I recently finished reading Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage: How Understanding the Jewish Roots of Christianity Can Transform Your Faith by Curt Landry.
It’s an incredible book that explores the depth and power of heritage, inheritance, identity, and covenant — and what it all means for individual believers, Israel, and the Church.
When we understand the history of the disconnection of the church from her Jewish roots, we are better equipped for God’s reconnection. We are more open to His revelation and experience a new hunger for His Word. This creates new depths of understanding and a firmer place for us to stand as part of His Kingdom.Curt Landry
The Lord has definitely increased my hunger for his Word and desire to understand more fully the roots and history of Christianity. This journey has also increased my interest in the Hebrew calendar and its prophetic significance.
Our unchanging God works in divine rhythms and seasons. We’re living in uncertain, unprecedented times, which is all the more reason we need to be dialed in to biblical truth and aligned with what God is doing in the world today.
One way to stay grounded and aware is through the Jewish holy days. These occasions cause us to remember and rejoice in God’s miracle-working power and faithfulness. What he’s already accomplished throughout human history provides evidence of his character and hope for our future.
Purim is one Jewish holiday that actually begins today at sundown, Feb. 25, and concludes Friday, Feb. 26. It also happens to be my birthday this Saturday, Feb. 27! So in honor of these festive occasions, I want to share some encouragement and reasons to celebrate.
This unique holiday stems from the story of Esther, found in the Old Testament. I’m not going to rehash the full story here, but the gist is that God works through Queen Esther to deliver the Jewish people from a deadly edict.
(Purim comes from the word pur, which means lot. The story’s villain, Haman, cast the lot for the Jews’ destruction.)
You’re likely familiar with this famous verse:
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?Esther 4:14 NIV
Esther embodies beauty, humility, and courage. While one evil man plotted to destroy the Jews, Esther’s bold act of faith saved her entire nation.
It’s really a dramatic, decadent story. It speaks to destiny and the triumph of good over evil. For those who think the Bible is boring, Esther begs to differ. 😉
Esther’s relative, Mordecai, functions as a father figure and plays a significant advisory role in the story. He’s the one who institutes this annual celebration.
Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.Esther 9:20-22 NIV
That’s who God is! He transforms sorrow into joy and mourning into celebration (see also Psalm 30:11, Isaiah 61:1-3 & John 16:20).
So what does this mean for us in 2021? Curt Landry Ministries explains the significance of Purim for today:
- Understanding good versus evil
- Overcoming our doubt
- Standing against anti-Semitism
- Praying for Israel
(Follow the link above to read more about Purim and Curt’s ministry.)
Here are two themes to think about as we navigate this year: divine deliverance and deliberate action.
First, God is faithful to keep his covenant promises and protect the people he loves.
Even when evil appears to have the upper hand, God will always triumph. Everything is going according to his sovereign plan.
Second, God equips and empowers his people to take wise, deliberate action.
Knowing that God is ultimately in control isn’t an excuse for complacency, ignorance, or inaction. Esther listened to godly counsel and chose to risk her life by appearing before the king. The Jews assembled together to protect themselves against attack.
Interesting fact: God’s name is never mentioned in the entire book of Esther. Yet when you read the story, his presence, love, and power are apparent on every page.
Are you wondering where God is right now? Are you waiting on him to come through?
If your current circumstances are clouding your vision, let the story of Esther remind you that God is always at work for the good of those who love him, even in troubling times.
And look to the cross of Christ. Jesus died and rose again to deliver you from the powers of death and darkness. By his wounds you are healed. Hope is alive, and joy is always available!
During Purim, take time to celebrate and respond to God’s goodness and faithfulness found throughout the pages of Scripture and also in your life.
- enjoy a delicious meal
- spend time with loved ones
- sing your favorite worship song to the Lord (check out Graves Into Gardens)
- sow into a ministry that’s impacted you
- give something to someone in need
- pray for our nation and Israel
Finally, declare the promises and protection from Psalm 23 over your life.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.Psalm 23:5-6 NIV
Take your place at the King’s table and celebrate!