As a comedic Jew once said, “All the Jewish feast can be summarized like this… they tried to kill us, they failed, let’s eat!”
On Purim all the kids and adults dress up in costumes and Israel becomes one big Carnival with many street plays retelling the story of beautiful Queen Esther and her Uncle Mordecai.
Lets start with a little background on this strange jewish feast found in the book of Esther:
Esther lived during the Jewish diaspora in Persia and became queen after her predecessor defied the king and was banished from the kingdom.
The Uncle of Queen Esther, a Jewish man named Mordecai managed to anger Haman, the most influential advisor to the king, he refused to prostrating himself whenever Haman would walk by. At the same time Mordecai managed to stop an assassination attempt against the king life which was noted but never rewarded.
Haman absolutely hated and despised Mordecai to the point he couldn’t sleep or eat, but it gets worse. Instead of just going after Mordecai he decided he would go after all the Jews and managed to convince the king that these people needed to be wiped out.
A decree was then announced to all the kingdom to annihilate all the Jews. Esther was approached by her uncle and he told her to go before the king, which she did but only after calling a 3-day food-and-water fast for all the Jews. During this time the king couldn’t sleep and woke in the middle of the night. And what do you do when you can’t sleep? You read the most boring thing possible… the royal records.
While reading this the King discovered how Mordecai had saved his life but had never been rewarded. This disturbed him, so he summoned Haman, who at this time wanted permission to hang Mordecai. The King asked him how should he reward somebody who “the king delighted in?” Haman had a big ego and thought the king was talking about him. So he described a very lavish way to reward this “person” only to discover it was his mortal enemy Mordecai.
Long story short, the Jews are saved, Mordecai becomes the “chief advisor,” Haman is hanged, and Esther is one of the most influential people in all the World at that time.
What’s interesting to note is in this story the name of God is never mentioned. No huge obvious miracle happens. Some could even say that this story is full of happenstance, and yet the hand of God is at work in the greatest of ways. In our lives we over look those “small” miracles that God uses to change the outcome of our lives. In Ester the result of 3 days of national fasting was a king who had insomnia which led to a series of events that saved the Jewish people. In our lives God will use the grand miracles and breakthroughs to save us, but just as often he acts in subtle ways as we take steps of courageous faith to do what’s right.
Israel continues to exist because God is for Her. As we pray for Israel we can get discouraged because we are not seeing grand changes, but God is working in the background on so many levels to frustrate the plans of her enemies. While governments make plans to destroy her, God starts shifting the power and influence into the hands of those who pray and act bodily on their faith. God can do in a day what we think can never happen. Now we are seeing great shifts in many of the most influential nations. They are starting to recognize Israel’s right to exist and are no longer looking at her as an enemy but as a friend. And her Enemies are quickly losing the power and prestige they once held. And all the while God is moving in the background of the story.
[su_pullquote]Header image: Flavio, Purim: Attack of the Happy Kids[/su_pullquote]