The Power and Passion of Purim
The inhabitants of Judah were exiled to Babylon for 70 years by Yahweh for failure to observe the Law of Moses, particularly the laws pertaining to Shabbat. The weekly day of rest, prayer, worship, and fellowship that Yahweh instituted early in Jewish history was intended to idol-proof the people’s worship, divorce-proof their marriages, and rebellion-proof their children. The people, however, became negligent in their devotion to Yahweh and were forced to suffer the consequences of disobedience…deportation! By divine blessing, the Jews prospered in Babylon until the wicked Haman, the Agagite, appeared on the scene. As a descendant of King Amalek, Haman came from a long line of anti-Semitics. You may recall that King Amalek fought against the Israelites shortly after the Exodus. The men of Israel prevailed in battle as long as Moses’ arms were lifted to God by Aaron and Hur. Because of the many transgressions of the Amalekites, God declared He would blot out their memory from all the earth (Ex 17:8-16).
The evil seed of King Agag sprang to life once again during the reign of Queen Esther. Determined to annihilate the Jews in a single day, Haman, a descendant of Agag, devised a wretched scheme to rid the land of all Jews with the blessing of the king of Persia. Sensing grave danger, Mordecai petitioned his cousin, Queen Esther, to intervene on their behalf. In response to his urgent pleas, the courageous monarch dared to enter his majesty’s presence uninvited at the peril of her life. In response to the effectual fervent prayers of God’s people, the king graciously extended his golden scepter to Esther, allowing her to mediate successfully for her people. By royal edict, the Jews were allowed to defend themselves at the appointed time, and the detestable Haman was publicly executed on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai!
Purim speaks of absolute triumph over evil. For Christians, Purim is also a reminder of the victory that Yeshua won at the cross. The annual commemoration celebrates the demise of the wicked Haman and all of his evil protégés, including his ten sons. This great conquest definitely calls for a Purim party! What in the world is a Purim party? These were the first words out of my mouth when I initially learned about the joyous festival that celebrates the Jew’s victory over their adversaries. The more my Messianic friend shared with me about the delightful Purim party she had attended the previous night, the more I knew I had to participate. I could hardly wait for Purim to roll around again.
About ten months later, I was asked to teach about the life of Queen Esther for a Women’s Ministry event at my church. While praying for inspiration, the words “Purim party” popped into my mind. Immediately, I felt the direction of the Holy Spirit! Jumping out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, I ran to the calendar to find the date of Purim. To my surprise and delight, Purim fell on the very week of my scheduled presentation! The weeks I spent researching the various traditions associated with Purim was truly a labor of love that I would compare to a treasure hunt. Bursting with enthusiasm, I organized a Purim celebration for the women that included: worship, preaching, drama, Middle Eastern music, and a Purim party, probably the first ever in my town! Hamantashen! Yum! Most attendees had never heard of a Purim party. What was their post-party response? “The most fun we have ever had in church!” Purim parties for Christians? Amen! Chag Sameach!