Esther 9:18-22 (NKJV) – 18 But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. 19 Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another. 20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, 21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, 22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.
In these verses we see the conclusion of the Jewish people’s defense on their attackers. They are celebrating rest from the attackers, their sorrow turning into joy, and their mourning turning into a holiday.
Celebration and rest are important commands in the Old Testament and encouragements in both the Old and New Testaments that are often overlooked. It is important to work hard but we should also have planned time where we rest in the Lord. Our rest is part the things we need for our physical body but the greater context is our spiritual rest that we have with the Lord. It is also important to take time to celebrate what the Lord has done for us. This can be seen in worship and praise at church, thanking God throughout our daily lives, taking moments to thank God and gather together to celebrate what He has done, etc.
Do you often have scheduled moments of rest? What do these moments look like?
How do you celebrate what the Lord has done in your life?
Esther 10:1-3 (NKJV) – 1 And King Ahasuerus imposed tribute on the land and on the islands of the sea. 2 Now all the acts of his power and his might, and the account of the greatness of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.
Esther concludes with God fulfilling His promise to Israel to bless those who bless His people and curse those who curse His people. The book began with the king showing off his power and greatness and ended with a clear picture of God’s province, control, and power. Even though God was never explicitly mentioned throughout the book He can clearly be seen taking care of His people.
In our lives it is often in the quite moments that God can be seen the clearest. When we are trying to do things on our own, satisfy a worldly desire, or put ourselves first we fall into trouble, like the king did at the beginning of the book. When we quiet our flesh and let God speak, direct our steps, and work, great things happen. Even if we cannot see God in the moment, it is important to remain dependent on Him instead of taking things into our own hands.
How have you seen the consequences of taking things into your own hands and the blessings of patiently waiting on the Lord?
What are your major take aways from the book of Esther?