It’s that time again… time for me to tell you about another holiday you probably didn’t know you were missing. This time, we’re talking about Purim (which we celebrated this weekend). On the surface, all the costumes, revelry, and sweets might give you the impression that Purim is a Jewish version of Halloween, or maybe Mardi Gras. The similarities stop there. There is so more to this holiday than sweets, costumes, and noise makers.
They say all the Biblical holidays follow the same story line: “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat”. In some ways, Purim is no exception. Purim means “lots”, as in “dice” (I know, more gambling, but this time it wasn’t us, honest) because their enemies cast lots to decide which day to exterminate God’s people. The story (which you can read in the book of Esther) opens with this threat, features an unexpected victory, and ends with a day of feasting and giving.
This short narrative is action packed, and has something for everyone. Love, betrayal, bravery, danger, and multiple reversals of fortune are all crammed into just a few chapters.
Esther is the only book of the Bible that doesn’t mention the name of God. But there’s no mistaking His character or involvement in the lives of His people throughout the story.
Unlike most of the Biblical holidays, Purim is a human invention. There is no Biblical command to celebrate it. And unlike Hanukkah (which falls into the same category) there is no record of Yeshua celebrating it. So why would you?
First off, it’s fun. Purim is a great chance to make fun memories with our kids while building their faith. It’s also a chance to celebrate courage. The story of Purim is a story of people who were tested, faced their fears, and kept faith with their God even when He didn’t overtly announce His presence. These characters give us a chance to ask ourselves, “What would I do if I had to choose moral compromise or death? Would I act to save people if it meant risking my own life?”
Chances are, you and I will never have to answer these questions. But then, the characters in this story didn’t know that they would either.
One of my favorite quotes from the story is the challenge issued by one of the main characters:
“If you are completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise up from another place…and who knows if you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” -Esther 4:14
God is at work all around you. He will accomplish great things, with or without you. How can you join Him?
What unique opportunities do you have to bring relief or deliverance?