December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction. But when the plot came to the king’s attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be impaled on poles. (Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word pur.) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, the Jews took it on themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And 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. So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance—to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation. Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.”—Esther 9:23–32 (NIV)
Purim was one of many Old Testament feasts given to God’s people to remind them of a specific work of God: how He used two ordinary people, Esther & Mordecai, to bring deliverance to His covenant people. These yearly liturgical meals helped shape the hearts and minds of God’s people so they would never forget the hand and love of God. Purim was a reminder that “the lot, or destiny, of God’s people would not be decided by Haman’s casting of lots before his gods. Only Yahweh determines the roll of the lot, and only Yahweh determines the lot of his people” (Esther by Karen Jobes).
I don’t consider myself much of a foodie, but there’s one food item I look forward to every year—Costco’s pumpkin pie. It tastes great, it’s cheap, and it’s gigantic. I know that when Costco puts out their pumpkin pie, college football is about to begin (Go Gators), cold fronts are just a couple weeks away, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It’s a visual and physical reminder that my favorite time of the year is here.
All throughout the Scriptures, we see God’s people celebrate His work through special feasts and celebrations. We see this even in every covenant God makes with His people as there’s always an annual feast to remind them of God’s covenantal work in their lives. These feasts helped shape the hearts and minds of God’s people so they would never forget the hand of God and His faithfulness throughout the generations.
The feasts in the Old Testament were meant to shape our hearts and remind us of God’s love and faithfulness. These feasts were vital to the discipleship of God’s people. As they would partake year after year, the roots of their faith would grow deeper and deeper—and a deeply rooted, sturdy faith is the kind of faith that can persevere through doubt, pain, struggle, and grief.
The goal of Purim was to remind the people of God that no matter what pain, struggle, or difficulty would come their way, the God who brought deliverance in the past will bring deliverance in the future.
The reason Christians don’t celebrate these feasts today isn’t because they’re old or outdated, but because we’re under a new covenant in Jesus—and this new covenant is the ultimate culmination of all Old Testament covenants (Hebrews 12:24). Just like God’s people in the Old Testament, we’re also given a feast as a sign of our new covenant, and that feast is called the Lord’s Supper, also known as communion (1 Corinthians 11:25).
The Lord’s Supper is a meal that reminds us of what Christ has done on our behalf and also points to the future, when one day Christ will come to make all things new (1 Corinthians 11:26). Communion reminds us of God’s faithfulness in Christ through all generations. And just like the Old Testament feasts, as we regularly partake in communion, our souls are nourished and our faith is strengthened. This meal builds in us both perseverance and hope, as we eagerly await a time where we can dine with our King when His kingdom fully comes on earth as it is in heaven (Isaiah 25:6–8; Revelation 19:6–9).
Pause: When you think about the story of your life, what are the ways God has delivered you? What work has He done in your life that’s worth celebrating?
Practice: Consider setting a daily or weekly reminder in your calendar to remember God’s work in your life. What miracles have you seen in your life? What radical acts of provision or mercy have you experienced? Reminding yourself of these things on a regular basis will transform your faith into a deeply rooted faith.
Pray: Lord, when I think about the way You’ve been faithful, the way You’ve demonstrated Your power and strength, I pause. Who am I that You would be mindful of me; that You would work all things for my good? Remind my heart of Your works and of all the ways You’ve been kind to me. “Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee” (taken from the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”).
Jimmy Purchase serves as the Groups Development Director at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Church Planting from Capital Seminary & Graduate School. He has been in full-time ministry since 2006, has helped plant two churches, and is passionate about seeing South Florida changed by the gospel of Jesus. Jimmy and his wife, Erin, have been married since 2008 and have three children.