Today is the Purim festival, a celebration of the deliverance God accomplished for the nation of Israel in the power of His providence. Purim is truly a unique celebration because of the way it started.
Unlike the festivals that God ordained Israel to celebrate when He gave the Law to Moses, Purim is a celebration created by man and it’s found in the book of Esther that recounts what happened while Israel was in bondage under the Medes and Persian empire. Esther was one of the women chosen to be with King Ahasuerus, also known as King Xerxes, but she had to hide the fact that she was a Jew because it was dangerous to be one during that time.
The danger was increased when a man by the name of Haman plotted to destroy the entire Jewish nation, because another Jewish man named Mordecai refused to bow down to him after the King elevated Haman to a high position of power. The providence of God elevated Esther, a Jew, to be the queen of a foreign nation during the time when the nation of Israel came under the threat of genocide. Esther 4:13-14 recounts what Mordecai expressed to Esther in response to her aversion to speaking up to save Israel from destruction, and it speaks to God’s providence, check it out:
Esther 4:13-14 (NKJV)
And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 1For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
I personally have heard “for such a time as this” on many occasions and it usually has a positive sentiment to it, but as you read this verse, it’s used in reference to a decision that was very scary to make. It involved people and events that were not under Esther’s control, and it required God Himself to move behind the scenes to deliver His people.
So the Purim festival is one that acknowledges the deliverance of the Jewish people from destruction, and it was accomplished by divine providential intervention. The word purim even means “lots” in Hebrew, which is a word that speaks to the practice of casting lots, which was a game of chance. In contrast to the uncontrolled nature of chance, the people God showed His providence to made a decision they could not control the response to, and God moved to display His response.
On this day of celebration, may we remember the providence of God, and that because of providence there’s nothing God leaves to chance.
Last year I published a podcast on providence, take a listen below: