Reconciliation Outreach

Paul and Nuala O'Higgins Teaching Ministry

Hidden heroes

It is the time of Purim (March 15th this year) The Jewish people all over the world celebrate The Feast of Purim each year. It is a biblical feast and was also celebrated by Jesus and His apostles.

It recalls an event in Jewish history when their survival as a people was threatened in ancient Persia. The people of Israel were saved from annihilation by the heroic actions of an orphaned Jewish teenager and her cousin Mordechai.

The name Purim means ‘lots’ as it recalls an event when Haman, the vicious Prime Minister of Persia, cast lots to select a day for the annihilation of the Jews. The hero of the story is Esther. Her name means ‘hidden’. Her ministry was hidden but the effects of her work are historic as she saved a whole nation. Purim is therefore the feast of the “hidden heroes”.

In every generation the spirit of anti -Semitism has risen against the Jewish people to thwart, hinder and destroy their destiny. In every generation, including today, demonic forces work through political and social forces to oppress and destroy not only Jews but other innocent minorities, women and children. Through a series of events Esther found favor in the court of the King of Persia because of her beauty but mainly because of a hidden plan of God. Hearing of the plot to annihilate her people, the Jews, she risked her life to confront the King, and exposed the plot. Ultimately the King, thanks to Esther’s intervention, cancels the plot devised by his prime minister Haman to destroy and annihilate the Jewish people. Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, urged her to speak up, even if it involved risking her life. He made a public outcry against the evil that was coming through the Persian Government. However, it was not the public outcry that turned things around. It was the word of truth spoken by Esther to the King, exposing the evil of Haman that prevented this great evil happening. The public protest against the plots of the Persian government by Mordecai did little good but the secret actions of Esther saved the day. The most quoted verse of the book of Esther is “Who knows whether you are in the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esth. 4:13-14) Esther showed extraordinary courage. She knew that by speaking up to the king she risked not only her status and privilege as Queen of Persia but her life as well. She bravely ignored the risk saying, “I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (4:16) The events of Purim are celebrated today because they involve universal principles. It speaks to the eternal capacity of evil to come through the political and social order in any nation at any time. It addresses not only matters to do with the survival of the people of Israel – but with the deterrence of evil everywhere. 2,500 years have gone by since the days of Esther and today we are living in different times.

However, the struggle between evil and good goes on today as much as ever and the struggle for Israel’s survival is still intense today. Israel is the only nation in the U.N. where another member state (Iran) is actively and openly planning its annihilation The threat to Israel is not the only political evil in the world. In almost every nation on earth evil plans are hatched in the policy committees of the various parties. In a world that has more than two BILLION Christians we should pray the Lord to raise up Esther’s in every place where evil is plotted by governments, political parties, high courts, school boards or activist groups etc. You Can Be An Esther. The Story of Esther and Mordechai is not only a great historical event but Esther and Mordechai are an example to people of all generations. No doubt that is why the Jews made the Feast an annual celebration. Esther spoke up courageously in her day. She was the right person in the right place at the right time. “She was in the kingdom for such a time as this.’ You too are the right person in the right place at the right time. You are strategically planted in your location. You may not hold an important political position, but you are part of a church, a member of associations and clubs, and you live in a neighborhood. Someday (it may be today) you will be placed in a situation where your words at the right time can prevent evil and release good.

• We need Esthers at every level of society, in the courts, in the political parties, in the hospital board rooms, in schools and in every area of life, who are willing to risk their popularity, their careers and even their lives rather than condone and facilitate evil.

• We need Esthers in the churches who will not be passive when committees want to hold back the preaching of the gospel in its fullness, quench the spirit or restrain evangelism.

• We need Esther’s in the denominations when finance committees propose withdrawing their investments in Israel and when theologians teach replacement theology.

• We need Esther’s in the committee rooms of the political parties when they propose to drop their opposition of abortion.

• We need Esthers in the traditional churches who will refuse to go along with traditions that make void the word of God and who are not afraid to risk their career to speak up against them.

A world without Esthers will be a world where the plots of the enemy are not exposed and are left unchallenged; where people lie low and hope the problems go away; where evil can triumph because the good say nothing for fear of the consequences. It is risky to be an Esther – you may lose your job and even your life. But by risking her life she saved millions. She understood the maxim “All it will take for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.” It’s Not Politics – It’s Compassion The kingdom of God is not political and God is not a member of, nor does He endorse, any political party – but He does expect His people to bring light to whatever part of the world circumstances He plants them in. He expects us to risk our popularity so that evil may be exposed and resisted. The Esther spirit is not a partisan political spirit – it is not a part of the ‘right’ or the ‘left’. It is not a part of partisan strife. It is a truly prohetic spirit. It speaks the satndards of God at the right moment. It speaks up for the oppressed to save them and to restrain evil plotted against them. It is a compassionate response to a need that requires your response. Esther waited wisely for the right time to speak up. She did not speak and act before the right time. She did not come into the court of the king armed with conservative and biblical position papers. She waited for God’s time to speak the truth entrusted to her. Before we too quickly label other nations of the world as evil, we should pray that God raise up “Esthers” within them. We pray that there are “Esthers” today rising in the highest positions in Iran that will speak up against the evil plans of the government against Israel.

We pray the “Esthers” will emerge and speak up (at risk to their career and even their lives) wherever in the world tyrannical leaders hatch evil plots. We have no idea where God’s hidden “Esthers” are already working. It’s Hidden The work of the “Esthers” of the world is hidden. It may never be seen or recognized publicly but its effect will be seen. The “Esther” person is the opposite of the politician who does his or her work for votes, popularity or recognition. The “Esther” person works at risk to herself (or himself). They follow the maxim of Jesus “he who loses His life will find it.’ The name Esther means, “hidden”. There are two kinds of hidden people – those who lie low for fear of losing out, and those who speak and act quietly behind the scenes with great effect. Who knows what “Esthers” God is raising up today in the boardrooms and council rooms of even the most despotic countries? The influence and power of these hidden ones is probably more important than all the diplomats and all the armies of the world combined. Esther needed Mordechai When Esther spoke up, she risked her life. She asked her cousin Mordechai to undergird her with prayer that her petition be heard and her courage not fail. In Gods’ plan, certain people are promoted to favor and influence. We need to pray for such people, as Mordecai did for Esther, that they may have the courage to speak at the right time and that their words will be effective in producing change and preventing injustice. An Example For all Ages Esther is an example not only of courage and faithfulness to principle, but her life is an example of spirit led actin. Wait your time and when the time comes speak. You may lose your job, you may lose your career, but you also may save a nation. After a social or political evil happens it is easy to see how wrong that action was. Anybody can do that.

The wisdom of Esther was she spoke against the evil plan before it happened. Where were the “Esthers” in the US when slavery was allowed to function after the constitution was enacted? Where were the “Esthers” to oppose the Jim Crowe laws that came later? Where are the “Esthers” in the committees of the political parties that refuse to speak up for rights of the unborn? On the other hand none of us will ever know what evil has been prevented when God raised up an “Esther” to speak up and prevent it. We will never know how much have evil has been prevented by these hidden heroes of history. We always need “Esthers”. God has you in a place of influence – even if hidden. When the time comes for you to speak up – seize the moment and speak with courage and God’s wisdom. Wherever you are called to resist evil remember that God has placed you in the situation “for such a time as this”. Now is your time and this is your situation. Be wise, be bold be strong. Esther lived 2500 years ago. She was a courageous teen-ager. We need courageous teenagers and all-agers today. Remember Esther and be an Esther!

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