Purim - What is it?
Purim is a word meaning "lots," or dice cast.
In the Old Testament book of Esther, we find a story unfold about God's people and their enemy who wants to destroy them. Esther is a Jewish woman who becomes queen of Persia. Her cousin, Mordecai, is a man who honors God and is her encouragement to speak up for God's people to the king, that the people may be saved. Haman is a man who serves the king and hates God's people. Haman cast lots to determine what days he wanted all of the Jewish people of God to be killed. He doesn't realize that Esther, the king's wife, is one of God's people.
Esther knows that she has been put in this position for such a time as this. It was clearly known that if anyone - even the queen - approached the king without his calling them, they could be killed. She calls God's people to pray and fast for her time to tell the king about Haman's evil plot to kill all of God's people.
In the meantime, the king is unable to sleep and begins to read about a man who spoke up about a plot against the king. The king decides to honor this man. He asks Haman how to honor a man in the kingdom. Haman assumes that he himself is the man. When he learns that it is Mordecai, and that he must now honor one of the people that he hates, he is furious!
Esther holds a banquet and tells the king that her people have been ordered to be destroyed and the idea is from Haman. Haman pleads with Esther to not speak up, but the king sees Haman approach his wife, and he becomes furious with Haman. The gallows that Haman had built to hang Mordecai become the ones used for Haman and his sons.
Although the king cannot undue the order put in place by Haman to kill the Jews, he issues an order for the Jews to kill their enemies. God's people are saved from annihilation because Esther and Mordecai spoke up for God and His people, amidst great opposition, and God honored their courage and reverence for Him.
Even though the name of God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, His presence and power are still evident through the lives of those who live to honor Him.
So why do we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ need to know the Old Testament? Events that happened long ago continue to have an effect on our world today. Had the Jewish people all been destroyed, God's plan to send Jesus would have been stopped. But God has not changed; He continues to work through events to cause people around the world to know that He is God and there is no other; and that He will accomplish what He has purposed to do!
Tomorrow, the Jewish people of God will celebrate the victory God brought through Esther 2500 years ago. They will read the book of Esther. The children will shout, "Boo!" at the name of Haman, and "Yay!" at the names of Esther and Mordecai. They will eat treats called Hamantaschen, "Haman's ears" or "Haman's hat" to remember that evil did not prevail.
As you pray together as a family tomorrow and Wednesday, remember the Jewish people of God as they celebrate Purim. It is no coincidence that this feast will be celebrated the same week that Israel's leader will be speaking up for the Jewish people of God against wicked men who seek to destroy them!
> May we remember to fast and pray for boldness to speak up for God's people, even in the face of persecution.
> May God's people know that because of the victory over evil 2500 years ago, their Messiah, Jesus, was able to come to earth and free from evil's grasp all who will call on Him as their Lord and Savior.
> May we remember to speak truth, even in difficult situations as Esther did, with respect and resolve.
> May we be even more intentional to live right with God as Mordecai did.