20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
23 So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them. 24 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. 25 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. 26 (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, 27 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. 28 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.
29 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. 30 And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of Xerxes’ kingdom—words of goodwill and assurance— 31 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. 32 Esther’s decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.
Dear God, this is one of those times when it is important that your people “do this in remembrance” of what you have done. It is, after all, so easy to forget.
For example, I was driving to work today thinking about how great all of the rain has been and how green everything looks this deep into July. It’s very unusual. I was telling someone yesterday that I remember this time last year when everything was so, so, so dry and we were desperate for both rain and a break from the heat, and yet the Midwest was getting floods that were bringing the Mississippi River above its banks. Now, we are the ones experiencing high temps in the eighties and low-nineties while they are roasting. Now, we all prayed hard last year for rain. We were desperate. Just a sprinkle would lift our spirits and bring us hope. But are we still coming and worshipping you for what you are doing for us now? Are we REMEMBERING how you have moved and answered our prayers? Do we give you credit for any of this at all?
There are times when we have to set up things in our lives, like Purim, to remind ourselves of your might. We do it with Easter. We do it with Christmas. We even do it with the Lord’s Supper because Jesus administered the supper and then gave a command that the disciples should do this regularly, lest they forget.
Father, you have done so many things for me that I have overlooked. A lot of the time I don’t even see them. You are generous with your love. You are gracious with your provision, both at work and in my personal life. You have kept my children safe. And the truth is, I take nearly all of it for granted. So I know it doesn’t make up for my callousness, but I come to you now and I say thank you. Thank you for what you do that I see, and for what you do that I miss. Please help me to use your blessings to spread your love to others. Help all of us to turn and worship you for all that you do and return to you the glory that you deserve.