Sunday, March 8, 2009

For such A Time As This...a Different Twist on the Story of Purim

12 Adar First Day Yom Reeshone

It is always amazing to me how God works in lives...intertwining and sealing fates. The story of Purim is one we all know but when we search the Word, we find even more intrigue and desception and God's amazing power to make sure things work out right. He is so amazing and He is so good..His love and mercy endures forever!

This is probably not the greatest study you will read but I wanted to get it written and published on here. I may work on it more and will probably find more amazing things. I probaly wrote too much about some things and not enough about others but the LORD is My guide my teacher. He will show me the Way!

I hope that this leaves you with a desire to study and find the hidden jewewls of His word!

When reading the Book of Esther which is the story of Purim, we find a story that shakes us right to the bone. We have a righteous man, Mordechai, who has taken in his relative, a young girl, and as we are told, is raising her as his own daughter. Now some teachings do say that not only was Hadassah his 'adopted' daughter but also his wife. It would seem that they were in some way betrothed and that when she came of marrying age, they would be wed. But, when the call came that the King was searching for a new Queen, nothing could be done when Hadassah was taken except for her to keep her life a secret from the King and court. And thus, her name was changed to Esther and she kept silent about her relationship to Mordichai.

We have the Jews in exile in Persia. Exiled because they had not been obedient to God. Also living in Persia was a man named Haman who is an Agagite.

Lets take a closer look at these two men. Mordecai was from the tribe of Benjamin, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who was carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.
Haman is a decendant of King Agag and of Amalek, both sworn enemies of the Jews.

We wonder why is this so? Why does Haman hate the Jews so? We know that Mordecai refused to bow before him...but Mordecai was a man of integrity and he respected authority, he would have always bowed to his KING. But this man Haman was one who Mordeccai 'saw' through. We remember when Joseph was elevated in to Potifar's house he had to make a decision to not allow himself to be put upon by Potifar's wife and this cost him dearly. This same spirit was with Mordecai, Haman was a coniving man who was out for whatever he could get and wanted himself and his family to have stature in the kingdom. He also had a deep seeded hate for all Jews. So Mordecai refused to bow before such a man.

What was it that makes the Amelikites hate the Jewish people? They are still around to this day. We don't know where the seed of Amalek spread to, but we see it when it rears its ugly head as in Hitler and his German Nazi regime, and in the Arab states today and even in the 'Christians' who hated Jews so badly and for so long.

Genesis 36:22 And Lotan's sister was Timna. Now what could this possibly have to do with this? Well, this verse, indeed, contains the essence of the Purim story. Turn back to Genesis 36:12....Esau's son Eliphaz also had a concubine named Timna, who bore Him Amalek.

Timna was a Horite princess who became a 'mere' concubine to Eliphaz and it was she who bore Amalek, the ancestor of Hamam. It is said that she yearned to bear Abraham's seed but humbled herself to sleep with Eliphaz, after Abraham rejected her as an insufficently sincere convert. The result of this, Amalek and his decendants would carry this slight and avenge it for ever.

The Torah states, "Amalek is the 'rosh' of all nations."(Numbers 24:20) "rosh" meaning first, as Amalek was the first nation to do battle with the Jews after they went out of Egypt. In another explanation it is said, 'rosh' means 'head', Amalek is the head of the evil nations in the world. It should be pointed out that the numerical value of 'Amalek' is 'safek', Hebrew for 'doubt'. So this negative force desires to implant doubt and indecision in the minds of those who would serve God faithfully and without question.

"Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. when you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind ; they had no fear of God. When the LORD your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land He is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under Heaven. Do not forget!" ( Deuteronomy 25:17-19)

In Moses' farewell address to his people he prophesied: "When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you and inherit it and live in it and you say, 'Let us appoint over me a king like all the nations around me' (then) you will appoint over yourself a king whom the LORD your God shall choose. From among your brothers are you to appoint over yourself a king, you may not appoint over yourself a foreigner who is not your brother." (Deuteronomy 17:14-15)

Now we jump ahead a few years and the Jewish people have been living without a strong central leadership and they missed it so they asked the Prophet Samuel to appoint a king. Samuel was not happy about this request but God told him to go ahead even though it is clear that God is not happy with it either: "Listen to the voice of the people according to all that they say to you for they have not rejected you but they have rejected Me from reigning over them." (1Samuel 8:7)

Why are Samuel and God displeased? The answer lies in the way the people asked for a king:
And they the people said (to Samuel) "..Now set up for us a king to judge us like all the nations..." (1Samuel 8:6)

A Jewish king was NOT supposed to be a king "like all the nations" had. A Jewish king was supposed to be a model of what an ideal Jew is all about-- a model for the rest of the nations to emulate.

So Saul, from the Tribe of Benjamin, was appointed King of Israel. In those days, there were many prophets. Need an answer, go to a prophet. Need advice about your marriage, go ask a prophet. Your donkeys are missing...go ask a prophet. And this is exactly what the future King of Israel did...he went to the greatest prophet alive and asked, "Where's my donkeys?" The prophet Samuel answers, "Don't worry, your donkeys have been found, and by the way, you're the King of Israel."

Saul was a humble man and did not boast to anyone about what Samuel had told him or about his being anointed as King. He went into hiding. And when he was mocked he remained silent. One could say this was a sign of his humility and modesty but in reality this was the first sign of his weakness of character.

Saul was head and shoulders above everyone physically and was head and shoulders above everyone morally and ethically but he had no desire for honor or power. As great as he was he was inhibited in his ability to properly lead the Jewish people. If a leader is not strong enough the Jewish people will walk over him but if he is too aggressive or tries to bully the people they will rebell. This problem with flawed leadership began with Saul and would plague the Jewish people throughout their history.

When the Ammonites invade, Saul rises to the occasion and accepts the kingship and goes on to lead the people in a series of victories against their enemies and establishes his authority as king and solidifies his leadership.
Saul's reigns, then a new King is anointed and Saul dies a tragic death. What Happened ? He disobeyed the commandment of God to wipe out the nation of Amalek.

Amalek IS the ultimate enemy of the Jewish people. This Amalek and his people symbolize evil and God commanded that they be wiped off the face of the earth, because their hatred for the Jews is so great. and if given the chance they WILL wipe all the Jews off the face of the earth.

This seed of Amalek, which still exists today, desires to rid the world of ALL Jews and their moral influence and return the world that God created in to a planet of idolatry, paganism and barbarism. And since this is a cosmic war between good and evil which CANNOT be settled with treaties, God commands the Jews To destroy Amalek--the entire nation, men, women, children, babies...down to the last cow even.

Saul had the opportunity to do so. He waged war with Amalek as commanded and won but when it came to fulfilling the decree he faltered and some of the people were left alive and he even spared the cows...and he took the king....King Agag as his prisoner!

This taking of King Agag is a feather for Saul's and he parades him and boasts about the capture. He also allows him to have a visit from a concubine who becomes pregnant and flees.

The Prophet Samuel then comes and kills King Agag and says to Saul, "Though, you may be small in your own eyes, you are the head of the tribes of Israel; and God anointed you to be king over Israel...why did you not obey the voice of God?....I shall not return to you for you have rejected the Word of the LORD and the LORD has rejected you from being KIng over Israel."

And Samuel turned to go and he(Saul) seized the hem of his robe and it tore. And Samuel said to him, "The LORD has torn the Kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it your fellow whio is better than you."(1Samuel 15:17-28)

So with Saul's disobedience to God, the seed of Amalek lived on.
God rejected Saul but anointed another to be king...this was David. We know he became a great king but it was not without trials and tribulations.

When we look again at Mordecai, we see, that he was of the tribe of Benjamin, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei. Let us look closer at Shimei and see how he connects to King David.

2Samuel 16:5-13.....As King David approached Bahurim, a man from the same clan as Saul's family came out from there. His name was Shemei, son of Geta and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the King's officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David's right and left. As he cursed, Shemei said,"Get out, get out, you man of blood, you scoundrel! The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you reigned. The Lord has handed the kingdom over to your son Absolom. You come to ruin because you are a man of blood!"

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the King, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head."
But the king said, "What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, 'curse David', who can ask, 'Why do this?'"
David then said to Abishai and all his offiaials, "My son, who is of my own flesh, is trying to take my life. How much more, then, this benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today."
So David and his men continued along the road while Shemei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt. the King and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. and he refreshed himself.

2Samuel 19:14-23....Now the men of Judah had come to Gilgal to go out and meet the king and bring him across the Jordan. Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. With him were a thousand Benjamites, along with Ziba, the steward of Saul's household, and his fifteen sons and twenty servants. They rushed to the Jordan, where the king was. They crossed at the ford to take the king's household over and to do whatever he wished. When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king and said to him, "May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first of the whole house of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king."
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, "Shouldn't Shimei be put to death for this? He cursed the LORD's anointed."
David replied, "What do you and I have in common, you sons of Zeruiah? This day you have become my adversaries! Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Do I not know that today I am king over Israel?" So the king said to Shimei, "You shall not die." And the king promised him on oath.

Because of Saul, death and destruction were allowed to reign on the earth, David did what was right in the sight of God and allowed the man Shemei to live. A man whose decendants would be Mordecai and queen Esther and they would save their people from annialation.

As the theme of Esther goes..."For such a time as this".....yes...God places whom He wills, where He wills. He sees the hearts of man and knows in whom He can trust.

David was trustworthy to spare the life of a man who's line would one day save the people of Israel.

And so he, Mordecai was there 'for such a time as this.'

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