14-15th Adar 5782 / March 18th 2022
Shalom Dear Friends:
Why is it Pharaoh was driven to destroy all male Hebrew babies? Why did the mighty Xerxes order All Jews in his 127 provinces [nations] to be slaughtered? Why did Herod murder all Hebrew boys two years old and younger in Bethlehem after the visit of the Wise Men? And why was Hitler hell-bent on killing every Jew in Europe? This nasty historical fact is our living history, and many of us are still alive who lived through WW11. WHY?
“Now Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews …obliging them to CELEBRATE … because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies and as the month which was turned for them from grief to joy and from mourning into a holiday, that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending choice portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.”Esther 9:20a, 21a, 22
Maybe this is the reason why Jews seem to be out of step with the rest of the world? We have our own calendar and language and land with its Biblical heritage, traditions, foods, songs and dances. Being ‘different’ was NOT our idea! Being ‘set apart’ was NOT our idea. Being ‘singled out” as an example was NOT our idea. It all began with the Creator who decided He would have a people for Himself … way back when. Yes, we were stubborn and self-willed and still are. But in spite of all of our ‘show and tell’ failures written by the prophets in the Holy Book, it is by the Almighty’s mercy alone, that we continue to exist and even prosper. I choose to give HIM ALL the GLORY, for He alone is worthy to be praised!
When Jay and I and our sons made ‘Aliyah’ in April 1976 to make Israel, home, the LORD gave us this strange word. “When you are fasting, others will be feasting, when you are weeping, others will be rejoicing.”
No, we didn’t ‘get it at the time, but we are way down the road now and, we certainly do.
Israel marches to a different drummer. Any souls from among the nations who dare to follow King Messiah will do the same. They will be different and pay the consequence by those around them. God bless all Christians who follow the Book of Books today at great cost, and so it has been since time immemorial. Rejoice with us this Purim. We remember where we came from and where we are going. We are a people of destiny, blessing and great good fortune because our God is a ‘household God’. He lives in the neighbourhood and is seen and felt daily. The word for glory or presence = scheenah and the word for the neighbourhood is shahen. Both come from the same Hebrew root. Hence, The Almighty IS the ‘neighbourhood God’ who Lives among His people.
History is important to us. Just 100 to 120 years after Nehemiah and Ezra led about 65,000 Jews home to Israel from Babylon, the mighty Ahasuerus, or King Xerxes 1, the grandson of Cyrus the Great ruled from 485 – 465 B.C. This King features in the story of Esther, and also in the book of Ezra and Daniel. The Persian empire reached from India to Ethiopia and into Sudan. Dr Yigal Bloch of the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem, said, “The story of Esther would have taken place in the 3rd year of Xerxes reign in 483 BCE. Xerxes held several capital cities, including Susa, known as Shushan in the Bible. It was his administrative capital. He is most famous for building Persepolis. It was here the annual Persian New Year Festival took place during the spring equinox filled with splendour and pageantry. All the splendour of the royal court [as described in the book of Esther] is true. A limestone relief at this period (in the museum) depicts two courtiers bringing gifts for a banquet, wearing costumes from their nations. It was common for people from the empire to serve as courtiers in the king’s court so Jews could have also easily been a part of that group, as Mordechai is described in the Purim story.”
The challenge for each and everyone was given first through Moses:
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among you, from your countrymen, (brothers, brethren). You shall listen to him.”Deuteronomy 18:15 (Also see Matthew 21:11, John 1:21 and Acts 3:22.)
With hearts of love on behalf of the Rawlings family;
Dr Meridel Rawlings PhD Box 84156, Mevasseret Zion, 9079097, Israel.