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Purim / פורים

Now it may seem odd in the midst of Lent, when we are fasting and making sacrifices, to switch gears and have a feast, but I think it very much like God to encourage us along the way as He reminds us of the richness of His provisions in our lives, even when we may may not notice.

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17 NIV

Tomorrow night at sundown begins the two day festival of Purim. This is one of the most lively celebrations on the Hebrew calendar. Purim is observed on the 14th and 15th days of Adar, the twelfth month of the Jewish Calendar which this year is March 20th and 21st, a month and a day before Passover. The Hebrew people were facing annihalation at the hands of an evil plot built on pride and selfish ambition . The book of Esther, known as the Megillah begins the story with a feast...

At that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present. For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.

When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest who were in the citadel of Susa. Esther 1:2-5 NIV

When the evil plan was revealed and the lives of the Hebrew people in Persia were put in grave danger, Queen Esther, being Hebrew, acted on the counsel of her uncle, Mordecai:

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:13-16 NIV

Esther's story is unique in several ways:

  • Yehovah is not mentioned in the entire Book of Esther, but His hand can be seen throughout the story.

  • Even within a pagan nation, Malek ha Olam, King of the Universe, is in control. He will save His people when they humble themselves and seek Him above all else.

  • Although others plan harm and evil, the Almighty will defend His people and deliver them for the glory of His mighty Name.

  • Evil that is hidden will be revealed in our God's perfect timing.

To understand the full meaning of the evil plot of Esther, we must work backwards. Who was this evil man, Haman. Esther 3:1 says Haman was an Agagite. He hated the Jews. To understand the depth of this hatred, read 1 Sam 15. King Saul was battling the Amakelites whom God had commanded him to eradicate completely. Saul did not obey, but allowed You may wonder why was it necessary to kill

Join me to celebrate the goodness of the Lord and His salvation for His people. You can prepare or purchase special cookies, hamantaschen, [recipe] for the celebration. [I substituted butter for the oil.] These treats resemble the three sided hat believed to have been worn by Haman, the villain of the story. During the day prior to Purim, the Jewish people fast as a remembrance of Esther's three-day fast for the salvation of the Jewish people. About an hour before sundown, the party begins! As you read the story of Esther with your family encourage your family to make noise, stamp their feet and "boo" when Haman's name is read as a way of stamping out the memory of those who plan evil for the Jewish people. Share a gift with someone, you could take a few cookies to office, as a way of sharing the everlasting story of our God's faithfulness.

Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. Esther 9:20-22 NIV

Life can be weary, there are people who have hidden agendas with selfish motives. We would be naive to not recognize the evil in our world, but at the end of the day, we know how the story ends, so celebrate! The great I AM reigns on His holy throne, and nothing can change His power to save. Christ's victory over Satan's evil plan to destroy man is part of the much longer love story from Genesis to Revelation. Yeshua's resurrection is a celebration over death, so let Purim be a break in your time of Lenten fasting. Celebrate Purim with your family as you remember the goodness of Adonai, His faithfulness and the richness of His favor upon you. Adonai will turn our sorrow to joy, wiping away every tear, even when things look dark and very bleak. Some times our Savior parts the water for us, sometimes, He puts in a position with the ability to participate in what He is accomplishing.

Holy mighty Savior, You alone can save. You alone have the power to be victorious over the evil that seems to consume our world. You alone, as our Abba Father, loving Savior and perfect Counselor, have the power to rescue us and turn plans meant to harm us into blessings for our good. Be glorified as Your marvelous plans and purposes are revealed in this life and the new world to come. We cry, "holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty." When life seems dark and the situation is dire, You are on Your throne. Amen

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