On February 26 Jewish people around the world will be greeting one another with wishes of ‘Happy Purim!’ Of all the Jewish feasts this one may be among the least known or talked about within Christian circles. Of course, Christians know about Passover (Numbers 9) and Yom Kippur (Leviticus 16:30) or even Sukkot (Exodus 23) where Jewish families, and some Christians, have been known to sleep in their tents or temporary shelters in their backyard for a week!
Purim celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people through the efforts of Queen Esther.
You know the account of how God worked through many people and circumstances to place a young Jewish girl in the position of Queen of Persia where she could save her people from certain annihilation. It’s such a fanciful story with so many twists and turns that many people within Judaism are not sure if it was an historical event or simply invented as a story.
I mention this only because it is natural for us to miss the supernatural work of God in our day to day circumstances. The truth is that God is at work in our lives, and in this world, all at the same time and that’s the heart of the story of Esther.
God is intimately involved in every aspect of our lives and the whole world – yes He is! But is that the way we see it? Even though the events of Esther’s life and times seemed to unfold rather naturally, the truth is God was behind every detail and the result was the Jewish people of Esther’s day were saved and maybe even stirred up to see God in a new light.
How about us? Do we acknowledge God’s working in our lives day by day? Do we give Him the thanks He deserves for all His love for us and the ultimate gift of His love – everlasting life? Perhaps each of us need to look deep within our hearts and make room for more thanks to God for who He is, and for His boundless mercy toward us. Perhaps this is what Paul was thinking when he declared that it does not depend upon man who runs or wills but upon God who has mercy (Romans 9:16).
There is a lot we can learn about the Lord and our relationship with Him by looking at the Old Testament book of Esther and considering this Jewish holiday of Purim. Let’s take advantage of the occasion of Purim to offer the Lord a little more thanks and maybe request a little more mercy in each of our lives. Happy Purim and to God be the glory!
Written by Bruce Daze, Associate Pastor, RMCC