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Purim 2009

Today is the second and last day of the Jewish festival of Purim 2009. This is a fun holiday in Israel with costumes, noise-makers, face-paint and parades.

But behind the laughter and foolishness lies a serious story of national survival. Behind Purim is the account of how God used a young Jewish woman by the name of Esther to deliver the Jewish people from a Persian plot to destroy them.

The story is compelling by itself. But the fact that Esther was serving as the queen of Persia, and that the plot to destroy the Jews was hatched within a regime that was the ancient regional counterpart to present day Iran has to be in the minds of the Jewish community today.

Seems more than ironic that the news is still full of rumors and concerns that some within Iran are outspoken critics of the security of Israel, and that many within the Israeli government are determined that Iran must not be allowed to have a nuclear bomb.

From wherever we sit, the present tensions are reason to pray for what the Bible calls the coming “peace of Israel” (found in her Messiah), for the people of Israel, for the people of Iran, and that the God of gods would give our own Administration wisdom and appropriate restraint in relating to both sides.

In addition, Purim is a good time for us to remember that God is not mentioned once in the pages that bear the name of Esther. Yet in the unfolding drama of the Bible, this chapter of history shows that God doesn’t have to be mentioned to be present.

Purim reminds us of the One who is God of the sleepless night… and of the surprise ending. He is the God who works for us in the darkness, confusion, and fears of our lives.

Together this means that what is so inspiring about this story is that it is not all about Esther. It’s a story about the God who, while being our provider and protector, can use us to bring help to others. Who can say when we, like Esther, may find ourselves looking into the eyes of destiny as we contemplate the needs of a hurting child, a lonely neighbor, a frightened co-worker, or a disillusioned mate? Who can say that heaven has not brought any one of us to this place-for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14).

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25 Responses to “Purim 2009”

  1. Mart De Haan says:

    Hey, good point!!!

  2. cherielyn says:

    From the pictures, it almost seems as if the celebration of Purim is a combination of Halloween, Mardi Gras and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Yet, in reading the background of the meaning of Purim, it has nothing at all to do with those celebrations. So I’m wondering, where, when & how did costumes, noisemakers, etc. come into play in the celebration of Purim?

  3. mtman says:

    Cheryl: Today is the day and I just wanted you to know that I prayed very hard for you this morning. I hope you qualify for the hospital program.

  4. pegramsdell says:

    Very good point phillip. Sometimes I just know that this is why I’m here. And other times I am totally clueless.

  5. Mart De Haan says:

    cherielyn, Wikipedia.org has a good article on the history of Purim. It says the costumes are a fairly recent addition (i.e. within the last 500 years) and that hidden identity plays an important part in the story of Esther. (i.e. Esther’s Jewish identity was hidden as God himself was hidden behind the unfolding plot. The explanation of mistaken/hidden identities also gets more complicated than that. I didn’t understand what I read enough to try and summarize it here :-)…

  6. Helmet says:

    Yes, Mart, but do they really mean what the first meaning means? (it sounded funny) I think this world prince has many ways to distract from the most important, like Santa Claus, or easter rabbits…, many people will use costumes just because it is fun, but I liked to know why of this in purim.

    Does anybody knows about Confused? How is she?

  7. Helmet says:

    Did I tell you about Esther study we got at church? It’s amazing, it’s a symbols study, see: Esther is our new life in Christ, Haman is our old nature before Christ, Mordecai plays the Holy Ghost, and the king is ourselves. So, Haman is in permanent attempt to manipulate king’s will and to rule him, Esther see Mordecai sadness and try to make him feel better with dresses (going for shopping) but the only way to make him glad is to do God’s will, to die to ourselves as finally Esther did, and make die our old nature Haman. Of curse, the study goes so more deeper, we heard it for one hour, but this is a so resume version.
    the fight of our life.

  8. poohpity says:

    This story of Purim comes at such a good time for me to relate to God’s sovereignty. Yesterday while at my Doc’s office, who by the way is a Christian, a women said to me aren’t you Deborah Johnson? I said yes, she then proceeded in telling me she had met me at a bible study last summer that I only attended a few times because then my mom got sick. During the bible study she had mentioned that she was unable to find a doc who does holistic care because she had a physical problem that was not being taken care of by regular doc’s, so I told her about my doctor. Anyway she saw me yesterday and said thank you so much for the referral she was getting excellent care and her problem was being solved. We both concluded that the Lord had orchestrated everyone to be in the places we were in for just that reason.

    The lesson I learned was that no matter where we are or what we are doing God uses us. It could be something so simple or it could be something major but no matter what God will use us for something. We may never know how we touch someone else but we will touch someone whether covertly or overtly today. So just be who God created you to be and He always has a purpose for all of us.

  9. daisymarygoldr says:

    Great post and comments! I agree this story is not about Esther….it is all about our God who saves! Living a palatial and luxurious life of a queen, Esther was completely oblivious of the death sentence hanging above her and her father’s household.

    In spite of Mordecai’s prodding, Esther was not willing to take the risk of approaching the king. However, when she listened to her Uncle’s admonish to not remain silent; Esther obeyed and decided to sacrifice her own life for the salvation of her people.

    Today, Esther reminds me to not remain engrossed with the riches and opulence of this world….but to always be mindful of the death sentence hanging over people who perish in their sins. Esther teaches me to always listen and obey the voice of my spiritual Mordecai- the Holy Spirit. Esther inspires me to do the right… even against the face of political incorrectness. Esther is a classic role model for me to deny myself, pick up His cross and follow Him… to proclaim the good news of salvation from sins in Christ Jesus!

    Yes, it is true God is not mentioned in that book. This proves the fact… that though God is seemingly out of the picture…He is never out of the picture. We may forget him but he will not forget us. We may forsake Him but He will not forsake us. We may reject Him but He will never reject us. We may leave Him out of our lives, but He will always be a part of lives.

    No matter the condition of our lives …sleepless nights, darkness, confusion, disillusion, failures, fears, tears, worries, anxieties…He is very much a part of our lives. We may lose hope in Him but He is always faithful…to deliver us from all our troubles. Today our written “lot” may include sorrow and mourning, but God will surely turn it into a day of joy and celebration (Esther 9:22)!

  10. cherielyn says:

    mtman, you are truly a man of your word! Thanks for your prayers. I will probably be receiving a letter, in the next few days, informing me of the hospital’s decision. Will let you know the outcome when I do.

    Mart, thanks for the Wikipedia referral on Purim. I have read some of it, but wow, what a long article. I haven’t reached the part, yet, about the explanation for costumes, etc.

  11. wretch-like-me says:

    As I think back to my experience of coming to Christ, one of my dearest memories is realizing that even in my worst times of rejecting God, He was still there for me.

    When I came to understand that He had (and still does)a wonderful plan for my life. I have the freedom to choose His Will and accept or reject the blessing.

    I have witnessed (both in my life and lives of others) the continued opportunity to serve Him and (pardon the expression) HIT THE JACKPOT!!! OR reject Him and wander in the wrong direction ‘hoping to find happiness and success’.

    I agree with cherilyn and Helmet in that Satan, prince of this world, will stop at nothing to distract, distort and destroy all our chances at finding true happiness and peace as God intended for us. I was raised a Roman Catholic and sadly, found tradition was more important there than truth, “don’ts” emphasized over “DO’s”, and “absolution by a priest” available for a ‘price'(beginning as a child with prayers like the “Hail-Mary” and progressing to monetary sums for those with ill-gotten gain).

    How refreshing to learn later in my life that “Jesus paid it ALL!”

    I cannot wait to get Huggs from Jesus at the gates of Heaven. HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE!


  12. Robert Slone says:

    I saw it mentioned that it was interesting that this holiday for Israel and the things going on at present with Iran not being an accident.

    Thanks SFDBW for the web sites, onenewsnow.com and raptureready.com.

    Over the last 3 days reading the subjects and the blogs, along with lisitening to news, talk shows, and reading news, I do not find that it is an accident that we are pledging from the U. S. $900 million to Hamas led Gaza even as they are still launching rockets at Isreal. Also, I read today that Barack Obama is taking a more pro-Muslim look at the problems in the mid-east. All of this as he signs more legeslation that will give government more and more control over the people. Just as I have watched over the last 30 years of a global economy built, we are leading up to a one world government.

    Some may scoff, but as real Christians we had better be ready to take a stand for Christ and pray, pray, pray.

    I don’t believe things happen by accident or by chance.

  13. SFDBWV says:

    Robert Slone, You are welcome. If you like world news from a good source go to hallindsey.com then click on “links” you will get quite a list of news sorces,

    One story today on IsraelNationalNews.co (Arutz Sheva) is a really cool story about the tomb of Mordechai and Esther. The tomb is in Iran and on Decenber 9,2008 Iran put the “holy site” under official government protection, and listed it to it’s national heritage List.

    The web page also offers some stories and information about Purim…I liked the date Adar 14 5769

    Have fun

  14. BruceC says:

    Well here it is 3:40 AM and I can’t sleep. Rather blog on with the brethren than click on the boob tube.

    Robert Slone,
    Along the same lines as your take on the one-world government I read something about a new supercomputer called a Petaflop. It has the ability to do one thousand trillion calculations per second which if I was correct in my reading is a billion or so for every person on earth. We draw nearer to His return all the time.

    In reading Ester I am reminded of all the times satan has tried to stop God’s plan. He was always trying to destroy Israel to stop His “seed” but always failed. He tried to destroy the Jewish race; and failed. And we read in Revelation of his last and final failure. But our God never fails. Even when believers loose some of their hope and get discouraged; God comes through. Regardless of what gets done about the Iranian nuclear threat; either attack or passive protest, God’s plan will go foward right on time and things will occur as He has said. I’ve listened to a few sermons on prophecy and “Ezekiel’s War” in chapters 38 and 39 and wonder why they attack by land with an unholy alliance when they are developing nuclear strength. Not to worry; God knows and that is good enough for me. The Bible is full of truths about how the Lord protects His children and that is good enough for me. He is always in control; and He never has and never will fail!

  15. SFDBWV says:

    There are so many stories of God at work ahead of every action. Two that come to mind are found in Matthew 21:2-3, Jesus simply says to the deciples go there is a donkey tied unloose it and bring it. If any one asks say the Lord needs it…Luke 22:10-12 Again Jesus instructs the deciples to go to a certain man bearing a water pitcher follow him to his house and tell him the Master has need of the room to eat the Passover meal.

    Both of these events show God preparing the way for his purpose without the forknowledge of the owner of the donkey or the owner of the house. Maybe their entire purpose including all events of their lives were for this one moment when God used them.

    Make you seem small? It should. But small as we are when compared to God and His purposes, He knows every hair on our head and still he purposed everything so that we could be forgiven and spend eternity with Him.

    This is God’s will and our purpose.

  16. carlj says:

    Thinking about the story of Esther and other comments posted causes me to ponder that so often we fix our gaze on what is taking place immediately in front of us and around us, and as a result, we risk limiting our understanding and appreciation of the impact we have on this world and our involvement within the overall plan of GOD. What if today we are living out an unfolding drama where GOD’s plan involves our individual lives to participate in HIS purpose that may not be revealed to us until much later?

    If so, would this change our attitude about our feelings of insignificance or obscurity? What if at this very moment while we are going about what we feel is an insignificant life without adventure, GOD is using us as participants in a tremendous story? How would knowing that GOD is using our lives at this very moment affect our attitudes? And, would that concept alter our attitude toward an obscure life?

  17. kaliko88 says:

    Esther is one of my favorite books in the bible. I’m always struck with the picture of Mordecai. Despite all the harsh treatment he received, he stood strong in his beliefs and did the right thing towards all. I hope I can take a stand like that.

    Wretch-like-me, I totally understand how you feel about the Catholic faith. My whole family is Catholic on my mother’s side, except me. I dearly love them, and they are wonderful followers of Christ, but I just don’t fit in “the church” anymore. I suppose, in a way, that is how I’m taking a stand.

  18. RARFOG says:

    Hi, I have read this blog from time to time and always find it very interesting and love reading different perscpectives on the issues. I like what carlj posted. I think I’ll just ponder on that for awhile…

    God Bless

  19. Cindy Stroop says:

    Hello everyone,
    I just heard about this blog this week and finally had a chance to check it out. I started with “Feeling Down” and then went on to the next post about depression. Thank you all for sharing. I’ve fought depression since Jr. High (decades ago) and have been suicidally depressed several times, even after giving my life to the Lord. I have a wonderful physician’s assistant who has, with God’s guidance, been able to help me with medication and prays with me each time I see him. I’m truly blessed! It’s still a struggle, even with the meds, but writing helps me. I thought I’d share a psalm I wrote recently because it applies to depression as well as to making the decision to stand strong in the Lord (as Esther did). I hope you are blessed by it.

    “I Put My Trust”
    (from Psalm 37)

    I’m crying out, Lord
    Crying out for You
    Like a baby in the darkness
    I call out for you

    Not knowing what, Lord
    What to ask or how
    Like a child frightened in the night
    I call out for you

    I commit my way
    I commit my way
    And choose to trust in you, oh Lord
    I commit my way

    I will not fret
    I choose to trust
    I put my trust
    In righteousness

    Your righteousness, Lord
    Righteousness from you
    You bring it to me as the light
    As the noonday sun

    I will not fret
    I choose to trust
    I put my trust
    In righteousness

    I give you praise, Lord
    I give you my praise
    For my righteousness comes from you
    As the light it comes

    I will not fret
    I choose to trust
    I put my trust
    In righteousness

    I walk with you, Lord
    You walk with me too
    I no longer walk in darkness
    Not alone in pain

    I will not fret
    I choose to trust
    I put my trust
    In righteousness

    No more in darkness
    Now I shout to you
    Hallelujah, praise to my God
    Now I shout out loud

    I will not fret
    I choose to trust
    I put my trust
    In righteousness

    No more in darkness
    Now I shout to you
    Hallelujah, praise to my God
    Now I shout out loud

    Hallelujah, praise to my God
    Now I shout out loud

    I shout out now, praise to my God
    Now I shout out loud

    I sing out loud now, praise to God
    Now I sing out loud

    I will not fret
    I choose to trust
    I put my trust
    In righteousness

    Words by Cindy T. Stroop 03/02/2009

  20. SFDBWV says:

    I just recieved my new AAA member news letter….Top story showed the Presidential limosine. The picture titled Barak and the Beast. Seems that’s what they call the Presidents new wheels. So it would seem that Barak is riding the Beast.

    Welcome Cindy T. Stroop, I hope you continue to contribute and share here in this blog.


  21. plumbape says:

    I love this story, I could see these events unfolding in modern day government only the murdering would have to be done covertly.
    Sometimes it seems like the battle between satan & God is like a huge chess game that is intensely complicated as well as seemingly non stop. Unlike the book of Job, which we are privy to God and Lucifer actually negotiating about a plot, this story doesn’t mention either but one can see the good and evil all through it.
    Apparently the Jews being in exile in Persia was going to come to war sooner or later so God planted this gorgeous and charming Esther in the white house, oops, the king’s palace anticipating satan’s foolishness. (The Queen is the most powerful piece on the board but the last King standing wins the game.) While the usual evil is running amuck with the king’s palace guards talking about a coup, old Mordecai is sharp and righteousness make a move of Queen’s Bishop (Mort) to King’s Bishop four, (Mort does a 911 call on the bad guys) or earns some points to be later rewarded much to the opponents dismay. Haman is promoted and as usual full of himself so he gets disrespect from Old Mort because he will only bow down to the God of Isreal! The plot thickens and Haman’s vanity is about to bust due to this Jew that won’t act right and even a multitude of counselors isn’t wise if they are evil. The wife and son’s of Haman set him up for his demise as God helps keep the King restless and wants his chronicles read he learns that Mort is cool and unrewarded just in time for that ape Haman to come in. Of course when the King asks advice about how to honor a man the King has found favor with, egotistical Ham just knows he must be referring to him so he lays out the red carpet treatment,only to gets slapped in the face to find out not only is he talking about his disrespectful enemy Mort but insult on top of injury, Ham has to humble himself to sport old Mort around town in front of all his family and buddies. lol (bet the boys down at the pool hall never let him hear the last of that!!) Esther does have to risk her life to seek the King’s attention without a request, which I’m guessing she had ways to get any man’s attention without a word spoken, as that was normally the death sentence. She serves up some choice food and some wine before she drops the bomb shell on old Ham. It said he fell on the couch while pleading for his life but I have to wonder if smooth Esther didn’t trip Haman, son of Vanity, either way the King busts him making a move on the Queen the minute he turns his back. So it’s all over but the crying for the bad guys and it looks like another fairly easy check mate for God, which I’m thinking may have felt like a fools mate to Satan.
    Non chess players > fools mate is check mate in about seven moves!!

    Also took note, unless I’m reading it wrong, that in verse 9:7 it says the Jews killed the 10 sons of Haman.

    and in 9:14 it said an edict was issued and they hung the 10 sons of Haman.

    Sounds like a gang land slaying by todays standard, kill them and then hang them.

    God will prevail…. who’s side are you on….?

  22. daisymarygoldr says:

    Michael :o) that was so cool! I’m laughing… but I agree with every word you have said… cannot get more beautiful than that. I really do want to be on God’s side. Thank you for sharing!

  23. poohpity says:

    It is sooo good to have you back plumbape!!!

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