January 27, 2017

Joyful Relief From the Enemy

Esther 9:18-28

These days of Purim should never fail to be celebrated by the Jews—nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants.

—  Esther 9:28

The Jews had escaped Haman’s plot of destruction. Haman himself had fallen into the hole he had dug for others, and many of his followers were destroyed on the day decreed for the Jews’ annihilation. So the days afterward were celebrated as days of relief from the enemy.

This was not to be just a onetime celebration, however, for the memory of Purim was to continue through the generations. Feasting, joy, gifts of food to one another, and gifts to the poor would mark these days every year. And so it is to this very day among observant Jews.

Christians too observe a time each year when they remember the day the devil plotted Christ’s destruction, and with great joy they celebrate the day of Christ’s victory over God’s ancient enemy. And by Christ’s command they gather regularly at the Lord’s table to remember his gifts of his body and blood, offered so that all who believe in him may live. Week by week and year by year, then, Christians are reminded to be joyful because death no longer has any power.

The Lord’s Supper, Good Friday, and Easter are celebrations of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. And already today Christians begin to enjoy their eternal rest from the enemy as they await the final return of the Lord Jesus.

We praise you, O God, for giving us relief and rest from our enemy. May we faithfully honor you and share this good news every­where. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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