So the king and Haman went to dinner with Queen Esther. At this second dinner, while they were drinking wine the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what would you like? Half of my kingdom! Just ask and it’s yours.” Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your eyes, O King, and if it please the king, give me my life, and give my people their lives. “We’ve been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed – sold to be massacred, eliminated. If we had just been sold off into slavery, I wouldn’t even have brought it up; our troubles wouldn’t have been worth bothering the king over.” King Xerxes exploded, “Who? Where is he? This is monstrous!” “An enemy. An adversary. This evil Haman,” said Esther. Haman was terror-stricken before the king and queen.
The king, raging, left his wine and stalked out into the palace garden. Haman stood there pleading with Queen Esther for his life – he could see that the king was finished with him and that he was doomed. As the king came back from the palace garden into the banquet hall, Haman was groveling at the couch on which Esther reclined. The king roared out, “Will he even molest the queen while I’m just around the corner?” When that word left the king’s mouth, all the blood drained from Haman’s face. Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, spoke up: “Look over there! There’s the gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai, who saved the king’s life. It’s right next to Haman’s house seventy-five feet high!” The king said, “Hang him on it!” So Haman was hanged on the very gallows that he had built for Mordecai. And the king’s hot anger cooled.
The Book of Esther – Chapter 7
Seven Things God Hates
Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
I invite you to embrace this truth from Scripture:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 NIV
In light of this truth I read the Book of Esther; of the Godly Mordecai and the beautiful and clever heroine, the book’s namesake. And lest the story is too vanilla for our taste, thrown into the mix is the evil, scheming antagonist: Haman.
Haman is a despicable person. He’s broken by both his character and by tribal heritage. The Warren W. Wiersbe Bible Commentary explains that Haman was an Amalekite (1 Samuel 15:8). God declared war on the opportunistic Amalekites because they attacked God’s weary people in the rear ranks (so shady!) of the marching nation as they left Egypt (Exodus 17:8-15). God ordered Moses to write this down…God was officially declaring war on the Amalekites and God promised that He would one day destroy them. Saul, the first king of Israel, was the man God chose to destroy the Amalekites, but Saul failed and as a result, Saul lost his crown (1 Samuel 15). King Saul didn’t fully obey the Lord (I guess he knew better…that never happens to me!) and spared some Amalekites. Those that lived and thrived…you guessed it…were the predecessors of our antagonist Haman. Reminder: God uses both the good and the evil to accomplish His perfect plan.
So there’s a lot of hatred built up in Haman’s ancestral line. As a result, Haman is absolutely determined to annihilate the Jews. More of my nerdy facts…King Saul, a Benjamite, failed to destroy the Amalekites, but Mordecai, also a Benjamite (Esther 2:5), took up the battle where Saul left off and defeated Haman. The founder of the Amalekites was a descendant of Esau (Genesis 36:12), and Esau was the enemy of his brother Jacob. I love what Wiersbe calls all of this—another stage in the age-old conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, Satan and the Lord, the way of faith and the way of the world. Reminder: The battle between good and evil continues, but you can be confident that the victory belongs to the Lord.
Now think of what you’ve read about Haman and look back at Proverbs 6:6-19. These verses spell out seven things God hates…and Haman ticks every one of the seven boxes. Before I judge…Haman or anyone…I must ask myself, “How many of the boxes do I tick?” As followers of Jesus, we are continually checking our hearts to be sure that we are not allowing these attitudes to insidiously creep into our hearts or minds. We must keep our emotions in check and read God’s Word daily to firmly ground ourselves in His truth and allow Him to point out our failings. The world’s truth simply will not do! When I confess, His mercies are new every morning and believe me, I need those new mercies…every…single…morning!
Case in point: As I was working on this devotional I had to pray hard about forgiving someone I believed had wronged me by not talking to me directly, but instead posting about me on social media. After praying and telling God all about it (and at some points, I was telling him about it loudly) I felt God telling my heart that confronting the person would only make the situation worse. Over the course of the week, God worked on my skewed heart to put me back right so I could feel peaceful about the whole thing and just let it go. What God used to ultimately put me right was a serendipitous encounter with this quote from a Wisdom Hunters devotional…When I pray for people hard to love, it’s hard not to love them. Love sees Jesus in others.
The book of Esther reminded me, yet again, that God has everything and everyone firmly under His almighty control. Haman and his schemes? No problem for God. Me and my wounded ego and feelings that I had been unfairly maligned? Also, no problem for God.
And not to beat this into the ground, but I am so often reminded to check my heart. Have I in any way displeased the God that loves me like crazy, yet disciplines me as a loving father? Have I acted in a way that is arrogant? Have I said or done something thoughtlessly that has caused trouble? Sisters, I fully admit that I am really, really broken. I am seriously not fit to judge anyone.
Isn’t it amazing how God uses the smallest upsets in our lives to remind us of His larger plan? This incident where I had no control brought me to that place of understanding yet again, that only God is in control. I need to continually check my heart and my motivations. God’s way is always the right way. Esther understood that. Mordecai understood that. Even the terrible Haman came to a total and truly terrible understanding of that!
I must rely on God’s Word from Psalms—The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. I myself continually pray that…these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
I love and adore you and your precious Words of Truth. Please enable me to be comfortable with the fact that I am not in control…of anything! Show me how to choose joy in a broken world where I very often am the most broken person of all. Help me to pray for those who are difficult to love, following your great command to love others well. Teach me to examine my heart and check my emotions so that in all ways You are pleased me with me. Also, don’t ever let me forget that when I do fall down, You are quick to forgive me and grant me mercy. I humbly pray all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, always mindful that You gave up your perfect son so that I may enjoy an eternity of worshiping You. Amen.
I can’t recommend Wisdom Hunters daily devotional highly enough. It’s free and it will come to your email inbox daily. Click here to sign up: Wisdom Hunters And I wouldn’t dream of leaving you without worship music. Here is one of my personal favorites: Shane & Shane Psalm 46 And just one more, because I do love some good gospel worship music…Psalm 34 – Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Enjoy.
Today’s post was written by Cindy Koopmans.
Cindy is married to her college sweetheart, Brian, for 39 years. She has three grown boys, two sweet daughters-in-law and a gorgeous little grand-man named Oliver Brian. Cindy teaches fifth grade at Sorrento Elementary and serves at the Mount Dora campus as their Worship Coordinator. Cindy’s passion is music, so her happy place is on the keyboard. She also enjoys reading (so many books, so little time), thrifting, and hanging out with Kramer the wonder Bichon. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life Mount Dora campus.