“Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!”
1 Chronicles 16:10
As we enter into the month of Adar, we are reminded to increase our joy no matter what situation we find ourselves in. For the Jewish people, this month is centered around the book of Esther and the great celebration of Purim. The word ‘Purim’ means ‘lots’ and it is the celebration of how God turned the coming destruction into a time of joy and celebration!
“On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.” - Esther 9:1
In the book of Esther, evil and wickedness are expressed through Haman and his orders to kill the Jewish people. With a terrifying sentence of extermination, the Jews found themselves in a place of fear and without joy. However, when Esther approached the king on behalf of her people, she moved the heart of the king to write a new decree. This new ruling permitted the Jews to defend themselves against the attack of their enemies. Just in receiving this new decree, the Jews were filled with joy!
“For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating…” - Esther 8:16-17
However, what is extraordinary about their joy at that moment is that they were choosing to rejoice in the Lord even before they received the victory of the battle that still awaited them. Their enemy still hated them and was determined to destroy them. And the Jews still had to face their enemies, fight against them, and destroy them. Yet, they chose to rejoice in the Lord because they fully believed that God was with them.
So, as we approach this new month of Adar, how do we also choose to rejoice in the Lord, even in the midst of great suffering or persecution? First of all, we have to know that God is with us. Secondly, we need to receive the fruit of the Holy Spirit in the deep places of our hearts and minds. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit are we able to express genuine joy in the midst of very challenging situations.
And thirdly, we need to give thanks to the Lord for everything! There is a great connection between gratitude and joy. When we give thanks to God, genuine joy begins to fill our hearts and strengthens us in faith, security, and fearlessness.
There are many verses in the Bible that instruct us to ‘rejoice’, ‘be glad’, and ‘joy’. There are also many Hebrew words that refer to joy in the scriptures: ‘simcha’, ‘ditza’, ‘sasson’, ‘tzahala’, ‘rina’, ‘gilah’, ’hodaya’, and more. The word of God highlights just how important it is to rejoice in the Lord throughout our journey of faith here on this earth.
Joy is living in faith without worry and without fear. Joy is fixing our eyes on Yeshua in the midst of our pain. Joy is a grateful heart.
From all of our staff at VFI, we pray that you have a joy-filled holiday as you celebrate Purim!
Chag Purim Same’ach! Happy Purim!