02/25/21 Purim

13 Adar, 5781




HAPPY PURIM!

Tonight (February 25th) at sunset, the festive holy day of Purim begins.



On Purim, in synagogues around the world, the entire scroll of Esther, which is called the Megillah, is read twice—once on the night of Purim and once on the following day of Purim. (All Jewish holy days start in the evening at sunset.)


During the reading, the listeners participate by cheering whenever the hero

Mordechai, guardian of Esther, is mentioned and by booing whenever Haman–the

influential anti-Semite who had called for the annihilation of all the Jews of

Persia–is mentioned.


Although Purim is a Biblical festival that is overlooked by the Church, it's an

eye-opening read for all people devoted to the GOD of Israel and His people.


The Book of Esther is chock full of irony, mysteries, secrets, and intrigue

that provide powerful life lessons.


Unlike the other Holy Days of YEHUVAH, the command to celebrate this festival

isn't found in chapter 23 of Leviticus. What’s more, the command to

celebrate this special holy day doesn't come from GOD, but from Mordechai, the

hero of Esther.


He commanded the celebration of the salvation of the Jewish People in ancient

Persia from Haman’s plot to annihilate all the Jews in a single day.


“Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout

the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the

fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews

got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned

into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.” (Esther 9:20-22)




Purim is characterized by feasting, celebrating, dancing, wearing costumes and great rejoicing.


It’s traditional for Jewish people to send gift baskets called Mishloach Manot

(sending of portions) to one another and to the poor.


These special baskets contain ready to eat foods that are fit for use at the

festive Purim meal. Among other foods, this might include special triangular

cookies filled with poppy seeds or other fillings, called Hamentaschen (Yiddish)

or Oznei Haman (Haman's ears) in Hebrew.





This common practice is based on Mordechai’s command:

“He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving

presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” (Esther 9:22)


While many individuals do send food gifts to friends, neighbors, business

associates and family, etc., the giving of gifts to the poor is often

accomplished by donating money or food to charities which distribute food on

Purim day.


The poor are not exempt from participating in this practice.


A Game of Chance


“For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had

plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction. … Therefore these days were called Purim,

from the word pur.” (Esther 9:24-26)


The word Purim, as Scripture tells us, means lots, as in the method of choosing

or making a decision seemingly by ‘chance’.


In Persia, the pur (a lot) was used to seek guidance from pagan gods. The name of the holiday, therefore, is derived from Haman drawing lots to determine the date when to schedule the extermination of the Jews!


The lot fell to the 13th day of the month Adar.


Although the day that Haman cast the pur seems to be a matter of chance, even a glance at the Hebrew calendar reveals GOD YEHUVAH at work.


On the 13th day of the month Nissan, which is the first month of the Hebrew

calendar, the edict was issued that the Jews should be annihilated on 13th day

of the 12th month (Esther 3:7, 12-13).


Why is this significant? Because that was the day before Passover!


Imagine that every Jewish household in Persia was searching their houses for

chametz (leaven) in preparation for the beginning of Passover the next day,

when they would have a Passover seder (traditional meal and recounting of

the story) to commemorate their deliverance from Egypt.


As they were preparing to retell the story of the Passover to themselves and to their children the greatness of GOD'S power in bringing them out of Egypt, they likely received the shocking news.


In exactly eleven months’ time, their enemies would attempt to murder each one

of them in cold blood for one reason and one reason alone – they were Jews.


GOD YEHUVAH had made sure that uppermost in His people’s minds and hearts was the

remembrance of His supernatural, mighty, and delivering power.


Haman had sent out a message promising destruction, but GOD'S message to the

Jewish people seems clear: “He who delivered you from Egypt’s pharaoh long

ago is well able to deliver you from Haman today!”


Events may occur in our lives that seem random, but the book of Esther reveals that GOD YAHUVAH is in control, no matter how powerful our enemy or how bleak the situation.


Whatever our situation or circumstance, we can rest in the assurance that our

times are truly in GOD'S hands (Psalm 31: 15).


The whole story of Esther seems to be one of happenstance, such as the following:


• Queen Vashti ‘just happens’ to pick this time to refuse to come to the

• king’s royal feast. In response, the king decides to find a new queen.

• Mordechai ‘just happens’ to be in the right place at the right moment to

• hear of a plot against the king’s life, and he takes action to that situation

• plan (Esther 2:21).

• The king ‘just happens’ to have a sleepless night and calls his courtiers

• read his book of chronicles, which reminds him that Mordechai saved his

• life (Esther 6:1).

Mysteries in the Book of Esther


“He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light

dwells with him.” (Daniel 2:22)


Purim is a festival to dress up, wear a mask and have fun.


Little boys dress as Mordechai, and the King,


Now a days, however, the costumes have expanded to include every conceivable

disgusting thing , since the theme of concealed, hidden and mistaken identities runs

throughout the Book of Esther and the festival of Purim.



Even GOD is hidden in the Purim story.


In a search of the entire scroll of Esther from beginning to end, the name of

GOD isn’t mentioned once.


For that reason, the book of Esther almost didn’t make it into the canon of the Bible.


The closest reference to GOD is when Mordechai tells Esther that redemption for the Jews will come from “another place” (makom acher) if she doesn't act.


This term seems connected to HaMakom (literally The Place), which in

Judaism refers to GOD “The Omnipresent.


Even when GOD seems hidden, He is still there, and He has promised to never

leave us nor forsake us.


Even when we can’t see or understand what is going on in our lives, with

tribulations before us, behind us, and surrounding us, GOD YEHUVAH is still there.


He is faithfully working behind the scenes to work out all the details, divine

appointments, and circumstances to secure our victory. He may even ask for

our participation in the drama!



In the Book of Esther, the heroine of the story, Esther, had a secret identity.


In obedience to the instruction given to her by Mordechai, her cousin and

guardian, Esther concealed her Jewish heritage from King Ahashverosh, who not

only ruled over most of the known world, but was her husband (Esther 2:10).


She did not reveal her true identity as a Jew until the exact right moment

when it was necessary to defeat the plot of Haman.


The very name Esther (אסתר) comes from the root S-T-R which means hidden

or concealed.



In an ironic twist of mistaken identity, when King Ahasuerus asked Haman what

should be done for someone who the king wishes to honor, Haman, in his own

sense of pride and self-importance, assumed that the king wanted to honor him.


“Now Haman thought to himself, ‘Who is there that the king would rather

honor than me?’” (Esther 6:6)


He, therefore, advised an elaborate public demonstration of favor. The man the

king sought to reward, however, was Mordechai, Haman's arch enemy, and

Haman was elected to carry out the reward.


“‘Go at once,’ the king commanded Haman. ‘Get the robe and the horse and do

just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate.

Do not neglect anything you have recommended.’” (Esther 6:10)



In GOD'S Kingdom, things are backwards or upside down, from the ways of the world. After all, it’s a Kingdom where the first are last and the last are

first, where tax collectors and prostitutes enter before Kings and Pharisees,

where the weak are strong and the poor are rich.


At the beginning of Esther, we see a poor orphaned Jewish girl named Hadassah, living in exile in the Land of Persia. But GOD saw potential in her. He saw Esther, a courageous and Godly Persian queen.


GOD also sees our true identity and our potential. He knows who we truly are

and has a destiny for our lives.


The question is whether or not we will have the courage, perseverance and determination to take hold of it. Do we have faith to believe what the Word of GOD says about who we are in Messiah YESHUA ?



Royal Positions and Hidden Identities


For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews

will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish.

And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as

this?" (Esther 4:14)


The Word of GOD says that our very life is “hidden with the Messiah in GOD.”

(Colossians 3:3)


In Messiah, our true identities are sons and daughters of the KING of KINGS and

LORD of LORDS – members of a royal priesthood.