Wednesday, November 30, 2011

40 Days: Day 10 'The Feast of Purim'

In our study of Esther we discover how she exposed Haman’s sinister plot to destroy all of the Jewish people living through the 127 provinces of Persia. The evil Haman never knew that Esther was Jewish and when Mordecai (Esther’s uncle and foster father) learned of Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews, “He tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went into the city wailing bitterly.”

When Esther was told what was going on, Mordecai looked to her to go into the king’s presence and to beg him for mercy and to plead for the safety of the Jewish people. Esther took it upon herself to risk her life to walk into the king’s presence uninvited with hopes that he would spare her life and grant her request.

Esther gained favor with the king and he offered to grant her any request she had up to half of the entire kingdom. It was her request that Haman be destroyed for perpetrating the assassination of the Jewish people. Haman was then hung on the same gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai to be hung on.

There were those in the provinces who did attack the Jewish people but the Jews overpowered them and defeated all of their enemies. They then celebrated two days of feasting and gladness which was called the “Days of Purim.” The Jewish people have continued down through the centuries the celebration of the “Feast of Purim.” It is a celebration in memory of the deliverance of the Jews from Haman’s plot.

My purpose for reminding you of this story of Esther is to underscore the importance that fasting and prayer played into the deliverance of the Jewish people from extinction. I’m not an expert on fasting and prayer, but I do know that when you combine these two elements, something very powerful happens.

As the tide of our nation shifts away from Christian principles and traditional values, we as God’s people are needed more than ever to restore the health of the nations. God’s people hold the keys to freedom from sin and the abundant life in Christ. It is a privilege to proclaim a time of fasting and prayer for 40 days starting last Monday and continuing through Dec. 31st. Are you on board yet to take some meals or days to fast and pray? We are not fasting for the sake of fasting but we are fasting to pray! Each meal you fast can be the time set for you to pray. We are expecting powerful things to result personally and nationally if we seriously cry out to God for His deliverance.

- Pastor Virgil Amundson