Brethren, did you know that there are two books in the Bible that didn’t mention the name of God? It didn’t even mention the title, “God.” You won’t read any direct reference to the Almighty and definitely, you won’t read Him talking. (Although, scholars mentioned how the name of God was hidden in codes in these books.) One of these books is the Song of Solomon, but I want to focus on the other book.
In this short message, I want to share with you how Yahweh, though He seems to be silent, was working behind the scene to accomplish His purpose and save His people and how this relates to the coming feasts.
The book I’m referring to is the Book of Esther. One of the most impressive, powerful, and insightful stories in the Bible is found in this book. I highly recommend that you read the entirety of this book as it will give you wonderful lessons. For now, I’m just going to give a summary of the story.
The book narrates the story of how the Jewish people were rescued from total annihilation and destruction. The main characters of the book include Esther, Mordecai her uncle, King Ahasuerus (King of Persia), and Haman, a high-ranking official in the Persian kingdom.
Haman plotted to kill all the Jews in Shushan, the capital of Persia. However, before that happened, there were a series of events that at first sight, might seem to be insignificant, but as you will see, God was already setting the stage to help and rescue the Jews.
At first, Queen Vashti rebelled against King Ahasuerus. As a result, she was stripped of her title and the king got Esther as the new Queen. Haman, an influential officer in the king’s palace, tricked the king into creating a decree that will kill all the Jews.
Now, notice how the decree was created. Haman rolled a dice to determine when the Jews will be killed and it was determined it will happen on the 13th day of the month of Adar. That’s about 11 months later. So, the Jews were given only 11 months to live.
What was the response of the Jews? Here’s an important lesson we should learn from this event especially as we approach the Day of Atonement. They fasted. In Chapter 4, we read that Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes. In verse 3 we read, “And in every province where the king’s command and decree arrived, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes.”
The role of Esther
All these were happening while Esther was in the palace. Apparently, Esther didn’t know. She just learned later when his uncle Mordecai informed her through a messenger. Mordecai asked Esther to go in the King to make supplication on behalf of all the Jews and plead for their lives.
However, Esther was hesitant because the Persian law states that anyone who approaches the inner court without being summoned would be killed except that the King pardons that person.
It is worth reading the very words of Mordecai in chapter 4:13-14:
And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
God knows the future and before the problem arose, He already has a solution for it. God is able to weave His plan through the weaknesses and poor decisions of people. In this case, God used the situation of Esther as the queen to be the main tool to create a turning point in the lives of her people.
As a response, realizing the great opportunity that lies in front of her, she said:
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”
The importance of fasting
Did you see that kind of mindset, brethren? Initially, the fasting was made outside of the palace. Now, the fasting is in the palace. Esther knew that this is a serious matter that she can’t do it alone and that she needs divine help from the Most High God. You are beginning to see how God is involved in this story even though His name was never mentioned.
Mordecai, Esther, Moses, Elijah, Yahshua, and the true servants of the Almighty knew the importance of fasting in their lives. It is one of the most powerful spiritual tools that could help us grow closer to our Creator.
Suffering before feasting
As you can see, brethren, the Feast of Tabernacles is almost here. It is a time of rejoicing and celebration. But why do we have to go through the Day of Atonement, a day of fasting? Why not just proceed immediately to rejoicing? Why do we have to go through mourning?
Because God wants us to learn the big difference between His way of life and the way of this world. He is making a strong impression in our mind the suffering and difficulties of this present time are nothing, I repeat, nothing compared to the glory which will be revealed unto us.
1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Keeping the feast by all means
Brethren I hope we have the same mindset as Esther had. He knew that going to the inner court of the king is against the law and could mean her death.
This is actually a life-and-death situation for her. However, through prayer and fasting, she decided to still go. She adamantly said, if I perish, I perish.
For Esther, come what may! If she dies, then she dies. If that is the will of God, Amen, so be it!
Just like Paul said, I must, by all means, keep the Feast. I admire the brethren who expressed their willingness to go to the Feast. I know we are in a difficult time right now.
But can you honestly tell yourself, “If I perish, I perish?” or are we just making excuses? That’s the spirit of the Churches of God now. Can you imagine, the majority of churches of God not coming together to celebrate the Feast as God has commanded?
Instead of looking for solutions, we look for excuses.
Oh, there are travel restrictions. Oh, we will be put in quarantine. Oh, we will be put in jail. Well, amen, so be it! Just like Esther, she said, If I perish, I perish.
If I will be put in quarantine when I get home, then so be it! If I will be put to jail because I kept the Feast, so be it!
Now, I’m not judging those brethren here and those who are outside of our group. Ultimately it will be between you and God. I realize there might be some valid reasons not to attend the Feast.
But let me tell you, “If you can honestly say to yourself, that you have done all that you can do, you have saved your second tithe faithfully, you have tried to file for travel authority, you have checked all possible ways to attend the feast, or for the leaders of the church have already checked other alternative venues, if you can honestly tell yourself that you have done those things, then I believe God will understand.
But if not, then that’s where the problem is.
God will help us keep the feast
My mother used to tell me and I know that you have also heard this from others, “Pag gusto, maraming paraan. Pag ayaw, maraming dahilan.” (If you there’s a will, there’s a way. If there’s no will, there are excuses.)
Going back to Esther’s story, we knew how God worked all things out. We knew how God showed favor to Esther that the table has been turned against Haman.
Brethren, the people around us may say it is impossible. But with God, all things are possible. They may tell us it is impossible to keep the Feast, but people don’t have the final say. God has the final say.
I pray and sincerely hope that we all come together to keep the Feast. Above all, may God’s will be done in our lives.