Tag Archives: old testament

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS 2017 #5

“On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

5 golden promises.

“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”~Num 22:27

“Do not be afraid…since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard…”~Dan 10:12

“In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.”~Ps 4:8

“Your faith has given you life, go in peace.”~Lk 7:50

“The grace of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah be with all of his Holy Ones. Amen.”~Rev 22:21

“On the 5th Day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me, 5 gold rings.”

Gold rings often symbolize a covenant. A vow to be kept between two parties. A promise. Many believe the five golden rings in this song are the 4 written gospels and the existence of the Jewish people. Old Testament covenant blended with the New Testament covenant.

Just a song. A children’s song. A song sung in the backseats of cars. A song knocked off so many times in so many ways. And yet – perhaps – it is so much more.

12 Days to ponder the true Gift of Christmas. 12 Days to honor the True Love who sent the Gift. 12 Days to remember to whom all honor should be given.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”

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KNOW

Did you know that out of all the books in the Bible, there is one book that does not mention God at all?

Reading the Old Testament has never been easy for me until I started learning about Jewish history, wisdom and traditions. Like the proverbial light bulb, I am starting to not only understand but want to read more. It puts so many questions from the New Testament to rest but then raises twice as many to the forefront of my mind.

Isn’t that always the way?

Anyway, today the Jewish people finish celebrating the festival called Purim. They read all 10 chapters of the book of Esther today in this last month of the Jewish calendar, Adar. All these centuries later, they continue to celebrate Esther saving the Jewish people from Haman’s plan of destruction. These were dark times for the Jewish people.

Dark times. Esther’s times. A time when they did not “FEEL” the presence of God. They did not overtly hear His voice speaking to them or through their leadership. They did not see His Hand steering their purpose. They did not feel His love sheltering them from their enemies. The Bible denotes these dark times by not mentioning His name or even referencing Him at all – not even once.

If you’re like me, you have to scratch your head and wonder why? Rabbinic wisdom says it is because the Bible is a book of life. There are dark times in life. Thus, these dark days have to be represented in the Torah. There are just times when we don’t “FEEL” God in anyway, shape or form. Not in our selves – in our leadership – in our culture. In fact it seems like the darker the times the less we “FEEL” God at all. The importance of Purim in the last month of the year is to point us towards the fact that at the end of all mortal things, we don’t have to “FEEL” anything – we just have to “KNOW”.

“KNOW” that Our Father is still there, just like we “KNOW” that He was there at the beginning. His Hand is still moving over us, sheltering us. His voice is still speaking to us and for us, even when we don’t hear it. His Love continues to weave a comforter around us when we are shivering and with bellies empty. His Light is still pointing out the rocks and the abysses under our feet even if we don’t recognize it.

That’s the whole point of Esther’s story…Purim. The last month of God’s year. A joyous celebration of “KNOWING” overcomes any dark time that we are experiencing. An earthly ending that is just a spiritual beginning.

The past few days as I have been rolling all these crazy thoughts over in my mind, I like to think that this is probably the time of year when Yeshua was laid in a manger. The Roman occupation of the Jewish land certainly qualifies as dark times.  Avar is the last month.  The end of a physical year. Looks like a great time for a spiritual beginning to me.  God likes His festivals. He likes to remind us of all the things He has been trying to teach us since our creation.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that Christ was sacrificed as the perfect lamb the weekend of Passover. After all – it just takes one look at the intricacies of creation to figure out that Father God is a very detailed oriented entity. Lining up things is probably one of the easier things He accomplishes. Although – the way we like to screw things up – maybe we don’t make it all that easy.

Anyway – there you go. When dark times come on the mortal side of things, the beginning on the spiritual side is just not far off. Part of me is rejoicing in this because we are definitely showing signs of dark times in this ol’ world. The other part sends me to the knees in prayer for this ol’ world.

I may not always “FEEL” God in my life – but the the Book of Esther in the Bible and Christ remind me to “KNOW” God IS with me – all the time, in every situation, for ever and ever, AMEN and AMEN. I think I know what song will sing me to sleep tonight – “Jesus love me this I “KNOW”, for the Bible tells me so…”  [google images]

Happy Birthmonth, America

  • In Philadelphia on the 2nd of July 1776, a vote was taken that changed the way the world thought.
  • On the 3rd of July 1776, a small sentence on the second page reported the results of that vote.
  • On the 4th of July 1776, the final draft was submitted to be published and eventually – signed in August of 1776.
  • Thus, the date everyone in this brand new country saw as they read this small document was July 4, 1776.
  • Independence Day.

It was [is] not a perfect country, and it was [is] filled with controversies.

  • Natives vs Europeans vs Africans vs …
  • English vs French vs Spanish vs Dutch vs …
  • Catholic vs protestant vs Jews vs atheists …
  • Tory vs Yankee vs Rebel vs Republican vs Democrat vs …
  • Slave vs Free vs indentured vs …
  • Rich vs middle vs poor vs homeless vs …

The divisions continue to swirl in growing concentric circles over and over and over.

We are human and we tend to make mistakes – sometimes – very big ones. Unfortunately, we also tend to dwell – focus – ruminate on those mistakes over and over. Giving it new names – justice…punishment…pay back…unfair… bias…bigotry…  But what if instead of concentrating on the mistakes, we concentrated on the knowledge and the wisdom gained from those horrible mistakes?

Walking dogs are always a great way to meet people. A couple of years back, one of those people encounters introduced me to some new concepts that I’ve just started re-reading this past week. Typically (for me), I get side-tracked by daily craziness, or whining about this or that, and do not pursue things with great intensity. (After all, I am reitred and “deserve” to be a little lazy, right?) I guess that laziness was a mistake because…(ready for it?)…guess what popped up in a devotional today? You got it!  Not one but both ideas in one short devotional. One God giving a one big hint. Gotta love those God hints.

The first idea is called Appreciative Inquiry by David Coopperrider and Diana Whitney. Essentially – it is looking for the best in any situation.

http://http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/intro/whatisai.cfm

The other is a 2004 documentary called “What the (Bleep) Do We Know?” The content of this movie explores a spiritual connection between quantum physics and consciousness.

http://http://www.whatthebleep.com/

Now the first idea relates a little more to my world. After teaching for so many years, I’ve trained my self to look for the best in most everything (although like everyone, I can get caught up in negative situations). Quantum physics and consciousness is a little out of my realm – well – more than a little. Although, I have picked up a lot of scientific facts from reading National Geographic, Discovery, ect, I really struggle with the in-depth study of it. Thank God for my children who seem to have taken after hubby and are much more adept at understanding such things so they can help explain it to me.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” ~ Phil 4:8

Fairly obvious advice from the WORD. Think on the admirable, the excellent or the praiseworthy. What if we tried to do that more in our world today? What if we did that with our friends? Our enemies? Our state? Our nation? A couple political conventions? A lot of people would complain that we are only hiding our heads in the sand or taking a “Pollyanna” approach. Yet, if we acknowledge the injustice, the damage, the pain and accept that we can find knowledge, wisdom and discernment in our mistakes, is it ignoring the problem or moving forward with new insights? I need to keep reading, but now I have a spiritual underpinning for this thought.

“Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place where you can see them; you will not see them all but only the outskirts of their camp. And from there, curse them for me.” ~ Num 23:13

The second one takes us a little deeper and back into the OT with Jewish wisdom. I have always skipped over stories that I don’t understand or can’t figure out why it is in the Bible. Drives me crazy. Like a jigsaw puzzle that takes forever to put together. I will read and re-read a story trying to figure out why it is important for me to know and after a while – I will just push it out of my mind and go on to the next puzzle. Obviously, I don’t know this Bible story well, so again, I will have to go back and re-read it a few more times. Essentially, Balak, King of the Moabites, hired Balaam to curse Israel. The hitch was that they had to see the people to make the curse work. You might be wondering what this has to do with Quantum Physics? Lucky for both of us, the rabbi who wrote this devotional had the answer.

“The gift of sight allows us to take in so much information about the world around us. Not only do we receive facts and knowledge by looking at something, we also may receive inspiration or good feelings from what we observe. However, what we often don’t realize is that when we look at something, we aren’t just on the receiving end. We are also contributing and affecting the world around us, even if we don’t know it. Quantum physics confirmed this concept through an experiment that was set up in order to ascertain whether matter was a particle or a wave. I’m not here to give a physics lesson, but the end result was startling. When not observed, matter behaved like a wave. However, when the matter was observed, it changed into a particle. In other words, scientific evidence proved that an observer does influence what is being observed. That means we all affect what we look at, and how we see things affects them profoundly.” ~ Rabbi Eckstein.

America has completed her 240th year.  For those who are moving and shaking and those who are just observing. it looks like the 241st year will be another decisive and derisive year in many ways.   I wonder how and what I am learning today relates to those facts, yet – I know it does. I need to do some more reading on both of these ideas. I need to read more American history. I NEED to read more of the WORD. Knowledge always comes first, and if I’m observant, wisdom and discernment will follow —- eventually. Right now, I do know that America and Israel are tired together in more ways than the one that is written on paper and stored in Washington D.C. I know God is moving more than just me. I’m just not sure why I’m on the journey that I am walking. It makes me smile, because there is always something unexpected and uncontrollable that Our Father will bring my way – if I have the courage to stay the course unto its completion.  One step at a time…

In the meantime – Happy Birthmonth, America. It is promising to be an interesting – if somewhat scary – yearus-1443698_960_720

Attitude of Graditude #23

Gratitude #23: Jewish Wisdom and Traditions. My two year journey of reading and learning about Jewish wisdom and traditions continues to amaze me. Whether I am reading a book, listening to a lecture or reading a devotional, I continue to learn more about the WORD (primarily the OT, but often insights into why Rabbe Yeshua) than I ever thought I would.

Today’s lesson is a good example. When I read Genesis, I get all caught up in the musical poetry of the creation of all things. I envision each thing as it is made and see it bloom and burst forth into reality as I know it. Night. Day. Land. Oceans. Plants. Animals. Humans. Then I read Chapter 2, not truly absorbing the words written. “… Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being…”.

Jewish Sages study each and every word, letter and mark of their Torah. They debate and pray and debate again. They debate the oral traditions passed down from other sages. It is what they do as they try to understand the WORD and the essence of Hashem Elohim. In their tradition, they believe that even though the 300px-Hands_of_God_and_AdamFather had created plants on the third day, nothing (according to v.5) had grown yet. Now how come I never really noticed that discrepancy before? Plants were created, but they had not burst forth upon the surface? According to Jewish sages, the seeds remained underground waiting for prayer to bring forth the water. The first communication between a Father and His new born child brought water to the face of the earth. In that way, humans learned that prayer (communication) with God was an essential part of depending and trusting Him in all things.

Some gratitudes are harder to grasp than others and yet, it is in the struggling where we tend to learn the most. I’m still struggling with this one tonight, trying to absorb it and put it into words at the same time. But I know – as I continue to pray and re-read these words – that Hashem will hear and open my eyes a little wider, clean my dirty contacts and help me percieve the wisdom carried in His WORD. For that, and Jewish wisdom, I am thankful.

wisdom

The Ark

Sundays are filled with blessings.  Time in Church…the WORD…prayer…reflection…Love…Grace…Peace…family…  Is it any wonder that the 4th commandment reminds us to observe sacred times?  The Sabbath…the Shemitah were established to reminds us of what “…Thy Kingdom” would look like – if we could just quit getting out of the ark to walk a path where temptations slither and threaten to latch on to us with poisonous fangs.

ark
noun/Latin/OE
  1. 1.
    (in the Bible) the ship built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the Flood; Noah’s ark.
    • a vessel or sanctuary that serves as protection against extinction.
      “a starship ark built by their android protectors”
    • archaic
      a chest or box.
      “the ark was of Italian walnut”
    • a large, flat-bottomed boat.
      noun: ark; plural noun: arks
  2. 2.
    short for Ark of the Covenant
    • a chest or cupboard housing the Torah scrolls in a synagogue. (Google definition)

Yesterday was no exception.  We carved some early pumpkin faces.  Played with the Grands.  Hugged on the daughter and her husband.  Watched some football. Took some memory pictures.  Fun times.  Yet – in the back of my mind –  words our pastor shared, continued to vibrate.  Harmonic flashbacks that accessed a melody taught long ago in my small, rural, traditional church.  My pastor then was probably one of the holiest men I knew…next to my father.  WWII prisoner of war and unable to have children with his wife, he was no stranger to pain and suffering. Yet, when my father had his heart attacks, it was my pastor’s smile, words and hugs that brought peace into our home.  He understood Christ Jesus in a way that few people ever do.  He was the first one that ever connected all the “arks” in the Bible for me. A long ago lesson that, somehow, I had forgotten.

“Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.”  Gen 6:14 KJV

Big_Ark_in_Dordrecht_3The first time an ark is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis.  Most people know this story.  God asks a special man to build an ark of cypress wood.  The ark holds God’s treasures for a period of 40 days and nights that brings them through a terrible time.  In Jewish tradition the word for ark is teyvat which in Hebrew has no relation to the word that is used in Ark of the Covenant which is aron kodesh. They do not consider them related at all.  And yet – in English – the words are one and the same.

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matt 5:18

It makes you wonder.  Why is this one little word out of the thousands that have been translated from Hebrew to English in the Bible was treated so differently? I have a feeling that it wasn’t a mistake.

“Have them make an ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.” Ex 25:10 KJV

In Exodus 25, God tells Moshe to build another ark.  This ark was smaller.  It was947563-ark3 more ornate.  It was would also carry something special.  It would be carried on poles.  It would hold the treasures of God’s laws and keep them safe in times of trouble.  An ark that would travel with the Jewish people.  An ark that would sit in their tabernacle where Yahweh  would join with them.

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.” Heb 8:8-10

On Sunday, my preacher said (and this is a paraphrase) that we needed to get on the ark again.  The ark of the New Covenant.  The Book of Hebrews uses the language of the Old Testament to strengthen the validity of this “new” covenant and encourage the new believers, despite the persecution and dangers swirling around them, to stay strong in their belief in Jesus Christ.  In other words, stay in the “ark” of this new covenant.  Again – another “ark” that would safely carry God’s treasures: His precious Son and those who choose to get in the “ark” with Him.

“This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Heb 8:11-12 KJVyeshua high priest

Rabbi Yeshua became the High Priest of this ark.  He fulfilled all the requirements that made this new “ark” possible. He lived through all the temptations – and in most cases – more than what we will ever experience.  He lived his life by the 613 commandments given by Our Father under the old covenant.  He lived life as a true Son of God, modeling for us a way to live. He fulfilled the old covenant and replaced it with the new one.  Hand-designed by His holy, omniscient Father. Sacrificing His life for our sins. Crushing His heel into the serpent’s head.  Steering the ark. Protecting His ark that carries us into His Father’s kingdom.

Three times “arks” are created in the Bible.  Three times God has filled these “arks”  with His precious creations.  I find it intriguing that there are always messages in the Our Father’s WORD just waiting for us to notice and wonder about as we go throughout our crazy lives.  I can buy all the things that will physically offer security during these troubling times.  I can fill the pantry.  I can provide alternative energy sources.  I can gather my loved ones close.  But unless I am willing to get into the “ark” of the New Covenant, I will sink pretty quickly in these stormy waters.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t tread water very long.

 Google images

 

 

 

Commandment Series: Prohibition of Physically Harming a Person

ten-commandments-400.hebrew abbrev“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”~ Mother Teresa

A few weeks ago, the Grands came and spent their first overnight.  The air mattress took up half of our living room.   Piled high with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals  and an occasional, rather large, choc lab or two jumping into the mix, they played, drew pictures, giggled and laughed until finally…Grandma and Papa gave the thumbs up to the start to “movie night”.  Popcorn crumbs.  Stray pieces of paper.  A cold nose of  a lab pressed into tiny hands.  By 9:30, both were sound asleep and content.  Love danced, much as David did, around our home in a big way.

I love Mother Teresa’s quote for this reason.  Love in the home teaches love for those outside the home.  But as we all know, it is not always easy.  After all, people are different.  Different colors.  Different beliefs.  Different mindsets.  Different everything.  There is not one person that is the exact duplicate of someone else.  Buckeyes falling from a buckeye tree.  To love someone that we totally dislike is…sometimes…lol…most times, one enormous, challenging, overpowering test thrown into our life journey.  To kill – whether it is emotionally, physically, spiritually, verbally – hits all of us at one time or another.

“You shall not murder.” Ex 20:13

the-sixth-commandment-GoodSalt-lwjas0406In the Old Testament, God wrote upon the tablets a pretty simple concept.  Don’t kill anybody physically.  Jewish tradition still looks at in a fairly straight forward way.  Don’t physically harm anyone.  I like to think that these were simple commands because the Jewish people were babies in Faith.  When we are raising babies, we don’t use long complicated stories or sentences to get our point across.  Everything is stated in the simplest terms possible.  “NO!”  “STOP!”  “OK!” “GO” The Jewish people were the first to stand on their faith in Jehovah-Tsid-Kenu. By the time of the New Covenant when Rabbi Yeshua walked this earth, He could already see where we were headed.  There were already many ways to destroy a life.  So He used a more complicated parable to support and expand this radical concept – LOVE, PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES.  loveyourenemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matt 5:43-48

When we watch the news and see all the pain, degradation and mutilation that humans do to each other, we often feel anger and revenge thoughts enter into our sphere.  When a loved one shatters a vow, a trust we have placed in them, those thoughts appear just as strongly.  Yet, thankfully, most of us never resort to a physical murder. We’ve become pretty sophisticated.  We use psychological or emotional “murder” instead.  A FB post full of a few choice words – retaliation (an eye for an eye) – revealing a secret or two.  “Killing” words can be pretty damaging these days.  When I’m hurting I force myself to start looking for positive words instead of concentrating on all the injustice of the world that can be flashed across all our screens in high definition video – or living through a more personal bump in my life road (that feels like I’m watching a high definition video).  I kick my rear end in gear and into the book of Matthew and remind myself about the commandments of the New Covenant or cry as I sing the Psalms in my heart.  The promises that Our Father says over and over reassure me, and I can pray with a healing heart.

Jewish tradition has another neat way of looking at things.  Their Sages have written that as one sleeps, their souls ascend to Heaven.  While they are there, heaven-of-angelsthey record in Heaven’s books all the things that they did during their day.  Then they sign the book.  Traditionally, as practicing Jews say the Shema, (“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut 6:4-5,)  they are also thanking God for returning their soul at the start of a new day.

If we all thought we were traveling to Heaven at the end of our day to write about all the things we did or said, would it make a difference? Would it make “Thou Shalt Not Kill” (meaning more than the physical act), more real to us?  Would it make it easier to obey?  I have found that I like thinking about this Jewish tradition. Traveling to Heaven each night, writing my part of the daily human existence in the Book of Life, signing my name at the bottom, and then thanking God when I awake in the morning seems like a fantastic way to start each day of my life.  Wisdom and discernment make the sixth commandment a little easier to obey. Just another choice.

(Google images)

 

Lenten Journey #12

My 14 year old grandson made a wonderful discovery today and he wasn’t afraid to talk about it in a FB status. “Pretty gutsy,” as Grandma Mickey would say. Then I read all the Bible verses that he referenced. I found myself laughing when I got to one section of it because Moses’s words could so easily have been mine.

“He [Moses] asked the LORD, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now–if I have found favor in your eyes–and do not let me face my own ruin.” Num 11:11-15

There are so many times when I find myself ranting and raving and being very dramatic before my LORD…just like Moses. Especially, when I didn’t want to be on the journey. Looks like I’m in good company. This is also one time I wish I knew what Jewish wisdom says about this portion of the Torah. My guess – it’s just lucky that Moses paved the road for the rest of us. Our Father kinda knows what to expect of us and sent Jesus to make it a little easier. However, when I looked back at the first section of the Bible readings, Rabbi Jesus put up with the same type of whining from the Jewish people during his time on earth…including the disciples who argued over who would “sit on His left and right side” or how to “feed a multitude” or “save us from the storm”….

Faith is not easy when you are on a journey through a desert or through a flood, snowstorm, up a mountain…however you want to envision it, and I think that is why God gave us so many examples in His WORD. I used to wonder why in the world any of the “heroes” in the OT and even Paul in the NT were there? Most of them had some serious character flaws (not to mention the disciples who ran away when things got tough). And then I became a wiser adult and noticed all my own character flaws and how hard it was to stay on Our Father’s path. If everyone in the Bible was perfect, we would all give up. Even the disciples queried, “Who then can be saved?” (Matt 19:25) Jesus knows. Our Father knows. And that is exactly the purpose of the Lenten Journey.   http://www.biblestudytools.com/passage.aspx?q=Matthew+19%3A16-30%3B+Numbers+11-12%3B+Ecclesiastes+8

Lenten Journey #8

Today was cold in NC. The high was 32 degrees and the rain changed to sleet, to hail, to a few, tiny, snow flakes, so…of course…school was canceled by 1:30, and I got to stay home once again. sigh. I still miss teaching. However, I did get to play with the grands for a short time! It was “Make-a-book” day with Grandma. I don’t know who loved it more – stickers…crayons…counting…spelling…pre-made books. How fun is that? I sure hope that they learn to love reading as much as I do. Right now, I’m reading more non-fiction than fiction. But that’s okay, too, since it always cycles.

Studying Jewish history, language and wisdom is the perfect journey for Lent. It gets me thinking about so many things that I never considered before now, and it lends itself to helping me to identify even more with the man that walked this earth so long ago, Rabbi Jesus (funny – I am constantly thinking of Him in those terms during this time). Last week I was reading about Esther and the Jewish festival of Purim.

purim101The Jewish festival of Purim was this past weekend. It is a joyous celebration since Esther saved the Jewish people from another antisemitic leader named Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus of Persia. If you don’t remember Esther’s story in the Bible, she was chosen by the king and had to leave her people when she married him. Of course, he had many wives and she was not always allowed in his presence (not a great marriage to my way of thinking). Not your typical love story. However, her cousin, Mordecai, supported her and continued to encourage her not to lose her faith. He basically told her she was there for a reason, and he would stand beside her. It was in this way that she was able to save her people and find the courage to approach her husband even when he did not call for her.17 Esther

Purim actually means “lots” (as in lottery) in the Jewish language. The king listening to his adviser, Haman, was going to use a lottery system to destroy the Jews. Might seem strange to name their festival after the system meant to destroy them, but as usual, the Jewish sages have an answer for this. You see, it took a “lot” of courage for Esther to throw her “lot” in with Mordecai and talk to the king. Her choice made all the difference for the people. But the lottery didn’t end then. Esther continued to stay with the king, even after she had accomplished the salvation of her people, and bore a son named Darius, who just happened to play a major role in the re-building of the temple.esther 2

The book of Esther in the OT reminds us that we may not always (in my case it seems like NEVER) understand why we are in the situation we are currently facing – especially when it is painful. Yet, we “throw in our lots” every time we make a choice – take a step – chose a direction…even if we stand still, we are making a choice. Esther left her people and stayed where she felt God had placed her. Rabbi Jesus knew this story. He understood, better than we do, why things happen the way they do. Best of all, He “threw in His lot” with us. He chose to walk towards death that we might live.