Mourning Turns to Joy
15 When Mordecai left the king’s presence, he was wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. 16 For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. 17 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. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.”
(Esther 8:15-17 NIV)
Just 24 hours earlier, Mordecai was a condemned man, marked for death by the powerful official Haman. And now, Haman is dead, and Mordecai controls Haman’s estate and has Haman’s job as Prime Minister of Persia. Truly God is working through His Divine Providence to protect and provide for His own people. God’s promise made to Abraham and all his Jewish descendants long ago was not forgotten:
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
(Genesis 12:3 NIV)
The sight of Mordecai wearing the royal colors of Persia (v. 15), plus the king’s new edict written by Mordecai allowing the Jews to defend themselves (vv. 9-14) were cause for great celebration by Jewish people in Susa (v. 15) and across all of Persia (v. 17).
Haman had proudly breathed out threats against God’s people; Mordecai humbly stood by his promise to serve God and God alone. Once again, the truth of Scriptures rang true:
When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 NIV)
The news of the king’s decree allowing the Jews to defend themselves, as well as Haman’s demise and Mordecai’s promotion quickly spread across Persia. Verses 16 – 17 tells us that the Jewish people rejoiced everywhere the news was proclaimed – it was a time of celebration because the black cloud of death was lifted from over their heads.
The good news also had another effect of spiritual revival across Persia. Verse 17 tells us that many people became Jewish proselytes, converting from their foreign gods to the God of Israel. These people saw the power and awe of God, and chose to follow Him.
Becoming a Jewish proselyte meant even though they were not Jewish by race, they could become a follower of the God of the Jews by willingly submitting themselves to all of God’s Word, His practices, and worship, just as the Jews did.
God had already laid out the process for non-Jewish people to follow Him. All males would have to undergo circumcision (Genesis 17:9-14), and after that, could participate in the Passover (Exodus 12:43-49). They were expected to follow God’s Laws, such as keeping the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11), not blaspheming God’s name (Leviticus 24:13-22), and presenting offerings to the Lord (Numbers 15:14-16NLT).
Truly God’s hand of Divine Providence was evident to all – He kept His Word and made it clear to all His love for His people and anyone who chose to follow Him. And God’s love for those who follow Him continues even to this day.