“The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor.”
– Esther 8:16
What a great verse. What a great description. Picture the scene. God’s people, the Jewish people, had been decreed to be killed. All of the men, women, the children, the king had declared their annihilation. That’s the word he used, and yet God intervened through Mordecai and Esther and they were saved. And here in Esther, chapter eight, we see the fruit of God’s salvation, light, gladness, joy, and honor. What a picture of the God who is able to bring light in darkness, the God who is able to turn suffering into gladness and despair into joy, the God who’s able to turn shame into honor.
Esther 8:16 Reminds Us that We are Heirs of God
Isn’t this the fruit of God’s salvation in each of our lives? We have light, Jesus, the light of the world, in us. And we have gladness and joy, no matter what this world brings us or takes away from us. “We have joy even in suffering,” Romans 5. “Rejoice in the Lord always,” Philippians 4. And we have honor. We’re clothed in the very righteousness of Jesus. We’re heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ. What more honor could we imagine? So, let’s praise God for these things and let’s live as a reflection of these things.
Oh God, we praise you for bringing light, gladness, joy, and honor to your people in Esther 8:16. Then we praise you for bringing light gladness, joy, and honor to us. We too deserve death. We too were on a road that leads to, well, eternal hell and you have saved us. You have brought light to us in this dark world. Jesus, we praise you as the Lord of our lives and the light of all life. We praise you for the gladness and the joy that you have given us that nothing in this world can take away from us.
Esther 8:16 Leads Us to Pray for Those Suffering
Can I pray that over individuals right now who are walking through really hard times? They’re walking through dark days. Pray that you’d bring light to them in the middle of them. God, I pray that you’d bring gladness and joy to them in the middle of them, and all of this honor.
God, we praise you that you have taken this shame and stains of our sin, and you’ve covered them with the blood of Jesus and clothed us in the righteousness of Jesus, and raised us up as co-heirs with him, as citizens in your kingdom and sons and daughters at your table. What an honor, God. Who are we? We praise you for the light, gladness, joy, and honor you have given to us. We pray that you would help us to spread these things to people around us, to peoples around the world.
Praying for the Vinayan People of India
We pray for the Vinayan people of India, 12.8 million of them, God, 0.0% followers of Jesus. So many of them educated politicians and engineers and university professors, administrators. God, we pray that you would bring the light and gladness and joy and honor that are found in Jesus alone. We pray for that, for the spread of the light, gladness, joy, and honor of Jesus around the world through our lives today. God, we pray that you would help us to be a light to those around us, that you would help us to live out of the overflow of your gladness and your joy and the honor you have given to us. All glory be to your name, God, for these fruits of your salvation in our lives.
In Jesus’ name, we pray, in the name of the one who makes all these things possible. Amen.