Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace, the favor and spiritual blessing of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus. So that in Him in every respect you were enriched in full power and readiness of speech, to speak of your faith and complete knowledge and illumination to give you full insight into its meaning.”
1 Corinthians 1: 4,5
“Is it raining little flower?
Be glad of rain;
Too much sun would wither thee,
‘Twill shine again.
The clouds are very black, ‘tis true;
But just behind them shines the blue.
Art thou weary, tender heart?
Be glad of pain:
In sorrow sweetest virtues grow,
As flowers in rain.
God watches, and thou wilt have sun,
What clouds their perfect work have done.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And all the king’s servants that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. Then the king’s servants which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, ‘Why trangressest thou the king’s commandment?’ Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, (Mordecai), that he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.”
Esther 3: 2-5
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Bowing To Haman” Part 21
“Our Lord wants His true followers to be distinct, unlike the majority who follow the herd. In solving conflicts, doing business, and responding to difficulties, Jesus’ people are not to maintain the same attitudes or choose the priorities of the majority.”
How do I think I would have behaved toward Haman?
Would I have bowed before him?
What was the reason Mordecai chose not to bow down before Haman?
“You can only serve one master…and you need to decide who its gonna be.”
“Are we not rude and deserve blame, if we leave (God) alone, to busy ourselves about trifles, which do not please Him and perhaps offend Him? ‘Tis to be feared these trifles will one day cost us dear.”
As we uncover the lessons of history which become apparent in the lives of God’s children down through time, we can easily recognize that once God called Abraham to leave his home, things were not easy for this “nation” God blessed. The promise by God to His chosen that “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12: 2,3, K.J.V.), is one that individuals throughout time have challenged – even ferociously. As author Margaret Hess notes, the following statement was made by one of the most notoriously evil men to ever live – Adolph Hitler: “God up to now has placed the stamp of approval on our battle…The year 1941 will bring completion of the greatest victory of our history.” Claiming to be on God’s side isn’t something only limited to one as evil as Hitler. With an evil intent to utterly destroy all the Jews on planet earth, if possible, Adolph Hitler believed that his undertaking was completely instituted by God.
Because of the car accident Jim and I had, we are unable to endure the rigors of any long distance travel and so we have taken time to study historical happenings down through time. One of the most documented wars which has consumed our interest has been World War II. And we always come back to this particular question: “How could so many people be caught under the spell of a man so very evil as Hitler?
Well, I’ve opened the Scripture and studied the stories of rulers and of men in leadership positions, I’ve again found myself baffled by the way evil men have run amok – repeatedly. And Haman, who is at the pinnaccle of Medo-Persia government, just below King Ahasuerus and is the focus of our studies in the coming days, is another evil man intent on the annihilation of the Jews. In Esther 3: 1, we find that Haman the Agagite rose to power or was “advanced” to his position as the King James Version of the Bible states, very rapidly. In the Hebrew the word “advanced” even has a more distinctive definition: “to magnify honourably, to be lifted up.” This was evidently a position that Haman was given by the king who had distinguished him with the title of a person of honor. The problem was, this apparently was not an opinion held by others within the government.
Further study indicates that Haman’s place in history is one of an evil man who goes up against a Godly man. As author Margaret Hess points out, “We soon see Haman as a scoundrel, interested only in himself. To the Jews, Haman was an Agagite…a descendant of King Agag of the Amalekites, who were enemies of Israel. The Amalekites tried to stop Israel from entering the Promised Land. And God later ordered Saul to destroy them. God removed Saul from the kingship for not obeying completely (1 Samuel 15).”
Not wanting to have to deal with the daily details of running Medo-Persia King Ahasuerus thought he had found the perfect lacky in Haman – a “yes” man he could dump the “daily small stuff” on. So in order to get everyone of the princes and government employees, which included Mordecai, to fall into line, King Ahasuerus sent forth an edict that everyone should bow before Haman. Now we need to remember that even in the government of King David, bowing before rulers was a practiced tradition. As author Margaret Hess questions: “Mordecai supported Ahasuerus’ government. Haman represented that government. Why did Mordecai make such an issue?”
Even the Apostle Peter wrote, “Honour all men, Love the brotherhood, Fear God. Honor the king (1 Peter 2: 17, K.J.V.).” The fact is that no where in the book of Esther are we specifically told why Mordecai appears to have forced this issue by refusing to bow before Haman even when his co-workers warned him that the behavior he had undertaken could get him in big trouble.
Interestingly, I found the potential reason for Mordecai’s defiance toward Haman given to us in the foot notes in Antiquities of the Jews:
“Whether this adoration required of Mordecai to Haman were by him deemed too like the adoration due only to God, as Josephus seems here to think, as well as the Septuagint interpreters also, by their translation or whether he thought he ought to pay no sort of adoration to an Amalekite, which nation had been such great sinners as to have been universally devoted to destruction by God Himself (Exodus 17: 14-16, 1 Samuel 15: 18), or whether both causes concurred, cannot (totally) be determined.”
You may be saying to yourself, “Why in the world are we taking an entire study in thoughtful consideration regarding the interaction between Haman and Mordecai?”
After spending so much time during the past few months in preparation for our study of the book of Esther, I’ve concluded that like so much in our world today, there are no “small” issues… There are no “insignificant” days. At this time in the history of our world, the battle lines between good and evil are being drawn in much clearer ways than ever before. Good and evil stand in stark contrast. And for each of us, what I call “Mordecai Decisions” and “Haman Decisions” will find their way into each of our lives on a daily basis. And it is with this in mind that we keep on our shield of faith. In the words of one of my favorite poets:
“None but one can harm you,
None but yourself who are your greatest foe;
He (she) that respects himself is safe from others;
He (she) wears a coat of mail* that none can pierce.”
Once to Every Man and Nation
“Once to every man and nation
Come the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,
Offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever,
‘Twixt that darkness and that light.
Then to side with truth is noble
When we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
And ‘tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses,
While the coward stands aside,
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied.
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ‘tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong;
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His own.”
James Russell Lowell
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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