Thursday April 18: 13 Aviv

It was on this day that the German Worker’s Party was officially renamed the National Socialist German Worker’s Party – we know them as the Nazis. Ironically, or maybe not ironically, this event happened on the very same day that Haman the Agagite published his decree for the extermination of the Jews who were living in Persia. This is recorded in the book of Esther.

“Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded—to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language.… And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.” (Esther 3:12-13)

Most people aren’t aware of the fact that the events we associate with the festival of Purim was actually contrived just before Passover. It seems almost fitting that the destroyer would plan for the destruction of God’s people in Persia at this time of year because Passover is the festival that celebrates Israel’s deliverance from the bondage of their oppressors. Perhaps because of that fact, throughout history, the adversary has sought to undermine the joy of Passover by launching attacks against God’s people and not just in times past – He’s still doing it today.

Personally, I can say that the days and, sometimes, weeks leading up to Passover have been some of the most trying times of any given year. Last year it was that way; the year before it was that way. Each year seems to be a replay of the last. During one of the very first Passovers my family observed, our second oldest son – Nathan Israel – became very, very sick and we were very, very worried. Strangely, this sickness came upon him just as we sat down to begin the Passover meal. Somehow or another, we persevered and kept the celebration even as we kept a close watch on our sick little one. Thankfully, by morning, he was fine.

We’ve always wondered whether or not that situation was a test to see if we would continue on or maybe an attack by the adversary? It’s possible that it was both but, whatever it was, I certainly don’t believe it was coincidental. I’m convinced that these kinds of trials come at us to test our resolve during these Biblical seasons that are intended to be times of joy more than at other times. Maybe, in part, these difficulties are to teach us that our redemption is accomplished in spite of adversity. It could also be that these hardships are evidence that there is an adversary who wishes to diminish our joy and sense of liberation.

Even so, “no weapon formed against us shall prosper” as long as we’re determined to stand. And when we’ve done all we can to stand, then we stand some more. In fact, though Passover is intended to be a joyous occasion, we nevertheless observe Passover on high alert just as the children of Israel did. They ate the Passover with loins girded, shoes on their feet and staff in hand because they had to be ready to move at a moment’s notice. In other words, it would seem they ate the Passover standing and waiting for the order to come from the Creator to move out. I firmly believe that the Creator is trying to teach us that the days are coming when we will have to withstand incredible attacks from the enemy BUT if we continue to stand and persevere, we shall see our redemption become a reality. So, don’t give up and don’t give in but continue to stand fast and look up – redemption is at hand!