Today is the celebration of what is known as the Hebraic holiday of Purim. What does Purim mean? "Pur" is defined as the casting of the lots that would determine which day the Hebrew people were to be murdered, according to the King's decree. Persia (modern day Iran) ruled most of the known world in 486 B.C. There were 127 provinces in the Kingdom with various governors and councils representing the Persian empire.
The Hebrew people lived all over the region of the Persian empire. When we look at the account of Purim we see the obvious love story behind the King of Persia and Esther (Hadassah) the young woman chosen to be queen in place of Queen Vashti.
During the month of Adar 13,14,15, on the Hebrew calendar, Purim is celebrated. For those on the Gregorian calendar that is usually in the month of March. For us as believers what can we learn from the book of Esther that we can apply to our own lives and as a community.
The first thing that is important to recognize is this time is set apart to remember the Biblical account of Esther. The book is found in most Bibles between Ecclesiastes and Daniel. The celebration of Purim has been going on for over 2,000 years. That is quite a record like Passover has been going on since the very first Passover in the book of Exodus.
Biblical retellings and remembrances help us keep focus throughout any given year. The book of Esther gives us several points of focus.
Obedience Perseverance Faith Trust God's sovereignty Love God choose us.
"16 You did not choose me, I chose you; and I have commissioned you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that whatever you ask from the Father in my name he may give you. 17 This is what I command you: keep loving each other!" - John 15:16-17
The book of Esther is placed in our Bible for a reason and If this happens to be the only time you are led to read the account it makes sense that intentionally we can read it during this time of year.
I could relate this to other times on the calendar when we remember certain holidays that signify great importance to us like Pearl Harbor day or D-day.
Things looked pretty bad with Haman, ancestor of the Amalekites, placed in authority by the King. God had told King Saul, a Benjamite, to destroy the Amalekites years before. King Saul's disobedience produced the fruit of Haman. Haman was given power by the King which brought about a destruction decree over the Hebrews.
Although, Esther is queen the protocols for women are very limited and anyone approaching the King without consent or being summoned could be executed.
In the midst of the tribulation, we see that God is behind the scenes all time working things together for His purpose. We know what Esther, Mordecai, and the rest of the Hebrew people are going through, is working together for God's ultimate plan.
In the midst of life's challenges, we can trust and obey in God's plan. Mordecai, Esther's cousin, knew that bowing before Hayman was the wrong choice. His obedience to God was counted as righteousness. Esther's obedience to go before the king and risk everything was honored by God.
"26 Similarly, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we don’t know how to pray the way we should. But the Spirit himself pleads on our behalf with groanings too deep for words; 27 and the one who searches hearts knows exactly what the Spirit is thinking because his pleadings for God’s people accord with God’s will. 28 Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose;" - Romans 8:26-28
Once the plot of Haman is uncovered, Haman is hung on the gallows and a decree is issued that the Hebrews can defend themselves from being destroyed. Mordecai is promoted to the position that Haman held. Many in the region become God-fearers of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
There are many deeper meanings hidden in the book of Esther, waiting to be discovered.
Remember God's word is living and active still today. Enjoy reading the book of Esther.