Approaching boldly – The story of Purim


Throughout history, many have sought to wipe the people of Israel from the face of the earth. One such man went by the name Haman. The story of his plot is found in the Old Testament book of Esther. It records that Haman “cast lots” to determine which month he would attempt to carry out his evil plan.

The lot fell to the Jewish month of Adar. Today, the festival of Purim (meaning “lots”) is celebrated during this month. Why? Because the plans of Haman were thwarted by a young Jewish girl named Hadassah, or Esther. A month planned to have great sadness for Israel is now a month of great celebration.

With Purim being in our midst, I’d like to quickly recap the whole story of Esther and then compare it to a revelation from the New Testament.

The story took place during the Babylonian captivity of Judah, and it began with the young and beautiful girl, Esther. She had an uncle named Mordecai, and, through a series of events, became the wife of the Persian king. During this same time, Haman (boo!) plotted to have all of the Jews in the land killed. The ear of the king was bent towards Haman, and Haman worked hard to deceive the king into making a decree which would annihilate the Jews. However, Esther, who had not made it known to the king that she was a Jew, did something very brave to save her people. She approached the throne of the king.

Esther exhibited bravery in approaching the king because she had not been invited into his midst. In the Persian culture, anyone who approached the king uninvited was sentenced to death – unless the royal scepter was stretched out to them (Esther 4:11). Even the wife of a king was only allowed to be in the king’s presence when she was invited. Her uncle, Mordecai, had spoken with her telling her that time was short and that she must plead to the king for her people, and herself, so Esther did the unthinkable and went into the king’s presence – completely uninvited.

Esther 5:1-2 says, “Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, in front of the king’s quarters… When the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won favor in his sight, and he held out to Esther the golden scepter. Then Esther approached…” Esther was able to tell the king of Haman’s plan and the people of Israel were saved. What an incredibly brave woman.

In Hebrews 4, the writer begins diving into the wonderful revelation that Yeshua has become our high priest, now ruling and reigning (much like a king) at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19). Verse 16 states, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

In the same way that Mordecai encouraged his niece to approach the throne of the Persian king, we are encouraged by the author of Hebrews to approach the LORD’s throne of grace.

The difference in our story and Esther’s story is this:

Where Esther was desperate, we are confident. Where Esther was uninvited, we have been given a permanent invitation. Where Esther wasn’t sure if she would receive wrath and find death, we are sure that we will receive mercy and find grace. Where Esther went to plead for salvation, we can rejoice that ours has already come. Happy Purim!

This article originally appeared on FIRM, March 10, 2017, and reposted with permission.