Tuesday March 19: 14 Adar II
Today is Purim, a holiday which tells the story of the deliverance of the Jews living in Persia. It’s recorded in the book of Esther:
“And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them (Esther 9:20-23)
Thousands of years later, Jews and many non-Jews keep this customary holiday. The name Purim means, “lots” because lots were cast to determine the day Haman would move against the the Jews to destroy them. Thus Purim is observed to remember that those who sought to destroy God’s people, were themselves destroyed and upon the very implements they had devised against God’s people. We could say that, in this particular case, God reversed the curse, which brings us to our main point.
Much has been made over the fact that the book of Esther never mentions God, never even alludes to God, and so in that sense, He’s completely absent from the story. However, we can’t ignore the fact that He was at work the whole time, orchestrating events behind the scenes. For instance, it wasn’t happenstance that circumstances arose whereby Vashti was sent away and Hadassah was chosen to be the new Queen. There are several other “coincidences” that occurred throughout the narrative that demonstrate God was at work. Why was God working behind the scenes? I believe it was because God knew, in advance, that Haman intended to destroy His people – even before Haman knew. God is always looking out for His people.
Though we don’t often sense God working on our behalf or see Him working on our behalf, doesn’t mean He isn’t working on our behalf. He may not be working in the way that we expect Him to, but there’s no denying that He’s there. He may conceal Himself, in a manner of speaking, for a time, but He reveals Himself in the deliverance of His people. Whatever situation we might find ourselves going through, and it feels that God is nowhere to be found, we can be confident – we must be confident – that He is moving behind the scenes. In fact, it might be that He was already at work before we realized that we needed Him to rescue us. Consider the words of the Psalmist, who said:
“Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, for You will answer me. Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; nor are there any works like Your works.” (Psalm 86:6-8)