Read: Esther 9-10 (chapter 10 is only 3 verses; you can do it!)
…to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
The Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. Esther 9:21-22, 27
Can you imagine hearing, that the president had signed into law, one particular day set apart to allow anyone to legally kill Christians in our country, to take their property, and that the Christians were not permitted to fight back? If you really let yourself imagine this for a minute, it’s almost unbelievable. Definitely frightening. But this is what had happened to the Jews (which we read in Esther chapters 1-8). But God works through His faithful followers and by the end of chapter 8 braveness has been blessed, wrongs have been righted, the major villain has been stopped and the good guys are in positions of influence and leadership. The book of Esther could’ve ended with chapter 8; verses 16-17 sound like a great ending.
However, there’s still a certain ‘day of annihilation of the Jews’ on the calendar. And even though the Jews have now been empowered to defend themselves (this alone caused reason for great celebration!) this scheduled day of war is still coming. And they know it.
In chapter 9, when this day arrives, God’s faithfulness, once again, arrives. God delivers His people. And they celebrate. Then this celebration is declared as an annual celebration called Purim. God seems to like when we celebrate His faithfulness – He seems to be a God who smiles much more than we might realize. And invites us to join Him.
Thousands of years later, the Jewish people are still joyfully remembering what you read about today in Esther chapters 9 and 10. Tonight, (March 23, 2016) at sundown, practicing Jews will begin their celebration of Purim – God delivering them from their enemies – and continue to celebrate until tomorrow at nightfall.
In a few more days, many of us will begin to celebrate the greatest act of God’s deliverance as we celebrate what we call ‘Easter.’ For some, this holiday is simply a pagan holiday made pretty and tasty by Easter bonnets and bow ties, ham and Peeps. But for those of us who know God, we know this: we are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ who conquered our enemy once and for all, so that we can be in a saving and personal relationship with Him forever!
Long ago our enemy marked us. And on his calendar, every day is a day of war. But Jesus came and fought in our place. He finished the fight and He won. And He offers the victor’s crown to anyone who will accept Him as their Savior and Lord.
What are you celebrating this ‘Easter?’ Is it simply an earthly celebration that hopefully tastes good? Or will it be more? God has offered you a time of celebration knowing that while we still may face battles, the war is won, the best is yet to come, and you have been invited to life eternal with a God who loves you, wants to know you and will celebrate with you.
Lord, thank you for times of celebration. As the next few days unfold and I seek to celebrate your resurrection and the life you’ve offered me, would you please allow me to know your presence in a deeper way. Please remind me that regardless of my circumstances, You’ve already provided the ultimate victory.