Purim! It’s an annual Jewish celebration marking that epic moment when God providentially rescued His people from the Persians just in the nick of time.
Purim usually involves getting dressed up in costumes, eating, and an interactive retelling of the biblical narrative of Esther.
Now if you’re not familiar with the story of Purim, it involves two characters and their rise to fame and power. Esther, a Jewish woman from Persia, who was brought up by her Uncle Mordecai; hers is a rags-to-riches story. She would eventually become queen of Persia by participating in a royal contest. Around the same time, a man named Haman was promoted by the king of Persia to become what we might call today, the prime minister. He was set above all the other officials in the land.
It didn’t take long for power to corrupt Haman. After he was promoted, Haman noticed Mordecai was a Jew who wouldn’t bow down to him. This enraged Haman enough to win the king’s approval to have all the Jewish people destroyed.
The plot of Purim is building. Are you beginning to see the tension rising in the story? Esther, who is Jewish, becomes queen. Haman, second-in-command, wants to rid Persia of all the Jewish people, and without knowing it, the king gives approval to Haman’s wicked plot.
Purim reminds us that even when it seems like God isn’t present in our times of tragedy He is still orchestrating His plan for His glory!
Another little twist appears in this narrative, the controversy surrounding God’s name. It’s never once mentioned in the book of Esther. It’s hard to imagine a story like this found in the Bible involving a Hitler-like figure who attempts to destroy God’s Chosen People, and God’s name is never once mentioned.
Purim reminds us that even when it seems like God isn’t present in our times of tragedy, He is still orchestrating His plan for His glory!
It’s no coincidence that just as Haman rises to power to destroy the Jewish people, Esther is chosen to be the queen. It’s no coincidence because this story is only the outworking of a greater struggle happening behind the scenes, the battle between God and Satan, good and evil. The story of Esther and the celebration of Purim is a reminder that Satan seeks to destroy what God values.
God was and is working through Israel and the Jewish people. He values them because through them would come Jesus the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Jesus is the only One who can break Satan’s power, so it’s no surprise that Satan has been working tirelessly from the beginning to destroy the Jewish people.
Just look at the laundry list of people and empires that have attempted to wipe out Israel and the Jewish people:
Satan has been working to destroy what God values. Yet, today, the Jewish people stand once again this Purim to celebrate their deliverance from destruction.
God providentially raised up Esther to a position of prominence in Persia as the Scriptures say “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). That means it was God’s perfect timing, and in the end Haman found his demise on the same gallows he built to destroy the Jewish people.
But this doesn’t mean Satan’s work is over. He’s still working to destroy what God values. The Bible reminds us in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Paul goes on to tell us that since Satan is out to destroy what God values, we must put on the full armor of God because God values us!
My friends, the same evil that embodied Haman’s plot to rid Persia of the Jewish people is still around today. Spiritual warfare is real. Knowing this, every Christian should ask himself or herself, Why am I positioned here “for such a time as this?” Look around you. I know our stories may not be as epic as Esther’s, but if you are a believer in Christ, you have been providentially positioned. God has put you right where He needs you!
Even though we may not celebrate Purim, may it be a reminder for us today as believers in Jesus the Messiah to see that we have been providentially positioned by God, and to thank Him for the deliverance we have in Christ Jesus from the greatest enemy.