Purim Joy and Gladness


When was the last time you celebrated joy and gladness for God’s presence and power in your life?  As we review the freedom God provided to the Jews through Esther and Mordecai, we see the lasting celebration of Purim, which points us to God’s saving hand…

1 On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.

4 Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.

16 Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies.

19 That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.

20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 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.

3 Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.
Esther 9:1, 4, 16, 19, 20-22, 10:3

Once the edict was issued by King Xerxes, the Jews celebrated that they had freedom and the right to protect themselves. These things don’t always go together, yet there are many places in which there are threats to life and land.  There were people around the Jews who hated them and desired to oppress them.  No one was coming to their aid to protect them, so their right to protect themselves was critical to them.  God provided that right through Mordecai and Esther.

Mordecai continued to be prominent in the kingdom, becoming more powerful across the region. We see that his prominence relates to his dedication to the Lord and his people.  Mordecai doesn’t appear to be self-serving or power-hungry.  The reason the people loved Mordecai is that “he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.”  He even set up an ongoing celebration (Purim) of the relief God provided on the 14th and 15th of the month of Adar.

We should remember the merciful hand of God working in our lives.  We learn this from God’s relationship with the people of Israel. God intervened to save and care for his children many times, and the Lord set a pattern of creating memorials for his people to remind them of his presence and his mighty hand.

We need those reminders in our lives also.

We follow the God who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine in our lives. God can overthrow the hearts of kings and rulers in authority over his children to protect them and provide freedom.  Jesus promised in John 16:33 than he had overcome the world.  There is nothing which is not under his subjection.  Therefore we should take heart.

When was the last time you celebrated joy and gladness for God’s presence and power in your life?  As we count our blessings, we ought to regularly stop to focus our thanksgiving and worship toward the Lord.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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