Purim 2021 Rock of Israel Holy Days

The events of Purim are a cause for great celebration and rejoicing in the Jewish community. We remember how God delivered our people from certain destruction and turned disaster into great victory.

There are times when things seem very out of control. Everything appears to be going wrong! And yet, in war, in peace, in bad times, in good times, in sickness, and in health, God is still on the throne!

The Book of Esther, which never mentions God by name, is a great example of God’s control in a bad situation. But there is something so instructional in these events that affect us today.

We can see how the story of Esther speaks to our lives. The book of Esther shows us the process of evil in human life, and the way God works to deliver us from it.

Chapter 3 reveals the conflict between God’s chosen Mordecai and the enemy of God’s people.

What is behind the enmity between Mordecai and Haman? We get a clue in Haman’s lineage. Haman was, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite. What is an Agagite?

An Agagite is a descendant of Agag. We read about him in 1 Samuel 15 where King Saul, the first king of Israel, was ordered by Samuel, the prophet of God, to mount an expedition against the Amalekites:

(1 Sam 15:1-3) Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. {2} This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. {3} Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'”

And so Saul gathered the people and went down to battle, and we read in Verse 8:

(1 Sam 15:8-10) He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he destroyed with the sword. {9} But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs–everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. {10} Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel:

Because of this failure Samuel was sent by God to tell Saul that the kingdom was to be taken from him and given to another since he had refused to obey the command of God to destroy Agag, the king of the Amalekites.

Amalek was the enemy of Israel when they came through the wilderness on the way from Egypt into Canaan.

(Exo 17:8-16) The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. {9} Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” {10} So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.

{11} As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. {12} When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset. {13} So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. {14} Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

Going back even farther you will discover that Amalek was the grandson of Esau, and concerning Esau God said, “Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated”.

All through the Bible, Amalek, Agag, and the descendants of Esau are a picture of the enemy that opposes God. That battle continues to this day.

This principle is at work in the world today in every human heart. In the world in which we live, there is a Haman.

In every life there is a satanic principle at work. In the New Covenant, it is called “the flesh.” It lives just as it did in the times of Esther, in order to exalt itself.

Like Haman the flesh is forever seeking status and position in the eyes of others. It comes to us just a  s Haman came to King Ahasuerus as one he could trust.

And yet Haman’s true purpose was to advance himself and to see that everyone bow before him.

We probably don’t realize what the flesh is doing in our lives just as the King did not realize the evil that Haman was doing.  We think that this principle, which demands that we think of ourselves first, is the essence of living — if this were destroyed, we would lose all.

As a result we may not recognize the Haman in our lives.

Now within the Believer, Haman has a relentless enemy; just as Mordecai was to Haman, so is the Holy Spirit of God. The New Covenant says, ” (Gal 5:17) For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.

There never can be peace, for just as God said he will make war against Amalek from generation to generation. He will never make peace with him. (Rom 8:8) Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

Within all of us there is that which is essentially displeasing to God, no matter how fine it may appear to us. It cannot please God for God has sworn eternal enmity against it.

But in the Believer’s heart, the Spirit of God has landed and gained a foothold, that he might oppose this demonic influence within us that subtly and cleverly deceives us and tries to destroy us.

He has come to deliver us from this traitor of a friend.  The presence of the Spirit in the heart of a believer arouses the flesh to the anger of Haman against Mordecai.  

It reveals itself in pride & self-centeredness — the flesh — is not our friend, but rather a subtle, enemy, the most important thing we can do is to learn to recognize how he works, for we never can win the battle against him unless we know his tactics.

There is no possibility of victory without this kind of knowledge as Paul tells us (2 Cor 2:11) in order that Satan might not outwit us, for we are not unaware of his schemes. When We know how he works and we can call upon the power of God in our lives.

 
So, in Verses 6-9 Esther 3, we are given insight about the strategy of the enemy. Haman is determined to gain full control of the king and yet he must do this without making the king suspicious of what he’s up to.

So his first tactic is to approach with subtlety, in Verse 6 we read: (Est. 3:6) yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.

The enemy of our soul always starts out at the fringes of life, in our attitudes rather than our convictions. He begins with Mordecai’s people, not with Mordecai.

We find a list of evidences in Galatians 5, Verses 22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

This is the way the world knows whether the Spirit of God is at work in our life, or not. People look for that which is in accord with the character of God. These are “the people of Mordecai” in my life and yours.

The whole strategy of the flesh is to convince us that these attitudes which mark God at work in us are really not to our advantage, that we would get along much better without them, and that the attitudes of the flesh are the things that will really pay off for us.

If we can be led to distrust and reject these godly attitudes we frustrate the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. Haman knows this so he goes after “the people of Mordecai” 

Has Haman been talking to us lately?

Has he, for instance, suggested that keeping your temper and giving a soft answer to those around you never really gets you anywhere, especially where you at work or here in the congregation?

Those willing to stand up for their rights and not let anyone walk over them, these are the people who prosper.

Has he whispered to you that honesty is not really the best, at least when it comes to filing our income tax, or submitting our expenses?

Has he suggested to those of us in school that you can’t get good grades in school unless you do like everyone does and cheat a little bit?

Has he suggested that love is all right for sentimentalists, but the only way to really defend the faith is to argue with those who don’t agree with your theology, and hound them out of the congregation or your workplace?

Has he suggested that good manners and polite words are needed for business and for strangers, but at home you can let your guard down and say what you like, especially to your wife and children — they will respect you all the more for it?

It begins with decision: Nothing can be done in our lives without the consent of our will! We have the final responsibility for what happens in our lives, because nothing can be done, good or evil, apart from the consent of our will.

We can harken to the Haman of self the flesh or we can learn the ways of the Spirit of God.  They are discerned through our study of the Word of God and it’s ways are ways of peace and life. For ourselves and for all those whom we come in contact with.