Purim: Unmasking Motives
Kris Shoemaker - Yehudah ben Shomeyr
In observing the Feast of Lots (Purim), it has become a tradition to honor the events of how God used Esther to save the Persian Jews from annihilation. We do this by dressing up in costumes and disguising ourselves. Even God Himself hides behind the very words of the story, as His Presence and actions are clearly seen, but his name or His various titles are not mentioned even once in the text. But Bible codes reveal God’s Name all throughout the text. We also see that Esther hides her Jewish identity. But not only ones identity is hidden during the events of Purim, but also we find peoples motives are hidden in the story of Purim. Just as Esther’s identity was eventually revealed at precisely the right time, likewise, motives, people try to hid are unmasked as well.
King Ahasuerus what masked did he hide behind?
Queen Vashti refused to appear before the king’s own private “gentleman’s club” in order to be touted as a “trophy wife” and to be gawked at and lusted over, for tradition states that she was to appear before them in the nude. The king had her kicked the curb. However, he deeply loved her, even after she rebelled against his command. So what was his motive of kicking her to the curb and set out on a search for a new queen? To keep his love and soft heart from being exposed, he wore a mask of absolute authority, anger and pride. He didn’t want to lose face in front of his male entourage nor create a situation in the kingdom where it would appear okay for the women to refuse unreasonable demands by their husbands (Esther 1:10-2:1).
Let’s look at Mordechai, Esther’s cousin and legal guardian (he was more like an Uncle than a cousin). Outwardly, to everyone, it would appear that he allowed his cousin Esther to participate in this kingdom wide beauty pageant for the next queen, in order to be obedient to the Persian powers that be. He wore a mask of assimilation. In actuality his motives were to allow for the possibility for Esther to become Queen and thus change the lot and status of exiled Jews in Persia (Esther 2:5-8).
Haman; he wore a mask of righteous indignation, justice, power and pride to hide his motives for ethnic cleansing, because one man decided to honor God above him (Esther 3).
Esther wore the mask of a Gentile in order to hide her Jewish identity so that she could unmask herself at just the right time, while simultaneously unmasking the wicked motives of Haman and thus saving her people (Esther 1:10, 4:14-17, 7:1-8:17).
At a costume party we can sometimes fool those who are closes to us and know us best. But ironically, we can usually fool ourselves before we can fool others. We can lie to ourselves and tout good motives when in reality our motives are not so pure.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jer. 17:9 (KJV)
All a man’s ways are pure in his own eyes, but Adonai weighs the motives. – Prov. 16:2 (TLV)
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. – Prov. 14:12, 16:25 (KJV)
Are you wearing a mask of righteousness to hide a true face of pride? Are you wearing a mask of humility to hide the face of true talent? Perhaps you don a mask of toleration to mask a face of hatred? Or maybe you’re wearing a mask of “today” so at the right time you can expose the mask of post modernism in order to reveal The Face of Truth, The Word of Absolute Truth of God and the Scriptures? Perhaps you hide behind a mask of an innocent by-standard when in actuality you can unmask the face of wisdom and concern at just the right time?
We all wear masks from time to time and not all masks are bad, it’s the reason for the mask that determines its merit and value.
CHAG SEMEACH PURIM! HAPPY PURIM!
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