June 30, 2015

I am not a helpless victim!

Esther 8:1–10:3, 3 John 5–15, Psalm 118:17–29

The Old Testament points to Christ and often illustrates facets of the Christian life. Today’s reading blesses me as it again reminds me of how God works. The story is near the climax when Esther goes to King Ahasuerus concerning Haman’s plan to destroy her people.

It makes me think of a different plan, the one Satan has to destroy God’s people even yet. This raises a question: why does God allow his activity? The Bible does not spell out the reasons, yet God does allow it. Instead of changing the way things are, like that ancient king, God simply adds a new plan.

In that culture, the king could not change anything sealed with his ring. Haman used the ring to make and seal the edict to kill the Jews, but the king decided to make a new edict. He told Mordecai (Esther’s uncle) that he could, “Write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked . . . . And he (Mordecai) wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud, saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.” (Esther 8:8, 10–12) The first edict could not be changed, but this one allowed the Jews to defend themselves.

Even now, the plan of Satan is allowed. He can attack God’s people, yet God has given us the order and the ability to fight back. Satan can be resisted. In Christ, I do not have to be a victim. I am not helpless; he cannot destroy me or anyone who belongs to Jesus Christ.

As for that ancient victory, the Jews celebrated with great joy. They still celebrate it every year: “These days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.” (Esther 9:28)

For me, this celebration is not annual, not even monthly or weekly. It is every day, even moment by moment! God allows the enemy’s attacks, but I can defend myself. I can follow the Lord and obey the instructions He gives, such as, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.” (3 John 11)

I rejoice that the Lord still calls the shots and makes the rules. “You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:28–29)

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