Esther 9:18 – 32 The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
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.
Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 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.
So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction. But when the plot came to the king’s attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur .) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, the Jews took it upon 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. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendants.
So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Xerxes—words of goodwill and assurance- to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation. Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.
To this day, Purim is celebrated by Orthodox Jews. It is a time of remembering, and is one of the most fun of the Jewish celebrations. It is customary that the story of Esther be read aloud, and each time the name of Haman is mentioned, the audience boos and hisses, stomps their feet and shakes rattles. This is done in order to “blot out” the name of Haman. Every year, usually in March, this celebration takes place. In this way, knowledge of God’s goodness to His chosen people is passed down, generation to generation.
This is important, for God is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The same God who placed a Jewish orphan on the Persian throne is the very same God who will deliver you and me from our trials. The same God who made sure that Haman paid for his crimes is the same God who will conquer every giant that threatens to overcome us.
Sometimes, when the going gets tough, we forget. We become anxious and afraid, and we wonder if God even knows what we are going through. We doubt His faithfulness, because the giants that loom over us block our vision. But never fear! No matter how big that giant may be, God is bigger. And He will always deliver His children. Always.
The way that we get rid of our fear and doubt is to simply remember. Remember the stories of Esther and David and Moses, and all the other biblical heroes God put into place to deliver His people. Remember the times in your own lives that God has worked miracles, both big and small. Remember that God loved each and every one of us so much that He gave up His own Son, in order to save us from the evil one.
God loves His children. He loved them during Esther’s day, and He loves us now. That love will never, ever change.
Dear Father, Thank You for demonstrating Your extravagant love for Your children throughout the ages. Thank You for demonstrating that same love, each and every day, in my life. Help me to remember Your faithful love, no matter what.
I’ve tried to put this into practice this year by creating a remembrance journal in which I log answered prayers because if I don’t write them down, I don’t remember them. And I want to be intentional about remembering. Thank you for sharing the current Jewish customs that go along with this beautiful passage.
What a wonderful idea, Alyssa! I love reading back through my old prayer journals, seeing how God has answered different prayers over the years. I think you are very wise to be so intentional about remembering God’s goodness. Those logs will not only help you, but will be a testimony to God’s goodness for those who come behind you.
What a wonderful message to us from the book of Esther! God loves us so much! I am always so encouraged to hear the stories of God’s faithful love to others. Thanks for the encouragement to keep our stories alive!
Jeanette, haven’t we had this discussion before? 🙂 It is so important to pass down stories of how God has worked.
For those of you who don’t know, Jeanette’s parents were missionaries in Liberia. Jeanette, her sister Carol-Ann, and her brother Gord have some wonderful stories to tell.
WHen my daughter was younger, she was at times very depressed, in fact she has her mood swings even now.
I made her paint yellow stars on the roof in her room whenever she felt that God had been helping her out. It’s a pretty starry sight.
Honored be his name.
I have really enjoyed this series on Esther Renae. I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!!
Hi Felisol! What a great idea! I would love to see that starry roof.
Thanks, Jackie! I’m excited about the next thing, too. 😉
Thak you, Renae, for your faithfulness in helping us see God’s application for OUR lives in Esther’s story.
Thanks, Jean. It’s a great story, isn’t it?