Friday, April 29, 2016

The Hatred of Haman

                The Hatred of Haman
                                     Esther 7:1-10

Haman has plotted against the Jewish people and become a prideful man with plans to murder Mordecai. But man’s plans are not always God’s plans.  Haman’s scheme will soon be put to an end. Esther planned a second banquet and was expecting the king and Haman to attend. The king asks again what is Esther’s desire or request. The king would give Esther half his kingdom to know her wishes. Esther begins with a plea, “... For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish.” The king is astounded at this news and wants to know who is responsible for this plan. Esther answers, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.”

Can you imagine Haman choking on his food when Queen Esther accused him of being the one who plotted against her people?  The Bible says, “Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.” Haman, realized the king was furious when he left the room. Haman stood up to plead before Queen Esther to spare his life. The irony of Haman’s plot is contrary to what he expected–– the outcome was deadly. The king will order Haman to be hanged upon the gallows that he, Haman, had expected to hang Mordecai upon.

Do we ourselves desire circumstances that would harm or injure someone we are angry with? Have we plotted and planned how we will take care of this matter even down to the final detail? My friend, I pray you will consider the consequences that Haman endured and seek to forgive rather than punish. Hatred in the heart of man is murder according to 1 John 3:15, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” Seeking revenge and not allowing God to work all things out for His glory and for your good is robbing God of His responsibility and right as an All-Powerful and All-Sufficient God.

Lord,  I repent of any hatred in my heart against another.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Seeking Self-Satisfaction

                                                                                                      Seeking Self-Satisfaction
                              Esther 6:1-9

After the banquet with Queen Esther and Haman, King Ahasuerus could not sleep and sent for the book of records to be read before him. Do you think it was a coincidence that the king couldn’t sleep, or was it the providence of God? “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). God, in His sovereignty, overrules the intentions of men to fulfill His purposes. Sometimes, God, accomplishes His greatest work in the hearts of men in the middle of the night, while they lay upon their beds.

Mordecai had gone unrewarded for saving the life of the king–––not a good reflection of the kings character. Haman, on the other hand, was up all night planning and plotting to have Mordecai hanged. Haman came to the palace early that morning and the king, hoping someone would be in court early, immediately summonsed Haman to come into his presence––an unexpected privilege. Haman had only one thing on his mind that day, it was to hang Mordecai.

The king also had a single interest on his heart; Mordecai had not been properly honored and he wanted to make this right. A question was presented to Haman, “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?” Haman lays out in detail every honor he would be delighted to receive publicly. The fact that Haman was able to make such a list of honors to give to the king immediately, suggests that he must have been thinking about them, if ever he were asked.

Haman never divulged his hatred for Mordecai to the king or that the decree against the Jews was directed towards Mordecai. He was blinded by his pride and sought what would satisfy him most. As Christians, we are to seek the things above, where Christ is, and not the pleasures and self-satisfactions of this world. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2).

Lord, may I set my mind and expressions of love on You.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Arrogance and Anger

                           Arrogance and Anger

                                  Esther 5:9-14
"Then went Haman forth that day...but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai..."

Haman has been honored unexpectedly by the queen to be present at a private dinner planned exclusively for him and the king. His spirits are high, and he has left the palace joyous over the special banquet he attended. Haman didn’t get far when he was again confronted with the presence of Mordecai, seated at the king’s gate. As Haman entered the area, Mordecai didn’t stand up or move for him in any way. Though Haman did not react to Mordecai’s unfavorable response to him, he did later allow his heart to be enraged with anger against him.

Haman returned to his house where friends gathered to hear about his personal celebration with the king and queen. Pride has overtaken Haman’s heart causing him to have a critical attitude  and animosity towards Mordecai. "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts" (Psalm 10:4).  Haman allows his wife and friends to raise his confidence in the unlawful premeditated killing of Mordecai. They suggested, “Return to the king tomorrow and request Mordecai be hanged on the gallows.” The plan devised in absolute pride and self-gratification, brought Haman considerable satisfaction.

The sin of pride encompassed Haman like a heavy chain and violence covered him like a weighty cloak (Psalm 73:6).  Haman’s life does not prove him to be a believer, but according to scripture, he was acting out his true character, the fallen nature of man. “... There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God...” (Psalm 3:10-18). The sin of pride is inevitable in those who do not know Christ, but to the believer, the sin of pride can be forgiven, and forsaken.

Lord, may I walk in humility and newness of life in Christ, repenting of the sin of pride.

Friday, April 8, 2016

God's in Control

                     God’s in Control
                                      Esther 5:1-8

The time has come for Esther to approach the king with uncertainty and the threat of death looming over her. The preparation and planning of this moment was of the utmost importance and Esther took every precaution to fulfill court protocol. Esther now stands before the king seated upon the throne. He peers through the columns of the royal palace and sees Esther in all of her beauty and fine apparel. What will be his response? Will he give acceptance to come forward or will he deny her the right to approach him? The scene is dramatic and gripping as the king extends his golden scepter to Esther. This indicated acceptance and that she may step forward to touch the tip of the scepter.

The king must have been surprised at Esther’s unannounced appearance and thought that her request had to be an urgent one to reveal herself before him unexpectedly. The king’s response to her is in the form a question, “What is thy request?” and then declares, “It shall be even given to thee to the half of the kingdom.” Esther summons the king and Haman to a banquet she has prepared for them on this day. Esther’s plan is to accuse Haman of plotting against her and her people in a conspiracy to destroy them yet, Haman is unaware of her intentions.

God was certainly in control of the entire situation and He used Esther’s bold faith, beauty and bravery to approach the king. She acted in great confidence in the most difficult challenge of her life. God gives us the same ability to face any trial with the same strength. She fasted and prayed––watched and waited and then with great courage, took a course of action only God could design. Are you willing to allow God to direct your path in life? He has all power, is all knowing, and sees everything––who best to fashion and establish your life to His honor and glory.

Lord, I trust in You to control and design the course of my life.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Refuse the King?

                  Refuse the King?

                                Esther 1:10-22  
...when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded...the seven chamberlains...  bring Vashti the queen before the shew the people...her beauty, for she was fair to look on.

The banquet hall at Shushan the palace was impressively beautiful. The King provided food at this banquet which was delightful and extravagant along with the over abundance of wine to be indulged. When the king’s heart was merry with much wine, he requested the presence of Queen Vashti (his most beautiful and prized possession) to come before his guests to show her beauty; “for she was fair to look on.” Queen Vashti, for some reason we do not know, refused to obey the command of the king. The queen’s disregard for King Ahasuerus’ authority made him very angry with her.

Usually, Persian queens ate at the king’s table; but, Queen Vashti was having her own banquet for the women of the kingdom and must have feared this drunken group. Nonetheless, she did go against the request of the king of Persia and in doing so, brought judgment upon herself. The queen’s conduct would be used as an example to all women that none would repeat such defiance especially when it came to the king and his seven princes in counsel. The Law of the Medes and Persians could not be reversed or repealed, therefore, Queen Vashti would no longer be allowed to come before the king.

Much speculation has been given why Queen Vashti defied her husband. Although we cannot condone a wife’s unwillingness to be submissive to her husband, it is fair to to say, we can understand her unwillingness with regards to the drunken state of her husband and those in his presence. All seems quite unfair for Queen Vashti, but God, in His providential care, used this difficult plan to move in the heart of the king and change the course of history for the Jewish people.

Lord,  may I be mindful of Your divine foresight in my life and Your constant care for me.