What do you get when you mix the costumes of Halloween, the gift-giving of Christmas and a New Year’s Eve party? You get the Jewish holiday of Purim! If this were a synagogue, these five things take place on the Festival of Purim: 1) a rabbi reads the story of Esther and when Haman’s name is read you boo and when Mordecai’s name is read you cheer, 2) kids arrive in their favorite super-hero costumes; 3) you give gifts; 4) you donate to charity; and, 5) you feast with friends. In Esther 9 and 10, the Jews are celebrating God’s rescue. Our passage identifies five lessons that Purim teaches us.
Our commonality (unity) is our salvation
In Esther 9:20-21, we learned that across Persia, all the Jews enemies are destroyed on the 14th of Adar, but Mordecai says I want you to celebrate on the 14th and 15th. Here’s why: Esther requests that the king extend their defense to the 15th of Adar in Susa. The request is granted and an additional 300 anti-Semites are killed on that day. Mordecai is reminding the scattered Jewish exiles, that while there is no common meeting place or synagogue, that unity can be found in being saved.
Our celebration is a reminder of what we did not possess – Esther 9:22
Purim is a reminder to God’s people that the salvation they received is something they did not have prior. Purim is a celebration of the relief, gladness, new holiday, feast and abundance the exiles now have. Christian, when we gather for worship today, our celebration is a reminder of what we did not have, but now possess. I Peter 2:9-10 reminds us of this.
Our commemoration is eternal – Esther 9:23-28
The book of Esther and feasting go together. In chapter 1, there is the feast with Vashti. When Esther becomes queen a feast takes place. Esther hosts two feasts for Ahasuerus and Haman. There is a celebratory feast for the Jews deliverance. How ironic that unbreakable Persian law is replaced by an equally binding edict of the Jews. They are to feast forever. Revelation 19 reveals that we who are God’s people will feast for all eternity.
Our Creator reverses our past for His glory and our good – Esther 9:29-32
Esther is a story of God’s faithfulness to His unfaithful people. Yet God is unwavering and unswerving in his dedication. Esther offers hope that in spite of our past or present because even then our silent God is still at work.
The cornerstone of Purim seeks the good of His people – Esther 10:1-3
Mordecai is the immediate cornerstone of Purim, but God is the true cornerstone. For the believer, Purim is every day. In the spirit of Purim, Christian, I exhort you to regularly, generously and joyfully celebrate your salvation in Christ.
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