The Hebrew “leap year” occurs seven times in a 19-year cycle. This happens because the Hebrew calendar has thirteen months instead of the usual twelve (by the Gregorian calendar). The lunar-based Hebrew year must remain aligned with the solar seasons (12 lunar months make up a total of 354 days, this is an 11 day difference from the solar cycle). The added month is called “Adar I” and is inserted before the month of Adar II in leap years. In this month of Adar, God’s people celebrate something called Purim. This festival of Purim observes the Divinely orchestrated salvation of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from Haman’s plot to “annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day.” In a Hebrew leap year, Purim falls into Adar II, the fourteenth day of the month. And this plot against the Jewish people was connected to a long-time enemy of theirs, the Amalekites.
The Amalekites were a people group mentioned frequently in the Old Testament, and they were persistent enemies of Israel. We too have an enemy who is pursuing us relentlessly, but in the unseen realm. So it’s important for us to follow the story of the Amalekites and Israel this month because it sheds light on the strategy of annihilating demonic programs operating to destroy God’s people. The story of Purim and the pursuing Amalekites show us that God desires for each of us to strengthen ourselves in Him and overcome the schemes of hell.
A Viscous Surprise Attack
This enemy struck Israel immediately following their escape from the Red Sea and God’s provision of water at Rephidim. Israel was not ready for the fight. The same strategy is used by our unseen enemy. Do not be surprised if after the Lord has delivered you from something, there is a spiritual attack immediately after. We must learn how to position ourselves in Christ so that we can overcome. What is interesting about this attack was that Israelites were not on Amalekite territory and were not even headed in that direction. As you can see, there has always been a worldly hatred for God’s chosen people.
Today, as believers, we are grafted into God’s family, and have become His chosen people, set apart for His Holy use. That fact alone is enough for the enemy of our souls to attack us as we pursue the Lord. We have all come out of an Egypt; and while the power of that strongman “Pharaoh” has been broken, our journey to God’s promise has only just begun. God wants to teach us how to defend ourselves, but more importantly how to take an offensive stance and push back the gates of hell. because we are called to advance the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth. It is in this story that we see Moses ascending to a nearby mountain to pray for God’s salvation. Like Moses, we must go up higher to see the battle from God’s perspective. For we know that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places according to Ephesians 2:6.
During opposition, we can come to God, believing that whatever is coming against us in the physical can be stopped in the spiritual realm through our prayers of faith. It’s also important to remember that Moses did not ascend to the mountain in prayer alone. He had Aaron and Hur, and they held up his hands when Moses lost all his physical strength to continue seeking God’s help. We too cannot win against the enemy on our own. We need people who are in pursuit of God to surround us and lift our hands up when the battle rages on and we grow weary. And if we explore the meaning of those three men’s names, we can get a sense for the power of unified prayer:
Moses = to pull out; to draw out
Aaron = strong
Hur = liberty
The Lord is a God of deliverance for you. Deliverance is the children’s bread. He has both the power and desire to pull you out of situations where the enemy seeks to destroy you. And sometimes He becomes the strength within you and will bring you into liberty from sin and sickness. Intercession can be an intense responsibility, especially when praying for a nation, and we need to support one another so that we can see the fulfillment of Heaven on earth.
Saul and the Amalekites
Saul, who was the first King of Israel, was given orders by God to eradicate the Amalekites. The Lord specifically instructed him to destroy all, including their animals. Unfortunately, Saul did not obey God’s instructions. Saul spared King Agag and all of the desirable animals, and then he decided to sacrifice some of the animals to God as if the Lord would be pleased with this rebellious act. This infuriated the Lord because Saul, the leader of Israel, had completely disobeyed His strict orders. Samuel, the prophet, told Saul that God desires obedience over sacrifice. This is a really important thing to remember when we are called to do something from the Lord Himself. Even in the little things, we must remember that obedience is showing God that we trust Him and also how much we love Him. When God commands you to destroy your spiritual enemies, don’t hold back! The ramifications for Saul’s infraction had the potential to wipe out the entire nation in years following his reign as King.
Haman- the Amalekite
King Agag (the one that Saul had kept alive) had descendants, and they never forgot what Israel had done to their people. There is a certain man who shows up in the book of Esther that is related to this king of the Amalekites, his name is Haman. He is the well-known enemy of the Jews who sought to wipe them off the map. Isn’t it interesting that God knew Saul’s disobedience would lead to Haman’s evil plot? That is why it is so important for us to obey God in everything, not changing course to serve our own interests. Our disobedience can affect future generations, and it is sobering to think that we can open a door for the enemy to attack our children, grandchildren, and generations to come.
Although Saul’s mistake led Israel into a lethal situation, God had a plan of redemption. And I love how this plan of deliverance from death included a woman; that woman of course being Esther. The fact that a woman was the first to bring sin into the world makes this plan of redemption through a woman all the more miraculous. She took a bold and courageous stand against the odds of being put to death for the sake of her people. And now we, in Christ, have that same access to boldness and courage through the Holy Spirit. The fear of death is a real thing, but when you join Jesus from heaven towards earth in prayer, that dread of death loses power in your life. We personally must overcome the fear of death because we are in training as God’s army against the spiritual forces of wickedness that keep people in chains and keep them deaf to the good news of the gospel. Our family has been reading the story of Esther, and we have just been letting the story soak into our spirits, asking the Lord to empower us with that a greater measure of the wisdom and boldness of Esther.
Esther wasn’t the only brave one in this story, she had an incredible uncle named Mordecai. He was full of wisdom, and he feared the Lord instead of man. His leadership encouraged Esther to approach the king and expose the evil plot of Haman. Mordecai refused to submit to Haman, and we too should refuse to submit to that anti-Christ spirit no matter what. Adar is the time to fully annihilate the “Haman” of your life and a time to celebrate in your exile so you can enter into God’s redemption. If you are in the older generation (like Mordecai), look for those within the younger generation (Esthers) that you can pour wisdom and courage into. We need more men and women like Mordecai, who take the young under their spiritual wings and teach teach them to fear the Lord God above everything else.
The key to moving through this month with the Lord is to submit to His war strategies. Notice how Mordecai did not approach the king, and even Esther waited for the right time to expose Haman. This wisdom can only come to us when we remove distractions from our lives, and so I would encourage you to seek the Lord about this. It is important to only fast when the Lord is leading us into that and not just jump on a bandwagon with others. The point of a fast is to reconnect with the Lord so that we can build upon our relationship with Him, and to be empowered for what He has called us to do. Adar is also a time to break off any idolatry and break off decrees set against us through prayer. If depression and despair has had a hold on you for your entire life, coming in waves, this is the time God has set for you to annihilate that root, destroying it once and for all.
While David was still hiding from King Saul in the land of the Philistines, the Amalekites crept into the place where he and his mighty men were living and took their wives, children and possessions (1 Samuel 30) when they were away from home. This crushed David to his core, and he cried out to the Lord for help. He asked the Lord, “Shall I pursue them (the Amalekites)?” And then he also asked the Lord, “Will I overtake them?” These questions that David asked reflected the closeness of his relationship with God. He did not turn to a witch for help, like Saul, he turned directly to God. We must remember that God always has time for us, and we can bring our deepest troubles to Him, expecting help. And just like David, we should ask God for direction, keeping in mind that God involves us in the fight and positions us to overcome every obstacle when we obey.
God gave the orders to David like this, “Pursue, overtake, and you will recover all!”
My questions for you are these:
- What has the enemy taken from you?
- How does the Lord want you to proceed?
We don’t need physical or even emotional strength to be strong in the Lord because the power source of true strength doesn’t actually come from our own human strength! God’s strength in us through Holy Spirit is where the weak can become strong. My prayer for you is that you would read the Psalm that David wrote here (when he strengthened himself to overcome the Amalekites), and be encouraged to draw strength from God. Whatever the situation is that you are facing, our God, Yahweh, is personal. He reaches down like a Good Father and pours grace over us so that we can be empowered to stand and overcome all. Let’s stand up before the King of the Universe this month and watch as He helps us to annihilate our spiritual enemies!