THE TABERNACLE IN BRANSON'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
ESTHER, THE HIDDEN ONE
March 2020 | Adar - Nisan 5780 | Volume 15 Issue 3
We will celebrate the feast of Purim on March 7, 2020. This holiday, based on the biblical book of Esther, is an appointed time to remember the victory of the Jewish people in Persia over the wicked Haman during the Babylonian captivity. Haman was an Amalekite, a descendant of King Agag, who like his forefathers sought to exterminate the children of Israel. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob remains "hidden" throughout the entire Book of Esther, but arranges the circumstances so that His people prevail over their enemy. His name is never mentioned, but His presence is felt. Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, is a Jewish orphan who finds favor with a great king (King Ahasuerus) and is elevated to the position of Queen of Persia. She too is "hidden." Her cousin Mordecai, who raised Esther, told her to hide her Jewishness upon entering the palace. The time came, however, when Mordecai pleaded with Esther to come out of hiding since the annihilation of her people was at stake. Most of you are familiar with Mordecai’s words: "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?" (Esther 4:13-14). Esther’s name in Hebrew is Hadassah, which means "I will be hidden." While we usually think of hiding as "bad" much hiding in the Holy Scriptures is purposefully good, with an ultimate intent of blessing. God hides people – including Himself – to be revealed at a later, auspicious moment. The following verse is found four times in the Brit Hadasha (Second Covenant), indicating its great importance: "For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light." (See Mark 4:22, Matthew 10:26, Luke 12:2, and Luke 8:17). Queen Esther hid her Jewish roots until the God-ordained time for them to be revealed. The revelation resulted in the salvation of the entire Jewish nation. Think about it! Many Bible commentators have compared the modern-day Body of Believers (the Church) to Esther. We are the Bride of the King of Kings. What about our Jewish roots? Do we embrace them or do we hide them? We believe that the "Church," as a whole, has failed miserably in her God-given role of provoking the Jew to jealousy (Romans 11:11) largely because she has denied (worse than hide?) her Jewish roots. And yet, the very salvation of Israel is at stake! When Esther revealed her true familial connection, she also entered into intercession for the Jewish people. Revelation brought redemption and God’s people were spared. "I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel" (Isaiah 45:3).
There are at least five words in Hebrew that translate into English as "treasure." All of them imply "hidden." One reason for this is cultural. In Bible times in the Middle East, there were no banks or safe deposit boxes. When people had great wealth, they also had a great problem. Where could they hide their possessions; i.e. silver, gold, jewelry, so that they would not be stolen? Sometimes treasures were hidden in secret closets in a house, or in vaults under a home. Often, they were buried in a field. No one but the owner knew the location. If war, death or other circumstances prevented the owner from returning for his treasure, it remained hidden until someone else happened to find it. The parable of Yeshua in Matthew 13:44 illustrates this practice of hiding treasures: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Surely this man’s friends and neighbors could not understand why he would sell everything he had just for a piece of land that might not have been worth much. They did not know what he had found hidden in that piece of earth: TREASURE. He found something so wonderful, a source of such JOY, that he was willing to forsake everything else to have that TREASURE.
The Bible is filled with accounts of people whom God hid for a season, and later revealed for a special purpose. Consider Joseph: hidden in a pit by his brothers (Genesis 37:24), then hidden in Potiphar’s house by slave traders (Genesis 39:5), then hidden in prison (Genesis 39:20), next hidden in Pharaoh’s house (Genesis 41:46), and finally brought out of hiding (revealed to his brothers) just in time to preserve the life of his people (Genesis 45:5). Consider Moses: hidden by his mother until he was three months old to save his life (Exodus 2:2), then hidden in a basket (Exodus 2:3), then hidden in Pharaoh’s house (Exodus 2:10), next hidden in the land of Midian (Exodus 2:15), and finally brought out of hiding through the sovereign call of God at the burning bush. The time to deliver God’s people from Egyptian bondage had come. We have already considered Esther, another great deliverer. The greatest deliverer of all, the Messiah, was hidden as well. He is hidden in the Torah as the "Angel of the Lord." He is hidden in the Prophets as the Suffering Servant (see chapter 53). He is not seen, but His voice is heard over and over in such verses as Psalm 40:7-8: "Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart’." He is hidden as the Rock that followed the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings (I Corinthians 10:4). When Yeshua came to dwell among men in the form of a Jewish baby, he was hidden in Egypt for a time to avoid being murdered by Herod (Matthew 2:13). His identity was revealed to the tzadik Simeon by the Ruach Ha Kodesh at the time of His brit milah (circumcision) (Luke 2:30-32). His identity was hidden during His childhood in Nazareth, but selected people glimpsed His extraordinary nature at times. Such was the case during Passover in Jerusalem when Yeshua was twelve years old and His parents found Him in the Temple debating with the rabbis (Luke 2:46). The Lord God introduced His son to the world at the Jordan River when He came to be immersed by John: "And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ " (Matthew 3:17). Yeshua was no longer hidden. However, His talmidim really didn’t understand His mission until after He was risen from the dead. There are still treasures hidden in Yeshua that are yet to be revealed. Referring to Messiah, Colossians 2:3 says, "...in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." May the Lord give us all more revelation of this hidden treasure during 2020!