December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies. The couriers, riding the royal horses, went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa.”—Esther 8:11–14 (NIV)
Have you ever played Uno before? Uno has to be one of my favorite games to play! Whenever I play with friends or family, I always introduce them to the way I learned to play in college. We call it “Spicy Uno” and add a bunch of extra rules that make it more challenging and exciting. For example, when a player puts down a 6, everyone needs to slap the deck and the last person to slap gets a card. When a player puts down a 2, everyone needs to rotate their cards to the left. When a player puts down a 7, everyone must remain silent, and if someone talks, they get the amount of cards as words they spoke. The silence remains in effect until another 7 is played . . . and those are just a few of the rules! The reason I bring up Uno, though, is because today’s Scripture reminds me of the reverse card.
In Uno, there’s a card you can play that reverses the direction of the game. In the story of Esther, there’s a problem with the king’s edict against the Jews, it cannot be reversed. The solution to the first problem King Xerxes deals with after Esther confronts him about the edict is to punish Haman for his actions. Once this is done, Esther pleads yet again for something to be done about the edict, although it technically could not be reversed. Another solution would have to be implemented, so the king decides to pass another edict and gives Mordecai full authority to write it for the protection of the Jews. This edict essentially granted the Jews the ability to assemble and fight back on the day that others would be allowed to attack and kill them.
The Jews not only had a fair opportunity in the fight, but this new edict also worked to ward off people from actually attacking the Jews. This meant that the ones who did attack on that day were truly evil and hateful towards the Jewish people, and the Lord would make this an opportunity for justice to be served to those who did attack them. What I love about this passage is that it reminds us of God’s just character. He always makes a way for His people to be rescued while also bringing justice where it’s due. He holds both justice and mercy equally in His hands, and that’s how we see Him act all through the Scriptures.
After observing today’s passage, there are some key takeaways for us as believers in the present world. We can walk in freedom today because God has eternally rescued us from the grip of sin and death through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Now, the only battle we have left to fight is that against the flesh and the enemy. We fight from a place of freedom with the victorious One on our side! We fight with the truth of God’s Word, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the community of believers. We fight for the gospel to prevail, to overflow with God’s love to everyone around us, and for more people to join His family. Will you take on this mission?
Pause: Read Isaiah 61:1–3. How is God on a rescue mission? What does that mean for you personally, and how is He inviting you to join Him in this mission?
Practice: Praise God today for His devotion to rescuing us from the chains of sin. Make an effort to take part in His mission by sharing this good news or serving the needs of someone around you.
Pray: Lord, You are righteous and holy! I’m in awe of Your faithfulness and majesty today. Thank You for being just and merciful all at once. Thank You for being our Rescuer and Redeemer. I want to live in light of this truth that You have rescued me and now I get to walk in freedom and invite others into that freedom as well. Give me the eyes to see who I can serve today and the strength to fight the attacks of the enemy with Your Word. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.