir Arthur John Balfour became foreign minister, and he too was inclined to respond to the Jewish desire for the restoration of the land. The proposal for giving the land back to the Jewish people was “The Balfour Declaration.” Two men, sympathetic to the Jews, moved into power BEFORE the decision had to be made. Glory be!
And today, in the current crisis of Israel and the Palestinians, there is no doubt in this writer’s mind, that God is secretly engineering the events to bring about the deliverance of His Chosen People and the restoration of all their land.
So even, when God is not evident, we can, if we consider the whole story, see that He is doing His good work, sometimes in the shadows and in unexpected ways. Glory be!
“Help me, O Lord, my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love.
Let them know that this is your hand;
You, O Lord, have done it….
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord.;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
To save them from those who would condemn them to death.”
-- Psalms 109:26-27, 30-31 (NRSV)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.