What is Purim?
Purim is the celebration of the victory the Jewish people experienced from the plot of Haman to annihilate the Jews while in captivity in the Medo-Persian Empire found in the book of Esther. In this biblical account, God demonstrated His unique and sovereign protection and preservation of His chosen people – through whom it had been prophesied that our Savior would come.
According to biblical accounts one of the children of Israel’s most notorious arch nemesis is the Amalekites.
“Remember what the Amalekites did to you along the way when you came out of Egypt. When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. When the LORD your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!”
Exodus 17:8-15 relates that Joshua fought against Amalek, under the direction of Moses. Amalek was not destroyed in this battle, however, and at the end of this war Moses was ordered to write a reminder, that the Lord would one day blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens.
In 1 Samuel Chapter 15, the Lord commanded King Saul to cut off the Amalekite, but in his disobedience King Saul spared Agag, the Amalekite king, and all that he considered to be good. When God warns us to cut off a habit we too have the tendency to hold on to what we think is good. This is the same sin of disobedience that caused Saul to have the Kingdom of Israel ripped from his hands.
1 Samuel 15:9a:
“But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good.”
I have heard it said that a wise man will kill what killed his father, but a foolish man will allow what killed his father to kill him. God sits in the heavens and He sees things that we do not see. God sees that there are situations that you must conquer before it conquer you! God knew that the Amalekites would attempt to waste Israel and they did, every chance they got. Likewise, the Lord knows the tricks that the evil one is up to in our lives. We must conquer those things that are meant to conquer us.
Although the prophet Samuel killed King Agag, the Amalekites were not completely destroyed. Haman (in the book of Esther) was an Agagite, perhaps a direct royal descendant of King Agag, the Amalekite. Had Saul obeyed God and wiped out the Amalekites there would have been no Haman left to fight.
“For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur that is, cast lots, to crush and to destroy them.”
Why is Purim Important to Believers?
The Bible tells us that the stories and events recorded therein serve as examples to us of how we should live at the end of time.
1 Corinthians 10:11:
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come.”
The story of Purim is filled with lessons about God’s sovereign providence, as well as principles of ultimate justice and vindication against our enemies.
Although, the Jewish population of Persia had favor with King Ahasuheres, the decree had gone out and bvb they still had to fight – but God was with them.
God will never leave us in the hands of our enemies. His assistance will overcome all advantages of number and strength of them that defy those who put their trust in God.
“The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those determined to destroy them. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them. And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them. Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful. The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.”
Purim – Passover: Common Themes of Redemption
In closing, let’s take a look at the common theme of redemption found in the stories of Purim and Passover.
Haman’s foul plot to annihilate the Persian Jews took place on 13th of Nisan (Esther 3:7-12). Queen Hadassah (Esther) and the Persian Jewish population prayed and fasted during Pesach in 474 B.C.
Also, both Purim and Pesach occurred outside the land of Israel (in Egypt and Persia). Both encounters involve the near extermination of the Hebrew people. Both Moses and Queen Hadassah bring their petition before kings.
Leo Trepp, the author of “The Complete Book of Jewish Observance” notes that Purim is a fulfillment of the saying from the Passover Haggadah:
“Not just one Pharaoh rose against us to exterminate us, but in every generation did they rise up to exterminate us, and each time the Holy One Blessed Be He has rescued us from their hands.”
As we prepare to celebrate Purim, Pesach, and our Lord’s resurrection, let us be encouraged that God, is at work to bring redemption to His people. Every day, God is bringing us closer to the final redemption.
During this season of, we cannot separate Messiah’s resurrection from the power that God demonstrated in delivering His people at Pesach and Purim. The foundation of our faith stands on two things: 1) Yeshua is the son of God. 2) Yeshua is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Over the centuries, there arose Pharaohs, “Hamans,” and worse, yet the people of God remain. As surely as Purim and Pesach tell the stories of God’s redemptive work, all of creation eagerly awaits the day of Messiah. Beloveds, if you need Messiah today. Today is the day of salvation! Come Yeshua! Come!
“For we know that the whole creation groans together and suffers birth pains until now—and not only creation, but even ourselves. We ourselves, who have the firstfruitsof the Ruach, groan inwardly as we eagerly wait for adoption—the redemption of our body.”