As we close out the book of Esther, we learn to remember what God has done and celebrate life. While "God" is never mentioned in this book, He has been the one who brought everything into place.
A. I don’t know about you but I like to be happy better than being sad. I like to celebrate with joy more than weep and morn. Interestingly, I find this law at work within me, “I am naturally more content in the mundane than I am looking for something to celebrate.” Sometimes I have to learn to see beyond my own self-defeat and celebrate what God is doing.
B. We serve a God of celebration. He celebrates you and me. Zeph 3:17. Don’t you just love that verse? God rejoices over you with singing. God celebrates. When Jesus tells the story of the lost sheep and the lost coin, he talks about God rejoicing over the sinner who comes to repentance.
C. Satan is called the “prince” of demons and the “prince” of the power of the air, but God is called King of kings and Lord of Lord. And let me remind you a King is greater than a prince, and God is greater than Satan. I celebrate the power of God at work, even when I am afraid.
I. Feast of Purim
A. There is a holiday that is celebrated in our world today that is characterized by great joy and celebration, a festival rich with spiritual meaning, rest from work, feasting, exchanging gifts, and giving to the poor. What holiday am I talking about? Most of you are thinking about Christmas, but the one I’m describing for you is the Feast of Purim that is talked about in our text this morning, initiated by Esther and Mordecai, allowed by God, and still celebrated by Jews around the world today.
B. Esther 8-9 is about the salvation of the Jews from the wicked scheme of Haman. Upon Haman’s death, Mordecai is put in his place. While the king could not repeal the law that allowed the destruction of the Jews, he could allow the Jews to defend themselves. With that new law came deliverance for the Jews. No longer would they face annihilation.
C. Esther 8:15-17. In those days the Jews not only defended themselves, but defeated those who hated them. When the two days were done the Jews were victorious. They celebrated a new feast. Not just the three that the Law of Moses taught, but added a new feast to remember; the Feast of Purim or what it means, “The feast of lots.” The point of the feast was a time to remember and celebrate.
D. This morning we will look at a few lessons we can learn as we close out the story found in the book of Esther.
II. Our Story
A. The story we find in the pages of Esther is our story being told over and over again throughout history. It is the story our own lives, the story of local churches, the story families, all finding in common the pain brought upon them from outside sources and the deliverance that comes from God.
B. Unless I see me in this story, I will find myself content with the mundane and lacking celebration and victory. God’s people will always have enemies. Listen to 1 Pet. 1:3-9.
C. The life of a child of God must have celebration in it. From the opening pages of Genesis to the close pages of Revelation, God’s people have withstood enemies both great and small. Recently a church building was taken over in an eastern Ukrainian city less than 24 hours after seven students graduated from the Bible Institutes that meets there. The news article reads, “Armed men seized a building used by a Church of Christ and a ministry training school in the eastern Ukrainian city of Gorlovka during Sunday morning worship. The men, who call themselves soldiers of the Russian Federation, interrupted the worship service “and demanded we leave,” said a member of the Central Church of Christ, which meets in the building. “After much negotiation, we were given two hours to remove contents from the building that we wanted, and (they told us that) the rest would be destroyed.”
D. But those Christians still meet, not at that building, but continue to spread the word of God to pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian alike. God’s people face enemies, but we are not defeated. The prince of this world (Satan) will be destroyed by the King of all worlds. That is worth remembering and celebrating.
III. Come and See, Come and Hear
A. I want to continue this thought of celebration of remembering by taking you to Ps. 66. It is one of my favorites. Listen to how it opens (verses 1-4). Then in verse 5 David says, “Come and see what God has done.” In verse 16, he says, “Come and hear all you who fear the God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.” In between those verses are these words (vs 8-12).
B. The feast of Purim was about remember the deliverance and years early David was also remembering a personal deliverance. Centuries later Paul would write, “We are afflicted but not crushed, perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
C. What is the victory that overcomes the world? Our faith. I believe in then of the Son of God. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, rose up from the dead on the third day never to die again is at the right hand of the throne interceding for me. I believe that his grace reaches a sinner like me, and my response to his love accepted that forgiveness and my sins were washed away in the waters of baptism never to be brought up before God again. Come and see! Come and hear what the Lord God has done for me.
A. Christians should the most celebratory people in this world. We have been saved and heading to home in glory. The enemies of this world can kill the body but not the soul. The feast of Purim my remind the Jews of the deliverance by God in the days of Esther, but the old rugged cross and the empty tomb will forever remind me of the deliverance by God of me. In that great gettin’ up morning, God will find me shouting praise to His holy name.
B. Make today the day of remembrance of the deliverance God has given to you spiritually. If your life is still facing enemies, don’t feel bad others appear to have more joy. Let me remind you, that deliverance is not always seen the way we desire. But God has given you the victory, even if now you feel like you still in the battle. Today is a day of celebration. As a Christians you and I can say, “I’ve been redeemed and I am heading home.”