The Feast of Purim

Scripture reading for May 17th: Esther 8-10

When God wants His people to remember something, He usually designs a feast or celebration!  How is that for a new view of God!  Looking back, God gave Israel “Passover” as a way to remember their deliverance from bondage in Egypt.  He gave them “Pentecost” and “Firstfruits” to celebrate the harvest and giving of His Law.  He gave them “Tabernacles” where they lived in booths to commemorate their 40 years in the wilderness before entering the promised land.  He gave the church the “Eucharist” (thanksgiving) to celebrate Jesus Christ’s final sacrifice and as a picture of the great wedding banquet to come!  Let’s face it, our God likes the idea of His people celebrating and the celebrations will continue in the life to come!

The Jews had good reason to celebrate!  Their enemy, Haman, had been hung on a gallows that he himself built.  The king had extended favor to Esther and Mordecai by giving them Haman’s estate.  If you will remember, he had offered 375 tons of silver, the equivalent of about 120 million dollars, to eliminate the Jews and the king told him to keep his money!  (Esther 3:9-11)   His estate must have been tremendous. Not only that, but they were now granted the right to defend themselves against their enemies and even eliminate their enemies on the appointed day that Haman had picked by casting the l0t!  Their lives were spared and they were able to see their enemies get their due!

This plan was devised by Mordecai after the king granted him authority to write up what the Jews needed in order to counter the first decree which, according to the law of the land, could not be set aside.  Before the day came, many people of other nationalities became Jews for fear of them. (Esther 8:17)  On the day set by Haman, the tables were turned and the enemies of the Jews were themselves destroyed.  (Esther 9:1-2)  Five hundred were killed in Suza and another 75,000 were eliminated across the land of Persia by the Jews.  Esther asked for another day in Suza and the king granted her plea and even more enemies were eliminated!  God truly turned the tables and the lot was reversed in favor of His people!  Thus the feast of Purim (lot) was begun.  They celebrated for two days giving gifts and eating choice foods, for their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into celebration!  (Esther 9:20-22)

What do we learn from all of this?  God is in absolute control of everything!  When His people fast and pray and seek to obey, He comes through.  Evil toward His people is turned back on the heads of those who would touch His children!  His children can celebrate a total victory over the forces of evil arrayed against them!  We win in the end!  Tell someone this good news today! Celebrate the victory that is yours in Jesus Christ!

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