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03/23/24 Gathering: A Teaching on Purim

Teaching:


Introduction:

 

Before Esther’s time, Judah was dispersed by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Jews were in exile – some stayed where they settled, and some returned to their homeland. During the time of Esther, Persia was the reigning power covering a large amount of territory and provinces (including modern day India, Egypt, and Greece). Susa was the capitol city of the Persian Empire. Haman was an Amalekite, whose history goes back to the disobedience of Saul. Persia was home to most Jewish families during this time. So, Haman’s plan would have just about eradicated those of Jewish descent.

 

The Book of Esther: Starting at the end of the story.

 

Esther 9:20-28:

The Establishment of Purim

20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction. 25 But when the plot came to the king’s attention,[a] he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles. 26 (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. 28 These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants. (NIV)


Purim is derived from the word “pur” which means lot, dice, cast. Haman cast lots, and the lots he cast landed on His own head (Prov. 16:33). The tribe connected to this month is Neptali whose symbol is an elk or deer – both known for leaping. This month is a time to Leap in Joy. Purim takes place in the Month of Adar. Adar means Joy is my strength. It is the last month on God’s calendar and is all about Joy and the call to Finish Strong (the Joy of the LORD is our Strength). Joy comes from the Father’s presence. It is not circumstantial. When Joy is mature it manifests as a deep and secure trust in the Father. Joy is who we are in Christ and its foundation is based on our relationship with God through Jesus.


Scriptures to study about Joy: (and teaching notes)


Psalm 16: The Lord maintains our lot. In His presence is the is the fullness of Job. Presence is defined in Hebrew as “face.” Yeshua prefers face-to-face communication with us and as we grow in our relationship with Him, it is His face that will manifest through us.


Isaiah 56:7: Become a house of prayer. Imagine you frequently visited McDonalds (which we do not recommend) and ate a hamburger. Just because you go to McDonald’s and eat a hamburger frequently, does not mean you will become a hamburger. It is the same with going to church. We cannot go to church and expect to become a Christian. True Christianity is not about frequenting a building, but face-to-face relationship with God through Jesus. It is our growing relationship with God that transforms us from glory to glory.


Proverbs 17:22: To rejoice (a merry heart) is the manifestation of Joy.


Proverbs 13:9


Nehemiah 8:10: While there is a time to sorrow, we are not to live in the place of sorrow. For living in the presence of God is the fullness of Joy.


Isaiah 12:1-3: We are to draw from the well of salvation. Yeshua means salvation, so we are to draw Jesus from the well of Jesus.


2 Timothy 1:6: We are not to be overcome by the world’s problems, but overcome with the spirit of Power, Love, and Sound Mind given to us in Christ. We are not to be timid in battle or fall prey to fear of man. Esther was filled with moral courage and boldness when she approached the King. She did not allow fear of man to stop her feet, making her inactive. Fear of man will cause us to be inactive in duty. Instead, we are to draw our strength from the LORD, walking in power, confidence, and dependance (trust) in God.


Psalm 2:4: God laughs at the plots of the enemy. The enemy and his plots are well beneath God, so God laughs knowing that the enemy plots in vain.


Where is God in the book of Esther?


While God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are not directly seen in the book, we can know that God was active in the Salvation of the Jewish people. There is Cronos time and Kairos time. Kairos time is the sudden moment something occurs along the timeline. Esther was in preparation for a long time, then suddenly she was called into action when Haman had established his plot to kill the Jewish people. Suddenly, she steps on the scene and an entire tribe is saved. Esther’s time of preparation prepared her for her purpose in securing and protecting the line of David. Esther 4:12 reminds us that God authors our lives. At the right time, Esther reveals her identity (while simultaneously revealing Hamans’s identity and wicked plot). She wielded the power and authority she was given for true righteousness and found favor with God and man (the King). God orchestrated events behind the scenes. God went before His people and prepared for them a young woman (Esther) who fast, pray, speak, and do battle on God’s behalf.


Esther, empowered by the grace of God was victorious in her battle. Because of the Esther’s intercession, the King of Persia authored a new decree, a higher decree, that would give the Jewish people the authority to defend themselves against their enemy.  

And so, it is for the Children of God today! We have been given a higher decree through Jesus that we may be victorious through the word of God against the Kingdom of Darkness. We wield a higher decree with greater authority that guarantees our victory. As Jon Schleifer said, when you know that you are the best of the best in a fight, you can know that you know you will win. And isn’t that the best position to be in?


Fullness of Time:

We have, as children of God, power, and authority through God’s higher decree to crush the work of the Satan and drive out the enemies of the Kingdom of Heaven. If the Church simply waits for the return of Christ, they are inactive, asleep. It is our duty to use the authority and power given to us through the righteousness of Christ so others will see His victory and be drawn to the presence of God.  

 

Be Reminded:

  • Work the Word: Study the Word, Stand on the Word, and Apply the Word

  • Repent! Repentance leads to Restoration. We cannot have revival without repentance.

  • Sow Boldness and you will reap boldness.

  • Seize the moment. Step forward.

  • Pause to listen. Do not fear the silence, instead embrace it, lean in, and listen to the rhema word of God.

  • Be fervent about what you give your attention to.

  • Pray! You learn to care for what you pray for.

  • Decide: Do you want to be part of the Warrior Bride.

  • Warriors engage. We are a warrior bride, not a bride in waiting. Be bold in Christ.

  • Agree: The Bride should desire to be in agreement with her King.

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