Summary: There is reversal of the edict to annihilate the Jews. Now they have the opportunity to complete what Saul left lacking.
Let the celebration begin
Saying Yes to God part 9
WE all have a reason to celebrate. The Feast of Purim, usually in March, is a festive feast of the Jews, they celebrate it with great passion. As Christians we have been adopted into history of the OT and have our own reasons to celebrate, not just the preservation of the Jews in Persia but for the message it has for us in the way it points to Christ. All the feasts point to Jesus.
It is a Victory for the JEWS
The celebration starts early, even before the battle is fought, because the victory is guaranteed. In the same way for us as Christians, the victory is guaranteed, if we remain in Christ we have the assurance of Heaven, our victory in Christ is complete.
How do the Jews treat their enemies? They attack and destroy only those who were guilty of wanting or trying to destroy them. The first few verses are an overview, while the remaining verses give us the blow by blow.
How is this different from Haman’s edict? Haman sought to kill all the Jews along with Mordecai, the innocent were to suffer, while the Jews only sought the guilty.
The author is careful to say three times that the Jews did not lay their hands on the plunder, even though Mordecai’s decree allowed it. It was reversing the plans of Haman, however unlike Haman’s decree the Jews understood the execution of Mordecai’s edict was governed by the rules of the ancient command of holy war against the Amalekites. One of the rules was that the plunder was not to be taken. That was Saul’s downfall. It will not be theirs. Under the leadership of Esther and Mordecai, the Jews obeyed where Saul had disobeyed and did to their enemies as the Lord had commanded.
As the reports come pouring in, the King repeats his offer to Esther, anything she wants. Yet she responds EST 9:13 "If it pleases the king," Esther answered, "give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on gallows."
Why does she want Haman’s sons destroyed? It is to complete the command of the Lord that Saul did not obey. She asks that Haman’s sons be executed possibly for fear of retribution from them for the death of their father and to take their estate back, however, I believe it was to follow the Lord’s command to execute all the Amalakites. Esther’s reasons for the second day of killing in Susa may have been legitimate even though they are unknown to us, the author may have known, or not.
EST 9:18 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.
The feast of Purim joins five Jewish feasts that were commanded by Moses in the Torah. It celebrates the miraculous events surrounding the formation of the nation of Israel as God’s covenant people. On the eve of Passover, the edict is overturned, and Purim is celebrated.
How is the timing of this feast a time of Joy and celebration for Christians? Well like Haman, the devil wants us all dead. God’s righteous decree that all who sin deserve death, and His decree cannot be overturned, the price was paid by another. That is our celebration, the decree of eternal death is no longer a threat to those of us in Christ, we have been set free.
Just as Purim is a celebration of God’s faithfulness and his promises of the covenant, we too celebrate every time we take of the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim his sacrificial death, his propitiation for us and rejoice in the promise of His grace and mercy.
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. In other words, the very definition of faith calls us to a certainty in the unseen reality lying behind or beyond the events we do see, even when the events are so incompatible with what we would expect given God’s power and presence. Therefore, on what is our certainty to rest, if not on the visible events of history and life? It rests on the explanation God gives us of the unseen reality behind the visible events on God’s Word. We move to certainty only on the basis of God’s Word. While the Jews celebrate Purim in each generation to remember their salvation from sure annihilation, we Christians celebrate Easter for that same reason.
The Resurrection is our promise that God is faithful. It is our celebration of redemption and the certainty of LIFE eternal.
Even though Esther and Mordecai play a prominent role in God’s plan for the Jews, they are in no way perfect in action or motive, they do not qualify for any specific religious office such as priest or prophet. What does this say to those of us who are not in full time ministry? We too can have an impact of God’s plan, we too can be used of God to fulfill his grandest goal, evangelizing the world.