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Beginning with Pharaoh in Egypt, God’s people have continually suffered under tyrants, governments, and persecution. But God always restores His people. He always delivers them. 

And the result of such persecution is always, “But the word of God continued to spread and flourish” (Acts 12:24).

The story of Esther is a beautiful example of God’s deliverance. The story begins with the unlikely destiny of a Jewish girl in the Persian empire, who became the queen.  

Anne Graham Lotz summed it up nicely: “Five centuries before Christ, a Persian official named Haman plotted to kill all the Jews living in Persia. When Queen Esther was asked by her Uncle Mordecai to intercede with King Xerxes on behalf of the Jews, she resisted in fear for her life. Mordecai famously replied, ‘Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’ (Esther 4:14) As a result Queen Esther did intercede, the Jews were saved when they were allowed to defend themselves, Haman was defeated, and Purim was established as an annual time of feasting and celebration.”

Even though the book of Esther is the only book in the Bible that does not mention the name of God, the truth of God’s sovereignty and providence is clearly manifested and is part of the pattern intentionally established by the Lord.   

A pattern of deliverance. 

God prophesied to Abraham that his descendants would be strangers in a foreign land, enslaved and abused for four hundred years (see Genesis 15:13). Hundreds of years later, a Pharaoh, determined to annihilate the promise of future generations of Hebrews, ordered the slaughter of all male babies born to Jewish mothers. Moses, the chosen deliverer, escaped because his mother hid him.

Matthew echoed the prophet Jeremiah: “Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more” (Jeremiah 31:15). In his gospel, Matthew recalls the same haunting lament in his description of Herod’s vengeful murder of Bethlehem’s male infants in the first century: “Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:18). Jesus escaped the slaughter when Mary and Joseph fled with Him to Egypt.

In Israel’s history, the pattern of deliverance is continually repeated: Moses, Joseph, Esther, Daniel. But the slaughter of innocents and the emergence of a deliverer from humble means form a picture whose layers grow deeper and richer as time moves us closer and closer to the return of the Messiah.

This year the Jewish holiday of Purim begins on Thursday, February 25, at sunset and goes through sunset on February 26. 

As we observe and celebrate with the Jewish people the miracle of Purim, let us cry out to the Lord! Much of the church world-wide is fasting and praying for 40 days, in anticipation of celebrating the Resurrection and the return of the Messiah!

Below is a link about an event that occurred on February 21 – and is continuing through the world. It is such a blessing to hear and join God’s people calling out to the Lord.

Hear us Lord, as we pray and cry, Maranatha!

World Jewish Prayer video – Click HERE

For written prayer – Click HERE

Pastor Ray Bentley

Love God. Love People. Pastor Ray Bentley lived by those words. His love for the Lord and the people he served was demonstrated every day through his actions, leadership, ministry, teaching, sharing, and caring.

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