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Posts Tagged ‘Esther’

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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Recently, as hubby was cleaning up after dinner, I was griping to him about a frustration or two in my day. I think I may have done this too much lately.

He then said, “don’t take this personally (ya right … saying that only encourages me to take it personally), but I think we are both in a state of discontent right now. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it might be good to look for the reason for our discontent.” For whatever reason, I did not reply, I only pondered his words. And then pondered them some more.

As much as I pondered, and as much as I tried to look at the reasons for discontent in our life (lives), there was only one consistent line of thinking that came to mind, “who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

The quote comes out of the story of Esther, a beautiful Jewish woman, chosen by the king of Persia to be his queen. It was through this position that she was able to secure the safety of the Jews throughout this Persian kingdom. It was through her understanding, that perhaps God had placed her in the position she was in for this very purpose, that encouraged her to do what was right.

But, why the discontent? Why did that verse keep recycling through my thoughts, for hours after? It is not as though, like Esther, our decisions could affect the physical lives of ourselves and those around us. It is not as though our decisions affect anyone, right?

Wrong!

That verse that has been recycling through my thoughts has reminded me of a very important reality … we do not live independently, but in community with others. We may like to think (perhaps out of a false sense of humility, or a very real sense of arrogance) that others lives are not affected by our choices, but we are not islands. We live in community, we live with others, we depend on others. In turn, others depend on us.

Maybe that is what Esther heard and understood, as her uncle Mordechai reminded her of her current circumstances (not ones she had sought or chose). He also reminded her that there was perhaps a purpose in her position, and therefore, a purpose-giver (without directly saying so).

That giver of purpose is the the Creator of our souls (our very beings), the Creator of all that is around us, the same God of Esther.

It is He who directs our paths, and it is He who creates us with and for purpose. Even our discontent is not without purpose (maybe even our griping). But, we must not sit in our discontent, we must seek it’s purpose, it’s role in the circumstances we are currently living.

Maybe hubby was right (oh boy … I can hear him snickering as he is printing and framing those words … I will never be able to live with him now), maybe we need to look for the reason or purpose for our discontent.

Maybe, we (each of us) have come to this position, this place, for such a time as this.

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