What a fairytale ending! And it’s not even the ending. And it’s not even a fairytale. And I’m not even going to talk much about it because it’s plain and simple and happy. Instead, I’m going to narrow in on the very last verse, which says in my NLT translation, “And many of the people of the land became Jews … “ Huh? People can just become Jews? We were having a discussion similar to this with a friend of ours just a few weeks ago. And it is a topic on which I haven’t been completely clear my entire life. From the Bible, we can clearly see that there is a chosen set of people, who evolved into what we now know as the Jews, who came from one place, and their lineage can be traced back to the days we are reading about now. However, with this verse, we have to wonder how many “new Jews” joined the group and mixed things up a bit. Either way, this is one of the first times I recollect reading about outsiders being allowed to join as a family with the people of Judah. We know many married outside their people group, and we know that the people who have returned and rebuilt Judah are certainly more diverse than those who established Jerusalem originally. But for me, this line about the people of the land becoming Jews themselves adds a whole new twist to the Kingdom, and I believe gives us a peak at things to come. I am reminded of the passage in Romans 11:17 and 18 when Paul writes about the Gentiles being grafted into the family of God: “But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree – some of the people of Israel – have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.”
Oh, that last line gets ya, doesn’t it??? I was feeling all good about not having to care about who my ancestors are, and bam, the humble wagon plowed me down. But this passage in the New Testament, written years after and coupled with the events we are reading about now in Esther, gives us the reassurance we need to know that indeed anyone can be a member of the family of God.
Writing prompt: family
Write about how/when/why you joined the family of God.