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Sadness to Gladness! | Esther 9:1-32

What a calling Esther had on her life. What a calling you have on your life. God called Esther to be queen. He calls you and I to different roles at different times in our lives to accomplish the purposes that he planned for us long ago. So, be encouraged. God is working in your life and writing an incredible story for you as well.

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It was so much easier when my kids were little to make my special recipe, this chocolate chip pound cake, without them. It was messier with them, but it was also sweeter. It’s a picture of what God does in our lives. He invites us into his plans. He takes ordinary people and he weaves us into His extraordinary plans. Hi, it’s Erica. Welcome to the Bible for Busy People. I feel so privileged to be studying this story with you. God used Queen Esther and her faithful cousin Mordecai, to save the Jewish people from annihilation. He foiled the evil plans that the king’s right hand man had hatched. Now, when the king found out what his evil right hand man had done, he couldn’t reverse the order to kill all the Jewish people, because once you sign something with your signet ring, the plans have to be carried out. But he gave Mordecai his new right hand man, the power to come up with a new plan. And Mordecai sent out messengers alerting the Jews that they were allowed to defend themselves. And so, the date arrived the day Haman, the evil right hand man, had hoped all of the Jews would be annihilated. Of course, Haman has been executed by this point because the king found out about his evil plan and thankfully had a new right hand man in charge, Mordecai. We pick it up in Esther chapter nine, beginning in verse one.

So, on March 7th, the two decrees of the king were put into effect. On that day, the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but quite the opposite happened. It was the Jews who overpowered their enemies. The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the king’s provinces to attack anyone who tried to harm them, but no one could make a stand against them. For everyone was afraid of them. And all the nobles of the provinces, the highest officers, the governors, and the royal officials helped the Jews, for fear of Mordecai. For Mordecai had been promoted in the king’s palace and his fame spread throughout all the provinces as he became more and more powerful. So, the Jews went ahead on the appointed day and struck down their enemies with the sword. They killed and annihilated their enemies and did as they pleased with those who hated them. In the fortress of Susa itself, the Jews killed 500 men. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha, the 10 sons of Haman, son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not take any plunder. That very day when the king was informed of the number of people killed in the fortress of Susa, he called for Queen Esther. He said The Jews have killed 500 men in the fortress of Susa alone as well as Haman’s 10 sons. If they have done that here, what has happened in the rest of the provinces? But now what more do you want? It will be granted to you. Tell me and I will do it. Esther responded, if it please the king, give the Jews and Susa permission to do again tomorrow as they have done today, and let the bodies of Haman’s 10 sons be impaled on a poll. So, the king agreed, and the decree was announced in Susa, and they impaled the bodies of Haman’s 10 sons. Then the Jews at Susa gathered together on March 8th and killed 300 more men. And again, they took no plunder. Meanwhile, the other Jews throughout the king’s provinces had gathered together to defend their lives. They gained relief from all their enemies, killing 75,000 of those who hated them, but they did not take any plunder. This was done throughout the provinces on March 7th, and on March 8th, they rested celebrating their victory with a day of feasting and gladness. So to this day, Royal Jews living in remote villages celebrate an annual festival and holiday on the appointed day in late winter, when they rejoice and send gifts of food to each other.

Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far throughout all the provinces of Xerxes, calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days. He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness, and by giving gifts of food to each other and presence to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.

So the Jews accepted Mordecai’s proposal and adopted this annual custom Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews had plotted to crush and destroy them on the date determined by casting lots. The lots were called purim. But when Esther came before the king, he issued a decree causing Haman’s evil plot to backfire. And Haman and his sons were impaled on a sharpened pole. That is why this celebration is called Purim because it is the ancient word for casting lots.

So because of Mordecai’s letter and because of what they had experienced, the Jews throughout the realm agreed to inaugurate this tradition and to pass it on to their descendants and to all who became Jews. They declared they would never fail to celebrate these two prescribed days at the appointed time each year. These days would be remembered and kept from generation to generation, and celebrated by every family throughout the provinces and cities of the empire. This festival of Purim would never cease to be celebrated among the Jews, nor would the memory of what happened ever die out among their descendants.

Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote another letter putting the queen’s full authority behind Mordecai’s letter to establish the festival of Purim. Letters wishing peace and security were sent to the Jews throughout the 127 provinces of the Empire of Xerxes. These letters established the Festival of Purim, an annual celebration of these days at the appointed time, decreed by both Mordecai, the Jew and Queen Esther. The people decided to observe this festival just as they had decided for themselves and their descendants, to establish the times of fasting and mourning. So the command of Esther confirmed the practices of Purim and it was all written down in the records.

The Jewish people today still celebrate Purim. Stop and meditate on how awesome that is. What a calling Esther had on her life. What a calling you have on your life. God called Esther to be queen. He calls you and I to different roles at different times in our lives to accomplish the purposes that he planned for us long ago. So, be encouraged. God is working in your life and writing an incredible story for you as well. Next time, we’ll read the last three verses in Queen Esther’s story and we’ll celebrate the victory in Psalm 30. Join me next time. Until then, you are loved.

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