The Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.
“Obligation” is a fairly unfashionable word in contemporary Western culture. People commonly say things like “I don’t want to make you feel obligated in any way.” But obligation is often necessary and good. I want to be obligated to my wife entirely, and I want her to be obligated to me. When my children were young, I wanted them to be obligated to me in terms of respecting my parental authority. And in fact, the obligations that extend throughout interpersonal relationships are first of all obligations to God Himself.
After being rescued from destruction at the hand of Haman, the Jews “firmly obligated themselves” to the task of remembrance. They were not half-heartedly committing to observing their new tradition, only keeping it if it was convenient for them when the time came. They were definitely going to follow through. That’s the nature of duty.
The Jews not only committed themselves but also obligated their children and “all who joined them.” They made this a comprehensive commitment throughout all locations and every generation. And 2,500 years later, the tradition of Purim still goes on. Jewish communities throughout the world continue to celebrate the feast because of the obligation these people made never to allow the generations that followed to forget God’s intervention on their behalf in Esther’s time and through Esther’s bravery.
Our culture tells us that we don’t need to obligate ourselves to anyone or anything, that we can just live for ourselves in the here and now, and that most commitments can be rethought in future if we feel they are inconvenient or unsustainable. But in the kingdom of God, obligation matters. After all, God has obligated Himself to save and keep His people. What you commit to and hold to speaks of what matters most to you. So, commit yourself to the celebration of the gospel, including partaking in those great moments that God has given us to remember what He has done for us: the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. And, so far as you are able, ensure that these things pass from one generation to the next. Even if Christ has not yet returned a thousand years from now, there will be those who know and stand for the gospel because of the obligation we have made in our generation.
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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.