On June 24, 2022 the landmark Supreme Court ruling was handed down in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, declaring that there is no federal, constitutional right to abortion and returned the matter of abortion to the States. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, around 65 million children have been murdered by abortion in America.
We have determined to celebrate this ruling both because of the monstrosity of the previous rulings of Roe/Casey being struck down and because it has granted God’s people a glorious opportunity to protect more pre-born lives in the states.
Fundamentally, we are simply required by God to be a rejoicing, grateful people. If we are called upon to be a rejoicing people, a grateful people, a festival people, then how much more are we to rejoice when God uses a very imperfect president and very imperfect justices to strike down such a hideously bloodthirsty edict? And the story of God’s deliverance of the Jews in the book of Esther provides us helpful biblical principles to bolster our celebration of this Dobbs victory.
The Text: “And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, to stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly…” (Esth. 9:20-28).
Summary of the Text
Mordecai writes as the newly appointed Persian king’s chief counselor, urging the Jews in every province to keep an annual two-day festival (Esth. 9:20-23). This festival was to celebrate the destruction of Haman’s plot to slaughter the Jews, Esther’s courageous intervention, and would be called Purim (Esth. 9:24-26). The Jews received Mordecai’s instruction and determined to remember those days in all their generations (Esth. 9:27-28).
Free to Celebrate
Part of what this story teaches us is that God is pleased when His people celebrate His goodness and deliverance. A central part of the law given to Israel was a festival calendar, with feast days and sabbath years (cf. Lev. 23). God put His tabernacle in Israel so that they would continually rejoice before Him: “And there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee” (Dt. 12:7). Even part of the tithe was to be spent on celebrating before the Lord: “And spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household” (Dt. 14:26 ESV). This is why Moses warned the people that if the curses of the covenant came upon them, it would be “because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things” (Dt. 28:47). If feasting and rejoicing before the Lord was central to God’s training wheels in the Old Covenant, and Esther and Mordecai and the Jews rightly applied those principles to their moment in history, how much more so ought God’s New Covenant people look for new acts of deliverance to celebrate?
Celebrating Imperfect Decisions
Part of what is also helpful in the Esther story is the fact that what is being celebrated at Purim is not a perfect decision. Why doesn’t King Ahasuerus simply rescind his previous immoral order? We are not told, other than the pagan precedent mentioned elsewhere, the Law of the Persians and the Medes “which cannot be revoked” (Esth. 1:19, cf. Dan. 6:8-12). But of course even that so-called “law” is evil since only God’s law is so perfect and holy that it cannot ever be revoked. But King Ahasuerus preserves the pagan Persian precedent and instead of overturning his previous evil order, he issues a new decree giving the Jews the right to defend themselves against their adversaries (Esth. 8:11, 9:1ff). If Purim was a godly celebration of deliverance (and it was), then the Dobbs decision is worthy of celebration when two evil rulings are reversed and the right of the states to defend themselves and their unborn children is restored.
Don’t Let Up: Christians (and conservatives in general) have a bad habit of failing to implement the principle of war known as “pursuit.” We are like the king of Israel who struck the ground three times, instead five or six (2 Kgs. 13:18-19). In the Esther story, Haman was hung on the gallows and the Jews defended themselves, killing at least 500 on the first day of deliverance (Esth. 9:6). But Esther asked for more: the sons of Haman to be hung and one more day of self-defense on the part of the Jews (Esth. 9:13-15).
So too, we must not rest until all human lives have equal protection under the law according to God’s Word. For example: Rape and incest are not reasonable exceptions; we should never punish a child for the crimes of his father. We must insist that our leaders here in Idaho work to end this injustice, where these exceptions still exist despite a near complete ban.
“Morning after pills” and other so-called “contraception” that intentionally disturb or do not allow fertilized eggs to implant are abortifacients. Statistics suggest that more and more abortions are taking place in the first few weeks of pregnancy through the use of these chemical abortion pills. We must work and pray for the day when these are illegal and unthinkable.
We must also be particularly vigilant and wary about the burgeoning IVF (in vitro fertilization) and surrogate industry of “boutique families.” Human life begins at conception, at the fertilization of an egg, therefore we must protect and honor those lives, doing all that we can to preserve the natural family intact. Sometimes in IVF many eggs are fertilized and discarded or else frozen indefinitely. Sometimes fertilized eggs are discarded because they appear to be less “viable.” While there may be ways to use this technology in very careful ways to overcome infertility, Christians must be very aware of the way this technology is being used to treat life and family as something that we have power over, rather than to humbly receive from the Lord. Such hubris is an idolatrous abomination. We should have great skepticism for an industry that has been lying to us, especially over the last few years.
Keeping the Feast: Finally, we should keep feasting and celebrating all of God’s deliverances as our means of pursuit. The story of Esther and Purim is actually part of the case for the change from a seventh day Sabbath to our Sunday Lord’s Day. It would take something greater than the first Creation (Ex. 20:11) and the first Exodus (Dt. 5:15) to change the Sabbath day, and Christ has accomplished a new Creation and a Greater Exodus, and so Christians have been feasting on the First Day of the week ever since. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and if covenant keeping in the Old Covenant was marked by feasting and rejoicing, how much more the New Covenant when Christ has finally accomplished what the Old Covenant pointed to?
As the New Testament says, “Rejoice always, again I say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4). “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18). In The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom recounts how her sister Betsie insisted on giving thanks for the fleas in the concentration camp. Later, it came out that the fleas kept the guards away so that they could read the Bible and many woman came to the Lord. If the ten Booms could have a mini-festival for the fleas in a Nazi concentration camp, how much more ought we to rejoice when God grants us victories like Dobbs?
Christ is risen from the dead: we have been brought into a new creation, set free from sin and the devil. The hardships of this world do not compare to the glory that will be revealed (Rom. 8:18). Our light afflictions which are for a moment are working in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). So that we can even rejoice in tribulations and trials (Js. 1:2ff).
Part of this joyful festivity is also learning to rejoice in all of the little things. This is our “pursuit.” If we want God to give us the greater blessing of a complete end to abortion in our land, then we need to be practicing the kind of faithful rejoicing now that would be ready for such glory.