It’s Time to Party!
Day: 16 | Plan: Covenant
Today’s Reading: Esther 9:20-32
Esther 9:20-21 (NIV) “Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar.”
Who doesn’t love a good party? Today we join God’s people for a party, a celebration that commemorates God’s salvation of the Jews from evil Haman. Named Purim, it still continues today as one of the most joyous and festive celebrations on the Jewish calendar.
The word “purim” means “lots” in Hebrew. The festival derives its name from the lots Haman cast to determine the date he would carry out his evil scheme to massacre the Jews.
Mordecai established the festival of Purim to remind God’s people of what took place on those two days — when God turned their sorrow into gladness and their mourning into feasting. The festival ensures that every generation not only recalls the terror, danger and turmoil their ancestors suffered, but also remembers how God faithfully delivered them.
This story makes us confront the harsh reality that one twisted man can implement and carry out a plan to exterminate an entire race of people. Haman was not the only one. There have been individuals before and since who have attempted to do the same. It’s within this context we need to understand the greatness of God’s intervention on behalf of His people. It was a reversal of epic proportions because it not only turned the tables on the enemies of the Jews, but God rewrote their story from near certain eradication to divine protection and salvation.
And, friend, their story is our story. Only we face an even greater enemy than Haman. It is the sin and death that came when Eve succumbed to Satan’s temptation in the garden. But, God again stepped into the story. He sent His Son, Jesus, to set us free from sin and death.
But our Savior didn’t stop at setting us free. Hear Jesus’ mission and call; let it soak deep into your soul. Jesus came “… to proclaim good news to the poor … to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners … to comfort all who mourn, and to provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
And one day our Savior will return. On that great and glorious day, there will be no more killing, no more genocide, no more sorrow or pain because on that day, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
What a glorious day that will be!
Prayer: Father, thank You for this story in Esther. For how, though Your Name is not mentioned, we see Your hand at work clearly from beginning to end. Thank You for the gift of remembering. Help me to remember the times You have so faithfully intervened on my behalf. Thank You that You are my shield and deliverer. My strong tower. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
What does a typical Purim festival look like today? Not at all what I... Read More
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