Apples of Gold Mar/Apr 2021
In the spring we celebrate Purim here in Israel. Not everyone knows the meaning of this great day. Many think it is merely a festival of joy, but the real meaning (Purim means “lots”) comes from the lot Haman cast in Persia to destroy the Jewish people in the days of King Ahasuerus. When you read the book of Esther, you cannot find one word about God. Many Jewish people are sure their own power gave them victory over Haman.
We live in a neighborhood where most residents are immigrants. The rabbis often come and tell them stories about this victory. They also come to our house to teach us their fictitious tales. Recently, I listened quietly when they came to my house.
When they finished speaking, they were sure I believed them. But I asked, “How could we be so strong and victorious without help from God? Rabbi, it is written in Esther 4:14, ‘Deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place.’ Who was behind this troubling situation?” I asked.
“Where is this written?” one asked. I showed him the verse and said, “Read this, and base your commentary on this.”
“Are you a new immigrant?” another asked.
“I immigrated 53 years ago,” I said. “You cannot fool me as you fool those who do not know better. I believe in the living God and worship Him according to the Holy Bible, not according to your stories.”
“We have not come to the right place,” one said.
“You did come to the right place,” I replied. “You must know that this is not the way to approach people who know nothing about true faith in the Lord. You tell them stories. Look what you are doing! It is written in Exodus 20:16, ‘You shall not bear false witness.’ Look in the mirror and ask yourselves how far you have strayed from the truth.”
Of course, they were not happy. As always, they looked for a way to leave. But I said, “Let us stop and have some refreshments. We will continue our conversation later.”
“But we have to go!” one insisted.
“You want to go because you have not answered what was written in Esther 4:14.”
They wanted to show me how right they were, so one said, “In 1948, when eight Arab countries came against us when we were so little, we were victorious. Will you show us where this comes from in the Bible?”
“First of all,” I asked, “where were you in 1948, since you seem so sure of what you did? Even your parents were children. But I was a soldier on active duty. At first I wondered, How can we defeat such a powerful enemy? But when I received the Lord, I started to read the Holy Bible instead of believing in false stories.”
Then I read to them Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 7:17–18; and Isaiah 41:8–15 before reading Psalm 124:2–3: “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive.” Isaiah 49:25 says, “For I [God] will contend with him who contends with you [Israel].”
“How did you find all this?” one asked.
“I believe in the living God and read His Holy Word,” I said. “I do not believe in childish stories. Isaiah 53:6 says, ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’”
They began to jump up, yelling, “That is enough! We know who you are! You believe in This Man!” They always refer to Jesus as “This Man.”
I showed them the Bible and asked, “What is more important? This Bible or your stack of emptiness?”
“Now we have more time to speak with you and will show you who is right!” one said.
I said to myself, Thank you, Lord. Now I will have the chance to share the full truth about my Savior Jesus Christ because they know in whom I have believed. The best thing I can do is show them who You are from Your Holy Word, no matter how long it takes.