Have you had an experience where you just “knew” God was at work behind the scenes? Perhaps it’s just the opposite and you’re wondering why God has abandoned you. This week our Jewish neighbours are celebrating Purim, one of the most festive occasions of the Hebrew calendar.
Participants attend the public reading of Esther’s scroll dressed in costume, masquerading to demonstrate the “unseen” God among the cast of characters. Though God is not named in the text, He is obviously the miraculous force driving the plot’s twists and turns. Purim offers the opportunity to reflect on God’s presence and power in our lives and when He seems absent, to pray for a revelation of His proximity. Ironically the nation celebrating this evident yet invisible God would later miss this same God incarnate and named Immanuel.
Even though the songs, prophecies, temple rites and prayers contained the message of the Messiah, when Jesus came to His own, “they knew Him not and received Him not” (John 1:11). The Promised One was hidden, not hiding, in plain sight. It was not Jesus’ elusiveness to blame but the Enemy’s deception and human stubbornness. This is a cautionary tale we can still learn from. God’s “chosen people” became so entrenched in the rigidity of religion and devotion to the law, they lost the love story behind it. They were distracted by a short-sighted desire to be delivered from government control and oppression and it blinded their need to be delivered from ALL evil, including the sin of pride lurking within.
On one occasion Jesus is challenged by religious elites demanding He prove His identity with a heavenly sign. His response: “How is it that you can predict the weather by the clues in the sky but you cannot see the signs of the times?” Continuing, “Only a corrupt generation would need another sign” (Matt 16). The fulfilment of more than a hundred prophecies was standing right in front of them. The poor and powerless embraced Jesus more readily than the privileged. Evidently a humble and open heart can be the remedy for obscured vision.
Read more Words of Hope