READING: Esther 6-10
It’s Memorial Day in the United States, a day when we honor Americans who have died in wars in service to our country. Around the country will be local services and ceremonies to remember those who gave their lives that we might be free.
Hence, it’s striking today that we’re reading Esther’s story about the origin of the Feast of Purim — a festival of life, a time for the Hebrews to remember God’s protection from the plot of Haman to destroy them. At the very time they were to be eradicated via Haman’s plan, the Jews instead defeated their enemies; thus, “their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration” (Esther 10: 21). Impending death for the Hebrews became life, and they were to hold tightly to “the memory of these days” through an annual celebration (Esther 10:28).
This ending of the book of Esther is just one of many reversals in this story. For example, Mordecai eventually wore the king’s signet ring that Haman once wore. Mordecai tore his robes in grief at one point but wore royal garments at another. Haman sought to kill Mordecai, but it was Haman who would die ingloriously. An edict to kill Jews became an edict giving the Jews permission to protect themselves against their enemies. And, as we’ve seen, what started out as death for the Hebrews turned to life — and thus, a celebration.
It is right for us today to honor those who died in American wars, and it’s right to be grateful for their sacrifice. We cannot, though, neglect or take for granted an even greater reason to pause today: the Son of God gave His life for us to remove the curse of sin, and we today have eternal life through Him. Now that’s worth celebrating.
- Honor those you knew who have died in war, but don’t miss the opportunity to thank Jesus. He defeated our enemy through His own death.
- Take a few minutes to think about how much God has changed you — that is, how much he’s “reversed” in your life. Thank Him.
PRAYER: “God, I praise You for Your sovereign love and gracious reversals. Turn any sorrow I may have today into joy.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Job 1-4