“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
This is one of my focus verses for 2014 as I offer a dedicated time to The Lord to prepare for what He has in store for me.
I LOVE the book of Esther! What I love more, is how Scripture can speak in many different ways every time you read it. Recently, I read Esther again and this time it was not the life of Esther that dominated my thoughts…but the life of Haman.
Who is he…?
~ Haman is an Agagite – descended from Agag, king of the Amalekites, ancient enemies of Israel. King Saul had defeated Agag, and Samuel killed him – he didn’t really have much appreciation for the Jews!
~ Right-hand man of King Ahasuerus (Esther’s husband).
~ “All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman” (Est. 3:2) – at the command of King Ahasuerus.
Focused on the negative
Why do we turn our eyes away from what IS happening, and focus on what IS NOT? This was the beginning of the end for Haman. If it wasn’t enough that one man wasn’t obeying the command to bow before him…this one man was a Jew (Est. 3:4). He was Mordecai ~ Esther’s Great Uncle, who had raised her, after her mother and father died ~ descended from Benjamin and he had seated himself at the king’s gate, to be near Esther after she became Queen (Est. 2:21).
Mordecai was faithful and loyal to his God, and rightly refused to bow down to Haman.
“Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God,” Ex. 20:5a
Haman was consumed by his bitterness and hung on to the conflict of his ancestry. He could not contain his anger and set about to put an end to ALL the Jews in the whole kingdom, for the sake of one! He remained focused on the ONE thing he did not have – instead of all he DID have, and it was consuming him. Do we do that? Do we, like Haman, sacrifice all for the sake of one. I know I have certainly had times when I have quit the diet plan when I have one bad day, or quit exercise altogether when I get an injury. One mishap, one slip, one bad day…and we put an end to ALL of our efforts. Or, I eat one cookie, feel defeated, and think ~ “Well, I might as well eat them all now.”
I am studying Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeurst with Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study, and one of the points Lysa makes is we “consume what we think about” (p23) ~ and also the point that Eve was “saturated in the object of her desire” (p23). This was Haman…the object of his desire was gaining Mordecai’s honor and he could not focus on anything else. It consumed him. Lysa also states that “desperation breeds degradation” (p42) – Haman was so desperate to have Mordecai bow down to him, that it led to his degradation.
“He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.” Ps. 7:15-16
Having sent an edict out throughout the land, dictating that ALL Jews were to be annihilated on a particular day (Est. 3:13), and also appearing to have earned the favor of the Queen, Haman was feeling pretty good about himself ~ pride was setting in (5:9). However, despite the apparent good fortunes in his life, he still could not look past the lack of respect from Mordecai ~ it was consuming him. After gaining the praise and recognition of his family ~ he then embraced the idea his wife put forward [I don’t doubt, to try and please Haman], and build gallows to hang Mordecai. He couldn’t even wait to see him put to death on the same day as the rest of the Jews. He had to take immediate action.
Enter God and His redemptive plan! Mordecai is recognized by the King for an earlier act of obedience, which in turn saved the King’s life (6:3). Haman then had to honor Mordecai (6:10-11)! Esther then has an opportunity to bring to light Haman’s plan to kill her people (7:4-6). In a reversal of destiny ~ Haman is hung on the very gallows he built to kill Mordecai (7:10), leaving Mordecai to be advanced to the high position as the King’s second in command (10:3).
Will I allow myself to become completely fixated on something to the point of it being my downfall? Will I continue to live as a glutton ~ consuming and overindulging my mind in what is unhealthy, to the point that it becomes the end of me? Will I continue to build my own gallows of unhealthy choices, only to be hung on them? Or will I break free from the chains that bind me to those gallows and reverse my destiny, striving towards the goal that Christ has for me, instead of the gallows I build.
“Brick by brick, I imagined myself dismantling the food tower and using those same bricks to build a walkway of prayer, paving the way to victory.” ~ Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave. I am going to break down those gallows and pave my way to victory.
Whether your gallows are built with food, cigarettes, alcohol, money…I pray that you wouldn’t hang yourself on them, but break them down with the strength of the Lord, and be advanced to the high place He has reserved for you, so that you might be able to say: “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Eph. 3:20
“Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:7-12