THURSDAY, JUNE 21
SCRIPTURE: ESTHER 6
As the story of Esther continues, it is easy to think badly of Haman. He was, after all, a bad man who has despicably planned the annihilation of God’s people. He was also an arrogant man who allowed his pride to dictate his behavior. It really is easy not to like this guy.
But we must always remember that God loved Haman as much as He loves me or you. Indeed, the work of God behind the scenes in this remarkable story could be seen in a couple of ways. One, God was at work to protect His chosen people. Two, God was at work increasing the pressure on Haman with the goal of Haman finally collapsing under that weight and repenting. In Ezekiel 33:11 God said, “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”
It is important that we see the story of Haman through the lens of Ezekiel 33:11. We should also see the story of all humanity through that same lens. Regardless of how bad, how evil, how ruthless a person may be, Jesus died for that one so that he/she could be saved.
Without trying to belabor the point, we should be thankful for the incredible salvation God has given us. But we should never use our salvation as some sort of proof that God likes us more than He does others or that we are somehow better than others because we have been saved.
Now, perhaps, I should get on to verse one. As the chapter opens, King Ahasuerus can’t sleep. He decides the best cure for his insomnia is to have one of his aides read from one of the books that chronicled his reign. Of all the books the aide could have pulled from the shelf and from all the places in that book that the aide could have chosen to read from, he chose a book that chronicled what had happened some five years earlier and the page that he read from pointed to how Mordecai had saved the king’s life but had never been rewarded for that.
There are some who would read this part of the story and be amazed at all the “coincidences” of it. But looking at this through a Biblical lens simply points to the unmistakable sovereignty of God and His ability to work through anybody he chooses to work through to accomplish His plan.
Without retelling the story, it is obvious that Haman was convinced he was the one who was going to be honored. But in the great irony of God’s handiwork, Haman ends up leading Mordecai not to the gallows but through the streets of the city proclaiming to all that Mordecai was being honored by the king in a most special way.
There are a couple of other things that I want to point out before we finish our time on this chapter. One, in verse 10, King Ahasuerus referred to Mordecai as a Jew. In other words, by this point the king knew Mordecai was a Jew which meant that Mordecai fell under the edict that the king had signed to put all Jews to death. This is an interesting turn of events that I can offer no answer for. Either the king had forgotten his edict or he temporarily set it aside to honor a man who had saved his life. Regardless of what is going on here, God is still at work.
The second thing is what Haman’s friends said to Haman at the end of verse 13. This does not indicate that the friends were experts in Jewish history or prophecy. It is, once again, indicative that God can use whomever He chooses. Here we have a group of unbelievers speaking great, prophetic truth.