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GOD IS WITH US..."Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For God is with us." Isaiah 8:10 has been sung for millennia at this time of the year to celebrate the deliverance of Purim, the salvation of a nation scheduled for total annihilation by their enemy.

This is what the Lord says to me
With His strong hand upon me
Warning me not to follow
The way of this people.

Do not call conspiracy
Everything this people calls a conspiracy;
Do not fear what they fear,
And do not dread it.

The Lord Almighty is the one
You are to regard as holy,
He is the one you are to fear,
He is the one you are to dread.

He will be a holy place;
For both Israel and Judah he will be
A stone that causes people to stumble
And a rock that makes them fall.

And for the people of Jerusalem
He will be a trap and a snare
Many of them will stumble;
They will fall and be broken,
They will be snared and captured.

Bind up this testimony of warning
And seal up God’s instruction
Among my disciples.

I will wait for the Lord,
Who is hiding his face
From the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.
Isaiah 8:11-17

Clearly, the Almighty is speaking through the prophet Isaiah to remind ALL God’s chosen people on Planet Earth that our biggest threat during any perceived enemy conspiracy is our own fear and dread. Indeed, it will only serve to detour and distract us from God’s plan for our salvation. The appointed and anointed Rock, Jesus the Christ, becomes nothing more than a stumbling stone, offending us when we pridefully try to step right over Him as "the way, the truth, and the life". The result is inevitable. “They will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.”

Today’s lesson, appointed on God’s Calendar for the 13th, 14th, and 15th of Adar, March 20, 21, and 22 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar, is a prime example of another nation threatened by those whose sole intent was to wipe them from the face of the earth. “Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.” Esther 3:13

A lot, "pur", had been cast by the evil, scheming Persian, Haman, to select the date for slaughtering every single Jew living in Persia. The Jewess, Esther, ("Hadassah" in Hebrew), who was chosen to marry the Persian King, heard about Haman's plan. She was encouraged by her cousin, Mordecai, to intervene in the affairs of her betrothed monarch, King Xerxes. Mordecai sent her a letter penned with the immortal words: "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther spent 3 days fasting and praying before she stepped forward and appeared before the King without being summoned, an offense punishable by death. She revealed her hidden Jewish heritage and begged for mercy for herself and her people. She successfully interceded, and not only secured the lives of the remnant Jewish nation, she also set a trap for the evil Haman, and he was executed by the King.

After only 2 months, an edict authorized by King Xerxes that had previously doomed the Jewish nation to death, was reversed and that very same King gave the Jews the royal right to defend themselves and to pay their enemies back. God intervened in the affairs of mankind, bringing his chosen servant, Esther, to the place where she would glorify Him by trusting Him with her life. As a result, the remnant of Israel defeated their enemies in only 2 days, and Esther became Queen of Persia, the largest empire on the earth during her lifetime.

Mordecai sent letters to all Jews telling them to always remember God’s deliverance in the face of their enemies by celebrating Purim every year on the 14th and 15th days of Adar. “And they were also to celebrate that month as the month when their sadness was turned into joy. It was a month when their crying was changed into a day of celebration…Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.…And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants." Esther 9:22,26, 28

Purim should slay us Christians in America with its double-edged sword of truth. Satanic lots were cast against a nation with the sole intent of annihilating every last soul. What saved them from their enemies was not a physical wall of protection, a calculated political maneuver, or even a show of military might. It was the power of God Almighty triumphing over Satan and his schemes through two people who simply trusted Him for their deliverance and that of their country.

Rightly so, these two people will continue to amaze and confound humanity for all time. The hero of the story is a single woman thrust into the limelight when she was chosen to reign as Queen over the largest empire in the entire world. She should have retreated in fear and dread, but instead she stepped forward in faith and trust in God, willing to put her own life at risk for the sake of her people.

Her mentor was not only the man who had adopted her as his own child, but the man who laid down his life for his king as his Cupbearer by tasting the contents of his cup to assure it was not poisoned before serving it to him. So trusted was the cup-bearer that only a select few were recorded throughout all of history!

The account of Esther occured about 60 years after the first Persian King Cyrus of Susa, also known as the Father of Iran, called for all deported Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild God's Temple. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2111123252301186

30 years later, when Nehemiah, also living in Susa as a trusted cupbearer to a Persian King, asked for permission to return and rebuild Jerusalem, “the Queen is sitting by him” (Nehemiah 2:6) Why record that curious phrase for all posterity? Scholars believe Artaxerxes and/or Xerxes were titles for rulers, and not actual personal names, so it is difficult to follow their lineage. Could Esther have remained on the Persian throne, not only facilitating the return of Nehemiah, who successfully rebuilt the Second Temple in Jerusalem, but also intertwining her Jewish DNA into biblical Susa, known today as Shush, Iran? One can only hope that we Christians will begin to understand that the Lord God DOES have a global picture and plan in place, far exceeding our puny knowledge or comprehension!

Moving forward along God's precise timetable for history, we should be prepared to be continually reduced to our knees. The Persians of Susa, known during Jesus' day as Parthians and Medes, along with many others were “declaring the wonders of God” in one tongue during Pentecost over 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. (Acts 2:9-11)

Yes, along with Arabs, Egyptians, Libyans and many other foreigners, folks from Iran received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, just 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From that time until today, Christianity has been a continuous presence there, even though the Muslims arrived around 600 years later. In fact, the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus is still spoken today by ethnic Assyrian Christians living in Iran. It is also believed by many that two of the disciples of Jesus, Jude and Simon the Zealot, ministered in Iran following Pentecost, and were buried there in a church erected by St. Jude himself in 66AD.

Today, the Jewish presence of Esther and Mordecai continues in the biblical town of Susa, known today as Shush. It is part of a growing spiritual revival in a country that is thought to house the fastest growing Christian church in the entire world. "More Iranians have become Christians in the last 20 years than in the previous 13 centuries put together since Islam came to Iran. In 1979, there were an estimated 500 Christians from a Muslim background in Iran. Today, there are hundreds of thousands—some say more than 1 million. Whatever the exact number, many Iranians are turning to Jesus as Lord and Savior.” https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/1265659453514241

It’s high time we Christians were humbled by God’s global plan for mankind. He is calling to Himself the direct descendants of the anointed Twelve Tribes of Israel, in blood and faith, as well as many other unbelieving Arabs and Middle Eastern people. And He is using the very weapons that are being hurled at these people to convince them that they need to throw themselves at the mercy of Jesus Christ, and believe in Him as the only way to true salvation and life everlasting.

The punchline for this eternal lesson reaches far beyond mere words. Christians all over the world should be totally humiliated by our fear and dread that the conspiracy of Islam could EVER be a threat to Christianity. Clearly we are focused on the wrong thing. “This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread…”

Our faith in God Almighty is the only weapon that will EVER bring down our enemies. Now we can truly begin to understand why Isaiah 8:10 has been sung for thousands of years to celebrate the ancient deliverance of Purim.. Indeed, we Christians in America should be shouting this scripture all over the universe about right now.

"Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For God is with us."

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Fontana Community Church
 20 Fontana Church Road, P.O. Box 93
Fontana Dam, NC 28733

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