Why is Purim important for Believers? Isn’t it a Jewish holiday?
It’s easy to wonder if it’s even relevant to Believers. After all, the book of Esther gives Jewish history and speaks of the Jewish holiday, right?
Purim is a festival that honors God, and the book of Esther remains relevant to Believers today. So then, let’s uncover why Purim is important.
Why is Purim Important?
So, why Purim? Why should Believers be interested in the story of one orphaned Jewish girl and the holiday she and her cousin established?
There are actually many reasons why Purim and the story of Esther are important for Believers. However, to understand them, we need first to recap key aspects of the book of Esther.
- Her background
- Her character
Esther’s Background Set the Stage for Transformation
This is Esther’s background and history; the things that shaped Esther’s character and faith. But Esther’s life would not remain the same.
Esther would go from being an orphaned Jew living in a foreign land to becoming the queen of one of the largest and most impressive kingdoms in history–Persia.
Esther’s background set the stage for transformation, which is why Purim is important for Believers. We can identify how our lives are transformed by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as we are adopted into His family through Yeshua.
Esther’s Character Opened the Doors of God’s Favor
Ahasuerus—also known Xerxes I—ruled over the kingdom of Persia in what is generally believed to be the 5th century BC.
Near the start of Ahasuerus’ rule, he had a queen named Vashti. Little is told of her in the book of Esther, but we are told that Vashti refused Ahasuerus’ summons to appear before him and his guests at a party.
Remember, in Persia at this time, the king had massive power. His seal on a document was binding, so much so, that no one had the power to change it. Whatever was written was essentially law—unchangeable, even by the king. No one could go before the king unsummoned without risking their life—the king being the only one who could spare their life. And no one could refuse a summons from the king…
Vashti’s life could have been taken had the king chosen to do so. Yet, Ahasuerus spared her life. However, he was convinced by those around him to remove Vashti from the position of queen. This left a void that needed to be filled. Another woman would take her place.
Soon, beautiful women from all over the Persian kingdom were gathered to be considered for the position of queen.
Esther was among those brought to the palace—hiding her Jewish identity as Mordecai had instructed and changed her name from Hadassah to Esther. Yet, simply arriving at the palace and finding favor with the eunuch in charge would not be enough to become queen. God was guiding and directing her through it all, working all things out for good.
Every woman brought for consideration had to undergo preparations that would take a year to complete.
Once the preparation was complete, the women were brought to the king for consideration. God’s favor rested upon Esther. The wise counsel she received from Mordecai and her character opened the door. She was chosen by Ahasuerus as queen, taking her into a completely different lifestyle.
In this lifestyle, Esther had greater authority and comforts but also greater danger and expectation.
Purim for Believers | The Battles You Face
Here is where the book of Esther sets the stage for Purim.
Haman, an evil prince of Persia, who managed to find favor with Ahasuerus, lies to the king. Acting out of his own anger toward Mordecai, who refused to bow before him, Haman tells Ahasuerus that an entire people living in Persia refused to obey the king’s laws or ways.
Haman’s twisted words painted the Jewish people as dangerous to the kingdom of Persia. Haman tricked Ahasuerus into giving a decree to destroy the Jewish people. Unfortunately, Ahasuerus was unaware of 2 things…
- His queen’s heritage
- Mordecai’s heritage (Esther’s cousin who had also saved the king’s life shortly after Esther became king)
Haman’s deception created a “battle situation” Esther, both physically and spiritually.
- For Esther to approach the king without an invite and tell him what she knew of Haman threatened her life.
- If Esther chose to stay silent, the lives of her people were threatened.
Mordecia, Esther’s wise counsel in the situation, told her what was at stake. He laid out the danger that all the Jews faced. Esther had to decide if she would risk her life for her people, or disobey Mordecai and what God wanted in order to avoid detection.
Fasting and Praying Through the Battles
Esther knew what she had to do. She knew God had set her into the position of queen “for such a time as this.” She fasted and prayed, asking all the Jews nearby to do battle with her in the same way.
For three days, they fasted and prayed. Then Esther dressed in her royal robes and went before the king unsummoned, at the risk of her life.
Can you identify with Esther? In tough situations–spiritual battles–Believers can fast and pray, and put on the royal robes of Yeshua, and boldly approach the King, asking for what they need.
Esther needed deliverance and mercy. Her people needed deliverance and mercy. God heard the prayers of His people, and He was with her.
The king saw Esther, and she found favor with him. His golden scepter extended to her.
From there, Esther invited the king and Haman to a banquet. Then, to another banquet the following day—the time between allowing God to honor Mordecai through Ahasuerus and strengthening Esther’s case.
At the second banquet, Esther revealed to Ahasuerus the evil plot of Haman and her Jewish identity. Enraged, the king had Haman’s wicked plans for Mordecai, and the Jews shifted back upon Haman and Haman’s family. Yet, the edict against the Jews remained—for not even the king could revoke what his seal had enacted.
But God provided Esther favor. The king gave his seal to her and to Mordecai, allowing them to—with God’s wisdom—devise a way to protect the Jews. And that way was in legally allowing all Jews to come together and defend themselves… and God granted the Jews favor in this, giving the Jews victory and provision!
Purim, Believers, and God
After the victory, and with newfound favor, Esther and Mordecai chose to set in place what is known as the holiday of Purim…
However, while it is easy for us as Believers to feel like it does not apply to us, there are many reasons why it should matter to us…
So, why is Purim important for Believers?
- The story of Esther is part of God’s Word. Purim is not just remembering Jewish history; it is remembering the Word of God.
- Purim causes us to remember God’s love, mercy, and power. It was not Esther, Mordecai, or the Jewish people as a whole who managed to overcome, it was God working through them.
- Purim reminds us that God chose and created each of us “for such a time as this.”
- Purim asks all of us to give, following biblical principles laid out in both Old and New Testament teachings.
- The holiday of Purim is joyful, not because of what man did, but because it remembers the hand of God—this aligns with the truth that the joy of the Lord is our strength!
These are just a few of the reasons why Purim is important to Believers. Yet there are many more, such as: Believers being grafted in with our Jewish brothers and sisters; the lessons of preparation and God’s timing; the lessons of obedience and godly honor; the way the Lord takes what is meant for evil and turns it for good.
All of these are reasons enough for Purim to be important for Believers.
Each turns our attention back to God… and that is always good.
“For Such a Time as This”
We are each chosen and created by God “for such a time as this.” God is purposeful in His decisions. He sees the entire picture and never makes mistakes.
We may not understand how our journey is to play out. We do not always know why we are who we are or why our circumstances have been what they have been, but nothing is without purpose.
Consider Esther. She was born Hadassah, a Jewish girl… and then she found herself orphaned and being raised by a relative. It was not the most auspicious start. It is unlikely anyone ever saw her and thought, ‘she will be queen.’ Even Esther likely did not see her future… but God did. He knew. He prepared her. He equipped her. He loved her.
Each of us has been equipped “for such a time as this.” And each of us has the ability—like Mordecai—to equip others; to raise up the next generation.
Let us, as Believers, be committed to raising up disciples who will wholly follow Jesus. Let’s pass on the story of Purim to others, including the next generation—our children and grandchildren!
We must remember that we were created “for such a time as this,” and so are they.