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The Risk of Faith

20 March 2011

Today is a day of celebration when we, along with the Jews, celebrate deliverance from our enemies.  It is the Feast of Purim, a time in which our sorrow is turned to gladness and our mourning into a holiday.  Let’s take a deeper look at how God is speaking to us today through this appointed time to celebrate.

Esther was an orphan raised by her Uncle Mordecai.  As a Jewish girl, she was given  the name Hadassah.  She probably never considered during those dark days of losing her father and mother that she would become Queen of Persia, a foreign, gentile land.  Through her trials, however, the Lord God was shaping and molding her for what she was to become.  When Hadassah was called, along with all the virgins in the land, to go to the palace and prepare to become a queen, she did not resist.  Rather, she submitted herself to this calling and trusted the Lord to lead her.  She honored the instruction of her Uncle Mordecai to keep her Jewish identity hidden and even to take a Persian name, Esther.    It is amazing to think that the assignment the Lord had been preparing her for was to become Queen of gentile nation and wife of a gentile King.  Yet God would use this situation to also make Esther a deliverer of the Jewish nation.

This might upset some of our religious ideas of how God is preparing to use us.  But if you are willing to submit to God, you will find that His favor will propel you beyond your wildest expectations.  Not only did Esther rise to a position of great material blessings, but she was given authority in the land.  The King gave her the authority to write a decree determining the fate of her people!  Mordecai also got a huge promotion.  He went from being a relatively unnoticed scribe to second-in-command in all of Persia.  These two faithful servants of God had to overcome their fear in order to rise to these positions.  Esther and Mordecai first had to be willing to lay down their lives.  Mordecai realized that by refusing to bow to Haman, he could be put to death.  Esther knew that to go before the King unsummoned could result in death.  They were people of conviction that lived out their faith in God and did the “hard” thing in the face of death.  God was with them all the way, but they had to take the risk.

So it was with all the Jews on that day.  God did not take away the decree that the Jews be attacked, for the Word says the decree of the King could not be revoked.  Instead, the King gave Esther the opportunity to supersede the decree with a greater decree.  This greater decree gave the Jews the right “to assemble, to defend their lives, to kill or annihilate their enemy or anyone that might attack them.”   Clearly, they had to fight for their lives.  They could not sit back and have the situation take care of itself.  They had to prepare their strategy and determine how they would fight, with whom they would fight and how they would save their communities.  Were they afraid?  Probably.  But again, they had to move beyond their fear and with great courage, take up their weapons and fight.  God was with them in the battle.  He gives supernatural grace in these hard situations, but we will never realize it unless we are willing to risk it all.

As we look at our own lives and the circumstances surrounding us in this hour of history, we must strengthen our understanding of God’s grace and our resolve to live by faith.  Just as God told Joshua, so He says to us, “Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)  Then we, too, will be delivered from our enemies.

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