Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In The End, GOD WINS!

The big day final arrived in Persia. This was the day that Haman had planned for the extermination of every Jew in Persia. But now that Haman was dead (see earlier week’s blog postings for the full story) there was a much different outcome. According to Esther chapter nine, when the scheduled day came, the Jews were invincible. They had prepared to fight and everyone feared them. Even the Persian leaders helped to defend the Jews. In Shusan alone, over 500 enemies of the Jews were destroyed including 10 sons of Haman. Though they were allowed, the Jews did not take any of their enemies’ plunder. It was obvious that they were not fighting for material possessions but rather for survival.

The king feared that if Shusan had 500 enemies of the Jews, there must be others so he asks Esther what she would like him to do. Imagine that, the king is now consulting Esther. Proverbs 31:10, 11 is true, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her…” Esther asks the king to give a one-day extension to hunt out the remaining enemies of the Jewish people and to allow the 10 sons of Haman’s bodies to be displayed publicly (impaled) as a visual warning. The king concurs and the next day another 300 enemies were killed in Shusan and 75,000 enemies were killed over the 2 days throughout the entire 127 provinces of the kingdom.

And as should be the case when God shows Himself strong, a great celebration occurs. Mordecai proclaims a national 2-day holiday to commemorate this triumph. The feast was called Purim and it included giving gifts to each other and to the poor. The feast was so named because the word “Pur” means “lot” and Haman cast lots to determine the day of execution. The feast is still celebrated among Jews today and it includes the reading of the book of Esther. Little children and adults dress up in costume. People boo and jeer when Haman’s name is mentioned. People clap and cheer when Esther and Mordecai’s names are mentioned. When Mordecai established this holiday is was also to include a time of fasting, symbolizing their fasting before Esther approached the King.

What a story this has been. But let me end by reminding us of some principles that we see in the story that are as relevant and applicable to us today as they were back then:

God is always at work orchestrating the details of our lives! God is at work even when his timing seems absent. God is at work even when evil seems to be winning.

The people God uses are usually unexpected! That was true of David, Moses and Rahab and it was certainly true of Esther, a Jewish orphan.

God is never absent! Even though the book of Esther never mentions His name, God’s hand and plan is visible on every page of its writing.

In the end, God wins! The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes it (Proverbs 21:1)!

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