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Purim and the providence of God

Jews read the Megillat Esther (the Scroll of Esther) during the Jewish holiday of Purim, in Katzrin, northern Israel, March 7, 2023. (Photo: Michael Giladi/Flash90)

In the last 25 years, the world has changed dramatically. With the emergence of the digital age including the explosion of the internet, social media, and artificial intelligence, the world has become a distinctly different place than it was just a few decades ago. 

But if we go back twenty-five hundred years to the ancient Persian Empire of Esther’s time, before the rise of democracy, the printing press, electricity and modern medicine, the contrast is even more striking. So much has changed in 2500 years of progress… and yet, so much has remained the same.

The same demonic spirit that sought to destroy the Jewish people in ancient Persia is still very much alive in the modern “progressive” world we live in. In that sense, Solomon’s words in the Book of Ecclesiastes: “There’s nothing new under the sun” continue to ring true in the 21st century.

Haman the Agagite and his followers have resurfaced through Hitler, Hussein, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and Islamic jihadists. The dark spirit of irrational hatred known as antisemitism has been rising exponentially in the US and throughout the world in recent years. And it’s still centered in the same region of the world-- what we know as modern-day Iran.

When Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 with the intent to ultimately destroy the Jewish nation, it was just before the joyous holiday of Simchat Torah. When Haman devised his evil plot 2,500 years ago, it was just before the freedom festival of Passover. The demonic forces of evil in every generation always operate with one objective--to rob, steal and destroy life and joy from God’s people.

But we know God was working behind the scenes in the ancient Persian Empire to save his people. Through divine providence and favor, he miraculously saved them from the threat of annihilation.

When the Jews heard of the king’s edict to destroy and annihilate them, they were gripped with fear and uncertainty as they desperately searched for God’s hand and help. They had no assurance that Esther’s position as a Jewish woman in a pagan empire of powerful men would prove to work in their favor, or whether she would have the courage to face what looked like a no-win situation suddenly thrust before her.

But Esther, in a prophetic foreshadowing of the Messiah, bravely faced her fears, asked her people to pray with her, and willingly offered up her life to intercede for them. Esther’s courage in the face of death and the existential threat to her people was rooted in her deep love for them and her recognition of God’s sovereignty. It was that love and faith that led her to say, “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

In an extraordinary and surprising twist of events that upended Haman’s evil plot, God moved the carefully placed pieces of the chessboard into place to accomplish His plan, and Esther found strength from His spirit to fulfill her destiny.

Today, the Jewish people continue to face threats of annihilation with chants of “From the River to the Sea” and rising global antisemitism. God continues to work behind the scenes through divine providence, placing his people in virtually every level of government in Western democracies, albeit as a small minority.

But there is another aspect of support and intercession the Jewish people have today they didn’t have in Esther’s time: the prayers and solidarity of Christians standing with them. Christians today have the same opportunity to fulfill the divine destiny Esther had 2,500 years ago. An opportunity to realize their position in the kingdom “for such a time as this”, to prayerfully intercede and stand up for the Jewish people. And like Esther, bring salvation-- only this time in the spiritual and physical sense.

With the devastating loss of life and trauma Israel has experienced since October 7, and the international criticism that’s followed during the ongoing war, it can be difficult for many to fully embrace the normally joyous holiday of Purim this year. However, celebrating what God has done in the past for us brings healing to the trauma of the present and hope for what he will do in the coming days.

Right now, the Jewish people around the world and in Israel are once again faced with the reality that those who thought were their friends are not, which is why the friendship, love and support of Christians is so vitally important.

If you have Jewish friends and neighbors, let them know you celebrate with them during this joyful holiday of Purim, because as the ninth chapter of Esther says, “the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation, by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.”

Happy Purim!

Avigayil Rivkah is a writer and speaker on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, Jewish culture and Israel news. She is a Jewish believer in Jesus and writes at

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