Fervency of Faith
by Mary Kate Hipp
Each year, the Jewish people celebrate a holiday per the story of Esther called Purim. On this holiday, Jews dress up in silly costumes, feast, drink, gather in the synagogues and read the story of Esther and celebrate their deliverance from extermination. A Rabbi I once studied under explained that all Jewish holidays go like this, "the Jews were about to be exterminated—let’s eat!” Pretty morbid, right? Well, perhaps not.
Gerald L. Sittser, author and theologian, fluent in the language of grief and tribulation once exclaimed that "...the fate of the martyrs may not be ours, but their faith and conviction must be!" Esther's proclamation in v. 16 "if I perish, I perish," is just that--a statement of commitment and faith. Even though the Jewish people were experiencing grave trials and severe pain under Persian rule, we see this at the beginning of the chapter in Mordecai ripping his clothes and wearing sackcloth, a traditional form of lamenting in the Old Testament. Yet, through this mournful time period, Esther understood and exemplified that serving her God was still worth everything, even her life. She knew that her God would deliver her if she had faith.
Perhaps Esther, the Jewish people in their celebration of Purim, and Sittser are all getting at the same concept. Our fervency for following the Lord should mimic that of the martyrs. The Jews celebrate in light of this fervency, Esther exemplified this fervency, and Sittser notes this fervency. Therefore, this celebration is not morbid! It is good to celebrate this faith and this God who frees His people who believe.
Now, our King has come and has delivered us, and will come again! He is worth our everything. If we perish, we perish. Let this be our attitude today and every day henceforth. In this season of Advent let us prepare our hearts with the fervency of martyrs for our coming King.
We praise You for promising to come again. Lord, You are worth our everything. Prepare our hearts in this season of Advent to have the faith and conviction of martyrs, to take on faith like Esther, proclaiming, "If I perish, I perish!" Reveal to us today our stagnancies in faith and ignite our hearts for You.