God’s Story... For My Life - Saturday, March 22, 2014
Read Esther 9:20-32
Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days. He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.
So the Jews accepted Mordecai’s proposal and adopted this annual custom. . . .
Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote another letter putting the queen’s full authority behind Mordecai’s letter to establish the Festival of Purim. Letters wishing peace and security were sent to the Jews throughout the 127 provinces of the empire of Xerxes. These letters established the Festival of Purim—an annual celebration of these days at the appointed time, decreed by both Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther. (The people decided to observe this festival, just as they had decided for themselves and their descendants to establish the times of fasting and mourning.)
(Esther 9:20-23, 29-31)
Haman had decreed that on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month anyone could kill Jews and take their property. Mordecai had the king sign a new law giving Jews the right to fight back.
People tend to have short memories when it comes to God’s faithfulness. To help counter this, Mordecai wrote down these events and encouraged an annual holiday to commemorate the historic days of Purim. Jews still celebrate Purim today. Celebrations of feasting, gladness, and gift-giving are important ways to remember God’s specific acts. Today, for example, the festivities of Christmas and Easter help us remember the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Among Jews, women were expected to be quiet, to serve in the home, and to stay on the fringe of religious and political life. But Esther was a Jewish woman who broke through the cultural norms, stepping outside her expected role and risking her life to help God’s people. Whatever your place in life, God can use you as he used Esther. Be open, available, and ready, because God may use you to do what others are afraid even to consider.