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Archive for March 6th, 2015

Did you hear about the visit and speech to the U.S. congress, by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, which focused on the risk that Iran plays in regards to world peace? Have you heard about the murder of Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov? How about news regarding the three British sisters, missing and rumored to have headed to Syria with the goal of joining ISIS?

All three of those news stories (newspapers, TV, online) have been featured in just the past week, and all three of those news stories have something in common, they all remind us of instability, of threat, of fear.

Fear, birthed in the horrors of our sin-filled world, can make us yearn for a savior. A fearful world can make us wonder who might be in the right place, at the right time, to bring peace.

Just this week (Wednesday evening until Thursday evening) was the Jewish holiday, or festival, of Purim. Purim is the celebration of the saving, or deliverance, of the Jewish people, as told in the Old Testament book of Esther.

Esther, a young, orphaned, Jewish woman, living with her uncle Mordecai. She was chosen to be part of the harem of king Xerxes (she did not choose this, she probably thought that her life had gone from bad to worse).

Hamen, one of the king’s advisers, who had a bee in his bonnet for the Jews. He also happened to detest uncle Mordecai, who refused to bow to him. Hamen planned to eliminate the Jewish people from the face of the Earth.

There was great fear in the heart of Mordecai, for his people. How could those who were the lesser in that society (the Jews) ever be freed, saved? Who could be their savior?

Mordecai saw only one way to freedom … the young, female, orphan niece, who was enslaved (as a chosen queen) by the king of the castle.

She was not so sure about Mordecai’s view of her as the deliverer of their people. After all, to approach the king, unrequested, was reason alone for her death.

Mordecai challenged Esther’s doubts (Esther 4:13-14):

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house
you alone, of all the Jews, will escape ..
.
And who knows but that you have come to your royal position
for such a time as this?”

Maybe it was that her uncle’s words gave her purpose in her unappealing situation. Maybe it was that he made her realize she would perish with her people, whether she did anything or not. Whatever the case, Esther promised to go to the king, in exchange for a commitment to prayer.

In the end, she shared Hamen’s evil plan with the king, who granted safety for she and her people. They were delivered.

Oh to have such a deliverer, as we read, watch and listen to the daily news from around the world!

But, we do have one.

Though there is no mention, in the story of Esther, of God, Mordecai seems to refer to the prophesied Messiah, the deliverer of all deliverers, in Esther 4:14a:

“For if you remain silent at this time,
relief and deliverance for the Jews
will arrive from another place.”

And indeed the ultimate relief and deliverance arrived, as a babe, many years later. Through his death the redemption of all humanity was provided. Through him, world peace was achieved … if we would only believe.

Though I believe the pursuit of world peace should be in our hearts for our homes, our communities and our world. I believe, even more strongly that it will never be achieved by politics or by marches. Peace can only be achieved by Jesus, the deliverer who came for such a time as this.

   “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
   
  

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