Happy Purim! (Special Days and Occasions)

Shalom to all of you and Happy Purim! May you see the LORD’s gracious deliverance in your life as well!

March 8-9th, 2012

We Need Another Real Purim!

As one of the most joyous Feasts of the Jewish year is drawing close, we would do well to reflect on the meaning of this day and see if the world has really changed since those fateful events described in the Bible. The Book of Ester relates a startling drama that unfolded a long time ago in the land of the Middle East. Although the author of this work does not mention God’s name explicitly, a careful and thoughtful reader is given to understand that the Lord’s hand is guiding the providence of His people and all those who trust in His glorious Name!

In that narrative the Bible reveals to us that the providence of the Almighty works tirelessly behind the scenes for our ultimate benefit and salvation. The Name and presence of the King of Heaven are hidden in the ordinary and “normal” events and seeming “coincidences” in the lives of Queen Ester and her cousin Mordecai. Perhaps even today, many of us may not be able to discern God’s presence and His gracious hand in our day-to-day lives. We long to see the Holy One at work in our existence but all we see is some mundane “normality.” The scrolls of Ester infuse us with a new sense of courage and hope in the knowledge that even though things may not look like they are driven along by the Almighty, He is invariably in control.

A little more than 2400 years ago, God’s Chosen people were living in dispersion in the many provinces of the Persian Empire. They were loyal citizens of their kingdom and sought its prosperity in accordance with their God-given talents and means. At some point in the story a man named Haman, a descendant of Israel’s sworn enemy, the Amalekites, is raised to a position of power and influence in the Persian royal court. He suggests a devious plan to King Ahasuerus, promising a large bribe if the king agrees to the destruction of the entire ethnic group within his domain. The first “Holocaust,” orchestrated by one of the first Hitlers, seems to be firmly in the making.

Through many “happy coincidences,” however, the plot unravels in such a way that Haman perishes with his entire family, while the Jewish people are raised to prominence and influence among the Gentiles of the Empire. The Feast of Purim is then established by the new Prime Minister, Mordecai the Jew, as an everlasting ordinance for all God’s faithful people through their generations to come. This day stands as a reminder to all of us that the LORD is merciful and good to all who call on Him and saves them in times of trouble!

Unfortunately, the events recorded in Ester have not taught the rest of the unbelieving world that antisemitism and hatred for the Jewish people can only serve to undo those who cherish them. It is no exaggeration to say that the Middle East has at least one recumbent “Haman” at the present time all over again. The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated on more than one occasion that the goal of his regime is to “wipe Israel off the face of this Earth.” Sadly, his genocidal mania has many supporters and admirers throughout the Arab world surrounding the Jewish State. The antisemitism is also alive and well on the soils of numerous other nations in the world as well.

Those of us who believe that the Bible is the Word of the Living God, the unmistakable message contained in it is that the LORD is seeking to bring all the willing in this world to the saving knowledge and obedience of the One True God. He even provided the perfect Lamb of God to pay for the sins of the repentant. With this understanding in mind, we are not to fight against God’s “Light unto the Gentiles,” or try to replace them through false theology and lies, but instead to join them in worship and reverence for the Holy One of Jacob.

May the Fortress of Jacob and the Rock of Israel fill your Purim celebrations with His joy, peace and assurance of His presence in your lives. Let us also pray that no other Haman in the world today is able to go any further with their murderous plans against the Jewish nation than their infamous predecessor. Join us in praying for the peace of Jerusalem and all God’s saints! Happy Purim!