Friday, February 23, 2018

Brilliant Evil





All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor. Esther 3:2

God is as purposeful in what He doesn’t reveal in His Word as in what He does. He doesn’t tell us why Mordecai refused to bow. He may have concluded that the king was asking them to worship Haman. If that were the case, kneeling would have been idolatrous. Mordecai knew Haman’s heritage and probably saw through his clever conniving and slick exterior into the malice rumbling below the surface.

Refusing to Bow

In Genesis 39:2-10, we see that, like Mordecai, Joseph also refused to do what someone in a powerful position insisted upon. The Hebrew wording describing how Potiphar’s wife “spoke to Joseph day after day” but “he refused” is strikingly similar to Esther 3:4: “Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Satan has a theory that he’s banked his entire accuser’s career on: Even the strong grow weak.

Joseph’s made-up mind was stronger than his mood. Likewise, the sight of Haman didn’t just hit Mordecai the wrong way one day when he was feeling so contentious that he bucked the system and refused to bow. Even on the days when buckling his knees would have seemed easier than being harassed, Mordecai’s made-up mind was stronger than his mood.

My beloved sister, may God be allowed to work such steadfastness of mind that “the bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days” (Deut. 33:25). Let’s pray for each other.

Esther 3:5 states that Haman was enraged when Mordecai refused to bow. “The Hebrew word hamah (anger) is a very strong term referring to ‘an inner and emotional heat which rises and is fanned to varying degrees’ – to ‘a burning and consuming wrath.’ Within the Book of Esther the term is used six times four times of the king (1:12, 2:1, 7:7,10) and twice with Haman (3:5; 5:9). Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us we are not to let the sun go down on our anger. We are to resolve issues quickly.

Regardless of planning or lot casting (Esther 3:7-8), all things pertaining to God’s people are marked on His calendar. Haman launched psychological weapons against the Jews and we find ourselves in the crosshairs of the same weapon in the hands of our enemy who is trying to get back at God by attacking us. Because Satan has a limited leash where believers are concerned, his most powerful tactics a psychological. Though he can’t possess our minds, he profoundly and destructively influence our thoughts.

The Jews in the Esther story, so far from Jerusalem and so at home in Persia, didn’t know if God was with them or not. God in 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” God always wins, Satan can’t win and you can’t lose.

God always trumps Satan. Never picture the two of them as equal but opposite authorities. Every hope and every victory the enemy thinks he has is maddeningly thwarted at the perfect time.

Let’s look at verse 12: “The edict was written on the thirteenth day of Nisan, so it began to be distributed on the fourteenth.” From a divine perspective, this was no coincidence. We have no idea how many of the seven annual feats of Judaism were observed among the exiles of Persia. Of this we can be confident, however, if they celebrated only one, it was undoubtedly Passover.

Picture this: the edict hit the provinces of Persia on exactly the day observing Jewish households were preparing their tables for Passover. The news swept across the cities and villages like wildfire. What was meant to be a commemoration of a past event suddenly turned into a concert of imminent need. Decades earlier the Persian Jews had chosen not to take advantage of their deliverance under the decree of Cyrus and their permission to return to Jerusalem. They decided they liked Persian life and stayed put. Then came Haman. Maybe that’s one reason God allows “Hamans” to come along in life – so we’ll quit being so comfortable and at home here.

Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews, has written into Persian law the edict that all the peoples of the empire are to be ready to destroy, slay and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, women and children, and to seize their goods as plunder, on one day, the thirteenth of the twelfth month, the month of Adar (verses 12-15). Public violence, murder and pillage are to be unleashed to provide vengeance to Haman’s wounded pride. Nothing is more frightening than a seared conscience. Given the power of Haman’s position and the irrevocability of Persian law, the doom of the Jews seems sealed. Or is it? One of the major characters of our story has not appeared in this tragic act by even the most veiled or subtle allusion. Yet, unbeknownst to Haman of the King, a member of this seemingly doomed race, now occupies incognito, the chair of the Queen of Persia. But what can one woman do, however highly placed, in the face of such odds?

What can one woman do? Perhaps you’ve been asking the same question in your own life.

We’ll explore that in the coming chapters. So stick around!

Be Blessed!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Refuse to Compromise






Refusing the Smallest Compromise

Click here for link to video – Haman’s Plot. A little historical overview of Haman the Agagite.

Refuse even the smallest compromise in what you believe – that’s what Modecai did.

Modecai wasn’t going to bend – not one bit – when Haman, the newly appointed prime minister of Persia, demanded a show of reverence bordering on worship (Esther 3:12). When the palace officials asked Modecai why he refused to reverence the prime minister, he told them he was a Jew. And what difference did that make? The Lord Himself had said, “You shall have no other gods before Me…You shall not bow down to them not to serve them” (Exodus 20:3, 5). Day after day these men tried to “talk some sense” into Modecai; didn’t Haman have the authority to execute him for his insolence?

Haman, in his arrogance and pride, decided not to challenge Modecai directly, but to wipe out his whole race. In a plot eerily similar to the one carried out many centuries later in Nazi Germany, Haman decreed that Modecai’s people, the Jews, should be exterminated.

Modecai paled at the news. Still he held steadfastly to his refusal to dishonor his God by bowing before a mere man. In the end, through a twist utterly characteristic of the Lord, God honored Modecai and exalted him before the very people who had begged him to compromise his principles.


Cheryl










From “The Maxwell Leadership Bible,” NKJV, John C. Maxwell, p. 620.

Monday, February 19, 2018

It's a Conspiracy






Esther
Weekly Reading
Week Three – Chapter Three


Read Chapter 3

Haman's Plot to Destroy the Jews

Chapter 3 introduces us to Haman, the villain in the story, who became second in command in the empire. He was an arrogant man, and he demanded that everyone bow down to him. Everyone did, except Mordecai (verse 2). This so incensed Haman that he succeeded in getting the king to issue an edict that all the Jews in the land should be destroyed (vv. 8-15). God never takes His eyes off of us or off the clock ticking over us.

Going Deeper          Psalm 68:20, Proverbs 16:33 & 8:7-8, Ephesians 4:26-27    

Questions

Mordecai did not slander, but he also did not knee. How do we know Mordecai continued his stance (v. 4)?

According to verse 5, what overriding emotion did Haman experience when Mordecai refused to bow?

Haman’s shrewd rage turned into careful calculation. How did Haman choose a day for Jewish destruction?

Haman was obviously adept at psychological warfare. In what ways did he apply psychological tactics to get what he wanted from King Xerxes?

How does John 8:44 offer all the permission we could need to identify the Devil as Haman’s “father”?

Have you ever felt compelled to react more dramatically to a situation because certain people were watching?…Let’s be real!!!

Read and pray Deuteronomy 33:25 – may God be allowed to work steadfastness of mind in you that “the bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength be equal to your days!”
What is the title for God that appears in Daniel 7:9-10?

Write your own paraphrase of Hebrews 4:13

The revelation of a person’s destiny always demands a revelation of the person. Consider the wording, “if you remain silent at this time.” The Hebrew word translated silent in this verse can also be translated conceal.

One of the most important points of fulfilling our destiny is transparency.


Given the power of Haman's position and the irrevocability of Persian law, the doom of the Jews seems sealed. Or is it? Stick around and find out.

Click here for printable version of Week 3



Be Blessed and be a Blessing,
Cheryl



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