Did you know that out of all the books in the Bible, there is one book that does not mention God at all?
Reading the Old Testament has never been easy for me until I started learning about Jewish history, wisdom and traditions. Like the proverbial light bulb, I am starting to not only understand but want to read more. It puts so many questions from the New Testament to rest but then raises twice as many to the forefront of my mind.
Isn’t that always the way?
Anyway, today the Jewish people finish celebrating the festival called Purim. They read all 10 chapters of the book of Esther today in this last month of the Jewish calendar, Adar. All these centuries later, they continue to celebrate Esther saving the Jewish people from Haman’s plan of destruction. These were dark times for the Jewish people.
Dark times. Esther’s times. A time when they did not “FEEL” the presence of God. They did not overtly hear His voice speaking to them or through their leadership. They did not see His Hand steering their purpose. They did not feel His love sheltering them from their enemies. The Bible denotes these dark times by not mentioning His name or even referencing Him at all – not even once.
If you’re like me, you have to scratch your head and wonder why? Rabbinic wisdom says it is because the Bible is a book of life. There are dark times in life. Thus, these dark days have to be represented in the Torah. There are just times when we don’t “FEEL” God in anyway, shape or form. Not in our selves – in our leadership – in our culture. In fact it seems like the darker the times the less we “FEEL” God at all. The importance of Purim in the last month of the year is to point us towards the fact that at the end of all mortal things, we don’t have to “FEEL” anything – we just have to “KNOW”.
“KNOW” that Our Father is still there, just like we “KNOW” that He was there at the beginning. His Hand is still moving over us, sheltering us. His voice is still speaking to us and for us, even when we don’t hear it. His Love continues to weave a comforter around us when we are shivering and with bellies empty. His Light is still pointing out the rocks and the abysses under our feet even if we don’t recognize it.
That’s the whole point of Esther’s story…Purim. The last month of God’s year. A joyous celebration of “KNOWING” overcomes any dark time that we are experiencing. An earthly ending that is just a spiritual beginning.
The past few days as I have been rolling all these crazy thoughts over in my mind, I like to think that this is probably the time of year when Yeshua was laid in a manger. The Roman occupation of the Jewish land certainly qualifies as dark times. Avar is the last month. The end of a physical year. Looks like a great time for a spiritual beginning to me. God likes His festivals. He likes to remind us of all the things He has been trying to teach us since our creation.
I don’t think it was a coincidence that Christ was sacrificed as the perfect lamb the weekend of Passover. After all – it just takes one look at the intricacies of creation to figure out that Father God is a very detailed oriented entity. Lining up things is probably one of the easier things He accomplishes. Although – the way we like to screw things up – maybe we don’t make it all that easy.
Anyway – there you go. When dark times come on the mortal side of things, the beginning on the spiritual side is just not far off. Part of me is rejoicing in this because we are definitely showing signs of dark times in this ol’ world. The other part sends me to the knees in prayer for this ol’ world.
I may not always “FEEL” God in my life – but the the Book of Esther in the Bible and Christ remind me to “KNOW” God IS with me – all the time, in every situation, for ever and ever, AMEN and AMEN. I think I know what song will sing me to sleep tonight – “Jesus love me this I “KNOW”, for the Bible tells me so…” [google images]