One of the holidays that we will be celebrating in March is the Holiday of Purim. Purim is from the Hebrew Word for "lots" (see Esther 3:7; 9:20-22). Purim is a holiday that commemorates the time when God delivered the people of Israel from the evil plot of Haman, an Haman was the royal vizier to Persian king Ahasuerus, who was planning to have all of Persia's Jewish subjects killed...
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace, you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. (Esther 4:13-17, ESV).
...God delivered the people of Israel through the testimony of Queen Esther--a Jewish woman who married the Persian king. Esther proclaimed her connection to the Jewish people and warned about Haman’s plot to destroy them. Haman has become a symbol for every attempt to destroy God’s people throughout history, both in physical acts of violence as well as in the spiritual attacks of the devil, the unbelieving world, and our sinful nature. Thus, Purim is a holiday of celebration that calls our attention to God’s actions in history to help and save His people.
The holiday is celebrated by eating Hamantaschen — cookies in a triangular shape said to represent Haman’s hat — costume parties, food, drinks, fellowship, and a fun interactive retelling of the story, sometimes by reading from the book of Esther and sometimes by putting modern twists on the story through a Purim Spiel. You should look them up. There are some entertaining ones! The story is told, and the people in the audience make a lot of noise, booing, stomping their feet, and using noise makers. The tradition is for the audience to boo at every mention of Haman’s name and cheer at every mention of Esther and Mordechi’s names.
My Church will be hosting a party to celebrate this holiday on Sunday, March 5th— see the attached poster and please feel free to attend if you’re in the area — as a way of building a sense of community with local churches and doing outreach to our community.
Today’s text tells us something important, too. It tells us two main things that I think are important to take away. First, we can think about how we have been placed in our circumstances for a reason. So take some time this week to reflect on your station in life.
Where are you at work and school? What relationships do you have (friends, family, neighbors, employees, or employers)? How is God giving you opportunities to share His love and serve those around you? The Apostle Paul says, “we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 ESV)! It was not an accident that Esther was in a position of authority when the Jewish people needed someone there. God will always provide what His people need, even if not according to our time or planning.
The second takeaway is that Jesus is found throughout the book of Esther. Jesus united Himself to us by taking on flesh, tempted as we are yet without sin, and proclaimed that He would suffer on our behalf (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Then Jesus stood before Kings and sacrificed Himself for the salvation of His people as people were casting lots for Jesus’ clothing and life (Matthew 27:35 ESV). Jesus is like Esther, but in a new and more excellent way, because He not only risked His life for His people, but He laid it down and took it up again in His resurrection from the dead.
Let us pray: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us and brought us to this season. We praise and thank you, Lord, because not only have you delivered Your people by using the faithful example of people like queen Esther; but because You have continued to deliver, save, and redeem us. You sent Your Son into the World who sacrificed His life for His people and overcame our eternal enemies of sin, death, and the devil by dying and rising again from the dead. Thank You, Father, because You are compassionate, merciful, and faithful and will never forsake Your people. In the Holy name of Yeshua, Amen!
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