I have hesitated to share this as I do not want to take anything away from the great Jewish fest of Purim. The record in Esther is a factual account of one time in history when God saved His chosen people from destruction. There is a danger of taking an incident from scripture and applying it to another time and place. I share this article because of (Romans 15:4) "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." There are too many similarities from this account to today to ignore.
First of all, there are world leaders today who boldly proclaim not only their hatred of Jews, but also their desire to kill all the Jews or drive them all into the sea. Is it a mere coincidence that the President of Israel, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu meet with President Obama to discuss the situation in Iran, the modern Persia of the Purim story, the same week as Purim is celebrated? We assume that our president will once again try to discourage Israel from not only attacking Iran, but also from continuing to build on their own land.
Secondly, persecution around the world increases every week. The Bulletin of Persecution e-mail grows longer with new incidents in additional places. Worldwide, there are more attacks on Christians because of their faith than and other religious group. Here such terms as "wake up", "alert", "take note", "watch" and "pay attention" all apply. While people here in America and Canada are not being beaten, set on fire, or killed by mobs or the government. Recently I have received many reports of adults who have been fired from their jobs and students in public schools suffering for their faith.
Students have been removed from class and sent for "counseling" for saying that they believe homosexuality is wrong. They were charged with "bullying" for making such a statement. One seven year old girl was warned not to mention Jesus to another student on the playground although both attend the same church. She was informed that faith was not to be discussed among students. At the same time more and more students are being forced to sing praises to a false god or be expelled for several days for disturbing the class. Even silence is not tolerated. All must participate. Imagine the reaction if a class were to sing "Jesus loves me".
One eleven year old girl was openly rejected and ridiculed by her class while on a field trip to the woods where the teacher instructed the class to hug trees, become one with them, and praise mother earth. She made the bold, and unacceptable, statement that God had made everything. The teacher and other students treated her as an outcast for the rest of the field trip.
The parents of one middle school boy expressed outrage when their son objected to going to school on cross dressing day. Boys were to dress in girl's clothing and girls were to dress in boy's clothing. They were told that the school expected all students to participate in school functions regardless of their personal religious beliefs.
This is not limited to one school district or the schools in one state. Each week such reports are becoming more frequent. One of the lessons to learn from the book of Esther is that God's people are to be aware of what is going on in the world - not only in places of worship but also in the political realm. Esther did not call for public demonstrations or riots, but for God's people to pray.
Another lesson we learn is that God's people are not to compromise to spare themselves. We know what happened in Europe during WW II when the church compromised and failed to stand up for truth. Today, many of their churches are close to empty and others have been turned into museums or used for other purposes other than places of worship.
We cannot expect children and teens to stand for truth in the face or ridicule and persecution when our churches have turned out their lights and compromised their stands and teachings in order to be more accepted by the world. If we continue in the direction our churches and country has been going recently we will not only lose our witness to the world, but more of our freedoms as well.
I believe this year God would have us seriously study this account which is one example He has given us, and turn to Him in prayer. It was originally written generations ago but we can learn from it in our society today. We may not fear being hanged on gallows, but we have enemies that seek to destroy us and silence the Gospel we proclaim. This is especially a serious matter since our own government now considers those who believe in being born again, the bible, and prophecy as "potential terrorists".