January 24, 2014
READ: Esther 9:20-32
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 (v.28).
My wife and I recently checked out the Titanic exhibit at our local museum. As we walked among the artifacts, watched videos and viewed photos, the events of 15 April 1912—the day the Titanic sank—became real to us. One particularly moving account involved an older woman and her husband. When Ida Straus was asked to board a lifeboat with other women, leaving her husband behind, she refused. “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die—together,” she said. They were last seen standing on deck arm in arm, awaiting the ship’s descent into the deep.
The courage of Ida Straus will continue to be remembered, as will the lesson of what God did for His people in the book of Esther. A man named Haman plotted the death of all Jewish people. But after the truth was revealed about the evil Haman (Esther 7:3-10), Mordecai and Queen Esther, his young cousin, were honoured by King Xerxes. What’s more, the Jews—Mordecai and Esther’s people—were spared imminent death as the king intervened with an empowering decree (8:11).
In this amazing account of reversal, God’s sovereign power can be clearly seen. God gave the Jewish people victory over their enemies during a two day period and they responded by instituting the Festival of Purim—celebrated annually (9:16-17, 26). Mordecai “told them to celebrate those days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies” (v.22).
When we remember what God has done—in ancient days as well as during our own—it deepens our faith and helps us pass through the dark waters with courage. Remember. —Tom Felten
Read Psalm 103:1-12 and see what it says about remembering God.
What are some things God has done in the past that you can celebrate today? What happens to our faith when we remember the amazing things God has done?