Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 16 - Joy in Salvation

Esther 9:1-18

The book of Esther has always been a book that I can’t put down. Whenever I start reading it, I find myself finishing it in the same sitting because it is an amazing story. God is not mentioned in the 10 chapters of Esther, but His hand is definitely seen all over it. Currently, I am studying the book of Esther through Beth Moore’s study, Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman. This has been good for me because it has forced me to slow down as I study the book. I am so familiar with the story, so slowing down has allowed me to see new insights that I have missed before. While I am only half way through that study, I am jumping ahead to look at the end of the story. Before you read Esther 9, please let me set the stage.

Some of the Israelites chose to stay in the Persian Empire when Artaxerxes allowed them to go. Esther’s family was a family that lived in Susa, the capital of the Empire. Esther was raised by Mordecai, her cousin. Long story short, the king chose Esther to be his queen. Because the king’s (Xerxes) second hand man (Haman) hated Mordecai and the Jews, Haman arranged to have all the Jews slaughtered. Once again, without telling the whole story, Haman’s plot was exposed and the king gave the Jews permission to fight back. Please read Esther 9:1-18 to see what happened.

Verse 18 says, “The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.” That is something they celebrate to this day; it is the Feast of Purim! Their joy was in their salvation. God had just rescued them from complete eradication. They not only saw salvation, they experience victory over their enemies. We have a salvation from which we receive joy. Our salvation is in the death and resurrection of our dear Savior, Jesus. The grace and mercy that God extended to us through Jesus is greater than anything this world has to offer us. We were condemned to die and instead we have been given eternal life and victory over death! We have an eternal joy and hope!

Psalm 51:12 says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” When the external things in life press in hard, we can turn to God and ask to have the joy of our salvation to be restored. Remember the joy of the Lord is our strength! When we tap into the joy that comes from our salvation, we are strengthened.

Are you joyful about your salvation?

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