A beautiful new book for children is out telling the Bible stories in the books of Ruth and Esther. I used it last week in Sunday School to tell the exciting story related in the Book of Esther, and the kids were riveted! For my next turn I will do the other half of the book - the romantic and moving story of Ruth.
Written by Ruth Nessim in Israel and illustrated by Jeanne Elizabeth, it is well worth buying as a gift or adding to your Sunday School library (if you have one; we don't). Publisher is Messianic Perspectives, a division of CJF Ministries, San Antonio, Texas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Esther tells the story of how the Jews, in exile in ancient Persia, were under threat of extermination, thanks to the evil Haman. The Jews, of course, were taken to Babylon by King Nebuchanezzer, but Babylon was then conquered by Cyrus, King of Persia. Cyrus allowed the Jews to go back to their land and rebuild, but the land and cities were devastated, and many Jews could not face going back. They stayed in Babylon and Persia and became prosperous.
Esther was an orphan girl raised by her cousin Mordecai and the story opens in the Persian city of Shushan, where the King of Persia deposes his wife, Vashti, for disobeying him. His advisors decide to hold a beauty pageant of the lovliest virgins in the empire, which consists of 127 nations! Esther is chosen out of them all, so she must have been a stunner, and with a sterling character to match!
All is well until the prime minister, Haman, issues a decree that every Jew throughout the world can by killed on the next March 13th (13th of Adar). He had cast lots ("pur" in Hebrew) to find the best date.
How the story unfolds is very exciting. Needless to say, God wins in the end! His people are not destroyed. In fact, God turns the tables on Haman, and the opposite happens.
Not only that, but March 14th becomes a national holiday to celebrate the great deliverance that God orchestrated. It is called Purim (Lots) and is still celebrated every year by Jews worldwide.
So...get the book! The illustrations are excellent and really help the children remember the stories. I have to declare an interest here.* Ruth Nessim is my relative, the mother of our son-in-law Michael. She loves the Bible, and has been recovering from cancer this year. In her 70's, she is still serving the Lord!
* I certainly do not mean a financial interest! I hope Ruth's book sells well, but in my experience the best way to lose a barrelful of money is to publish a Christian book! Ruth, like us and many others, is not in this for the money, but simply to tell people the truth, like Jesus told us to do. The people who are in it for the money are the many false prophets and teachers with their "get rich" philosophy.
Of course, God is no man's debtor, and if you do things that cost you money - things which God intends you to do, using the gifts which He has placed in you - God will certainly make it up to you, over and abundantly. He is the Provider, folks! Jehovah Jireh, my provider. Since we became Christians in our 30s, we have been astonished over the decades how God has provided at times when things looked dark and hopeless. Usually this was in the form of people (secular people, not Christians) suddenly, out of the blue, offering us well paid work - so don't think you are going to kick back and have a lazy old life!