PURIM – We Got An Invitation!

I got an invitation!

As a Christian, my spiritual heritage is rooted in the faith of Israel and God’s chosen people. Consequently, when I read the whole Megilla (the book of Esther) and learned about Purim I wanted to celebrate too. Then I saw Esther 9:27!

After thwarting Haman’s plan to eradicate them, the Jews established a custom for:

  • themselves
  • their descendants
  • and all those who allied themselves with them

 

Wow. An invitation encouraging us to celebrate together for generations to come, united in these ten teachings from Esther:

 

  1. We don’t need to see God to know He is there

 

Though never directly named in the book of Esther, God is seen is through the existence of over a million Jewish people, including Mordecai and Esther.

 

Every time I meet a Jewish person I see living proof of God’s faithfulness to His eternal and unbreakable covenant: His chosen people would always survive.

 

The enemy’s whisper, “Where is your God?” is routed by blessings, guidance, and deliverances – proof of His promise that as He was with Esther, He is and will be with us.

 

  1. Responding to truth brings peace despite circumstances

 

Actions like Xerxes’ emotional banishment of Vashti, though created by the enemy and based on lies, create a platform where God will work. The Megilla tells how Esther became queen, and God worked His great purpose through her. In the middle of such an ego and power-driven situation, it would be easy to fear.

 

Just as America keeps her eyes on Washington, knowing its edicts can impact and change lives in an instant, so Xerxes’ kingdom must have watched the Persian palace with fear and trembling.

 

If we, like Esther, calmly and confidently look beyond the circumstances and the lawmakers, we confirm the truth of God’s sovereignty over all principalities and power. Relying on God’s Word provides rescue, peace, and hope.

 

  1. Be able to recognize the enemy, so you will know when you have been taken.

 

 

Mordecai had taken Esther…Esther was taken by Persian authorities to the king’s palace.

 

Mordecai’s taken translates: brought – nourished.

The palace authorities’ taken means to tie, bind, imprison.

 

Esther must have felt overwhelmed by the difference. She was captive of a hidden enemy.

 

With Esther we learn the enemy is identifiable after being in God’s presence on a daily basis. God’s mirror reveals Xerxes’ downfall – making decisions and living by emotion and ego. It also reveals God’s character and desire to take us to safety.

 

 

  1. In captivity? There are still choices.

 

Though captured bodily, Esther’s spirit was not overtaken. Mordecai ordered her to not reveal her nationality or lineage and Esther had the choice of response: to obey sullenly, rebelliously, willingly, and without murmuring or grumbling.

 

Taught unquestioning obedience for authoritative figures, Esther’s secret Jewishness did not color her responses to palace authority. Instead, lifetime training was so ingrained she retained it even when forcibly absent from Mordecai’s guidance.

 

We also find comfort in overwhelming circumstances, knowing our sovereign God is here: planning, protecting, and providing.

 

  1. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom

 

Xerxes’ pitiful example illustrated how decisions made in haste, or anger usually ends in regret.

 

Realizing she had no ability or power of her own, Esther chose to trust God on behalf of her people, telling Mordecai to ask all to fast and pray with her for 3 days to seek God’s direction.

 

Too often, only when all our options are exhausted, do we run to God. From Esther and Xerxes stories, we learn to run to God first, trusting Him to work through me, or someone else.

 

The combination of prayer and fasting is mighty. Esther’s example, to step back, evaluate, and seek God’s wisdom instead of reacting, continues to serve us well in our life of constantly impending threats and crisis.

 

  1. Leave plenty of room for God to work

 

 

Whether calculated, or led moment-by-moment, Esther’s actions reveal that she moved ahead while listening for God’s direction – leaving room for God to work.

 

She fasted, and stood in faith, dressed with all authority accorded to her. She went in to the king prepared physically, mentally, and spiritually.

 

Xerxes’ court must have gasped when Queen Esther entered uninvited. I imagine everyone holding their breath, wondering for what concern she would risk her life.

 

Did Esther plan dinners for the King and Haman before fasting or while fasting? Whenever, it had to be done in faith, believing God for the details.

  1. Assimilating to the enemy is never an option

 

Although Esther had somehow entered the palace without outward identification as Jewish, God and His promises still lived within her heart. Mordecai was hated by Haman for his identity, and it had to be only a matter of time until Haman figured out Esther was also Jewish.

 

The situation was delicate, for though Haman had constructed the evil law, the king had signed it. Esther now had to expose Haman without accusing the king, while publicly revealing truth about herself that she had not shared with the King.

 

But once Esther saw the right thing she moved decisively.

 

  1. Remember what God has done

 

 

It had to be a miracle of God to the fasting Jews when Xerxes honored Mordecai. If the restless monarch hadn’t read the chronicles would he have believed Haman instead?

 

God reversed every negative. Haman’s edict brought mourning, fasting, weeping, and wailing; but later in 8:16, it was a time of light, gladness, joy, and honor.

 

God knew Haman would cast lots (Pur) until he got the date he wanted, allowing the intended destruction to be scheduled near Passover. While Esther’s story is a call to Purim…celebrating, feasting and rejoicing, Esther’s destiny reversal is even more about the Passover, commemorating their deliverance with purity (the blood of the Lamb).

 

Passover’s symbolism still proclaims that God is Elohim, reminding us: He who saved our firstborn continues to keep His covenant and His people

 

  1. If we know Messiah, God’s destiny is within us

 

God is sovereign, no matter our circumstance. We can trust Him to provide the only protection that will cause the enemy’s planned disaster to pass over us.

 

Only trusting in God’s truth can we cast aside foolish pride like Haman’s, and depending on God’s wisdom, make the right decisions, unlike Xerxes,

 

We can like Mordecai, be unafraid, despite personal risk, to identify the enemy. Admitting we can do nothing in our own strength, we can bow before God in prayer and fasting like Esther, then confidently move ahead, trusting our destiny ‘s resolution to Yeshua Messiah – King of Kings.

  1. Celebrate the Victory

 

Commandments establishing Purim remind us to regularly practice remembering what God has done for ‘His people’, celebrating Messiah’s victory over every principality and power.

 

Because of sin, we all will face death, revealing our destiny-choices before God. We need to prepare for our remaining days as seriously as Esther, and celebrate our freedom and victories as heartily as all of Xerxes Jewish kingdom.

I can hardly wait to celebrate Purim – together!

 

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