PURIM: You, too, can change history!
By Les’a Cole
Purim begins Monday, March 9, 2020 (14 Adar 5780).
This is a fun-filled celebration with reading the book of Esther, costumes, special 3-cornered jelly-filled cookies (which represent Haman’s hat), costumes, and gift-giving.
It is interesting to note that the books of Esther and Song of Songs are the only two books in the Bible that do not mention God’s name … not even once.
Why do we celebrate Purim? … God’s hidden miracle
The book of Esther contains a powerful message: God used one person – a woman – to save an entire people. (Remember that during that era, women, were often looked upon as a possession rather than as a vital decision-maker or world-changer. Esther, however, did not listen to the inner voice of fear, nor to the negative comments she heard; instead she followed wise counsel … and, in turn, she changed the course of history!)
In ancient Persia (modern-day Iran), King Ahasuerus (Xerxes; Hebrew: אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ) reigned from 486-465BC. He had an evil official named Haman, who plotted to kill all the Jews, not knowing that the king’s wife was Jewish. When the plot to kill all Jews was discovered, Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, told Esther to go before the king, her husband, and beg for the lives of her people. Esther understood that going before the king without his summons was endangering her own life. Mordecai warned her: “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 ESV. Believing God, she and her servants fasted for favor and God’s intervention.
Yes, God used one brave woman to save an entire nation from destruction…. He used her to change history.
Has God called you “for such a time as this,”?? Perhaps, He created you to intervene — through prayer and fasting — that our nation (& Israel) might be saved at “such a time as this”! (Esther 4:14)
Gift-Giving (aka mishloach manot)
In Esther 9:19 NIV we read: “That is why rural Jews–those living in villages–observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other (Hebrew: מִשְׁלוֹחַ מָנֹות giving gifts, mishloach manot)
Purim is about God’s saving the Jews from Haman. During this festivity, Jews eat fruit-filled butter cookies called hamantaschen, which is a triangular-shaped cookie. This shape signifies Haman’s hat. Some Jewish communities say the cookies are shaped like Haman’s pockets (or his ears). But most associate this shape with his hat.
God’s miracles hidden in natural events
Costumes are worn for Purim to show how the miracles of Purim were disguised in natural events. For example, an evil man wanted the Jews dead and plotted to accomplish this. The king’s new wife, Esther, happened to be Jewish. It was revealed to King Ahasuerus the evil plan of Haman. In the end, God saved the Jews. When looking at the entire story, one understands the great miracle!
Wearing costumes on Purim — dressing in disguise — is an allusion to miracles that were hidden in natural events.
Let us remember
Purim is a fun-filled holiday which has a great message …
How does YHVH want to use us – for such a time as this — to change history!