Thursday, March 20, 2008


Purim begins today at sunset. If you aren't Jewish, you may have never heard of Purim. Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrated in March.

What is Purim about or for? Purim is about restoration and protection. Purim is about how God takes care of His people even in the face of incredible adversaries.

We read about the origins of Purim in the ancient book of Esther in the Old Testament. Esther was the original "Jewish princess." Esther and her family were captured and taken from their homeland of Israel and drug away to Persia (modern day Iran). Esther's parents died, and her uncle Mordecai raised her. Esther was beautiful in face and form. Mordecai taught Esther about God. God's character and truth were deeply planted in Esther's heart.

Persia was a scary place to live in ancient times. The "law of the Medes and the Persians" was so solid that it could never be changed. The Persian empire stretched from Africa to India. The king of Persia was Xerxes. Xerxes took decadance to a new level. He once threw a party that lasted over six months. It was more lavish than any party we could ever imagine or attend.

Long story short, Esther eventually became Queen over Persia.

Esther, Mordecai and all the Jews in Persia were the targets of the evil Haman. Haman wanted to annihiliate the entire Jewish race. Hitler wasn't the first to try it.

I don't want to spoil the suspense so I encourage you to open your Bible, find Esther and read the exciting story for yourself. It is one of those "can't put it down, nail-biter" stories from real life.

Purim is the holiday the Jews celebrate to this day in memory of God's protection and deliverance of the Jews and of the role Esther and Mordecai played in that story.

Queen Esther, King Xerxes, Mordecai and Haman lived long, long ago. Purim comes from this ancient story when God worked silently but very deliberately and effectively to protect and defend His people. The account of what God did is recorded in this ancient book. Esther is the only book in the Bible where God's name is never mentioned even though His fingerprints are all over what happened.

In Esther God is pictured as the One Who restores in all kinds of ways. We see brokenness in the empire of Persia, brokenness in King Xerxes' heart and habits, brokenness in Haman's evil plans, brokenness in Esther and Mordecai's circumstances - and in all that brokenness, God quietly but surely works to restore.

Purim is a celebration of God's restoration!

Perhaps Christians should celebrate Purim, too. We certainly should celebrate God's restoring grace in all the brokenness we encounter in our own hearts and in our world.

Sometimes God works and speaks in a thundering storm (like in Job). Other times God works quite silently (like in Esther). The bottom line is that God works to bring restoration anywhere there is brokenness which is everywhere.

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