You, Lord, give light and life. Your sustaining power and disciplining presence watch over me. All praise and worship to You.
Read Esther 9:18--10:3
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Looking both forward and backward are necessary. Dwelling on the past, as if that is what determines the future, only leads to despair. Ignoring the past, as if there are no lessons to learn, only leads to continuing ignorance” (Mary Evans).
Purim is the least known of Jewish festivals, but the fact that Jews around the world still celebrate it annually indicates the faith-impacting influence of the events it remembers. Timely action by the Esther-Mordecai team ensured that future generations would never forget the story of their persecuted fellow-Jews being rescued from annihilation. While many Jewish exiles remained in and around Persia, a second wave of returning exiles under Ezra and Nehemiah brought renewed faith and religious practice back to their homeland, possibly introducing their new festival to the more traditional cultic celebrations.
Purim was not among the post-Exodus festivals mandated in the Torah, but its celebration does have links with ancient Israel. Modern liturgy still includes Scripture relating to God’s victory over the Amalekites, alluding to a deeper meaning of the battle of wills between Mordecai and Haman. The casting of lots (purim is plural of Assyrian word pur) determined the date of the proposed massacre, but the successful battle was always part of God’s plan. Easter commemorates a long-planned victory over sin and death and is our closest equivalent celebration (1 Cor. 15:57).
“The book of Esther is one to ponder in any attempt to relate biblical values to life in an increasingly secular world. Belief in an inflexible fate survives today, as witnessed by the popularity of horoscopes. This book demonstrates that fate is not unchangeable when it runs counter to God’s eternal purpose” (Joyce Baldwin). Esther also inspires us to believe that God’s faithful women and men can still contribute to the welfare of the societies in which they are placed, as Esther and Mordecai did.
“Accounts of salvation are always faith-creating and faith-confirming. . . This journey to faith requires pondering the events, searching for God within the plot, and choosing to see his active presence” (Debra Reid). How does this quote help you?
Sovereign Lord, I want to join You in Your plans for my life and my country.