Friday, January 26, 2007

One man's pride

Today in Esther we read about what can happen when one man's pride is not honoured.

In Esther Three we meet Haman. Now Haman is a man who is quite proud of himself, and in many ways, rightly so. He has been advanced and set above all the officials who were around the king.

He was "the" man in the land.

The King commanded all people to bow down and respect Haman. But Mordecai didn't.
The other officials talked to Mordecai about this. Mordecai continued to not do this.
They told Haman and we learn
And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury.
But that wasn't enough for Haman. For when he learned what people group Mordecai belonged to he
disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.
He took his time with his plans though. From what I understand from Scripture he started his plans in the first month, and then completed them in the last month.
7In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, they cast lots) before Haman day after day; and they cast it month after month till the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.
and when that time has passed, then he went to the King with his request.
8Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king's laws, so that it is not to the king's profit to tolerate them. 9If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed
and so it was done. The King agreed to Haman's plan.
13Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods.
And so, Haman's plan, which would take a good year to complete, was put into place. The orders were issued in the first month, to be completed in the twelfth month. It was a time of confusion.

So what can I learn from this?

I have to admit, I'm not entirely sure. Ah....when I stop to think about it, and to pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance, I am pointed to the example that Mordecai is. Here he is, a man, concerned about his daughter, continuing even after she is made queen, to watch out for her. He is steadfast in his duty and his devotion. He would know who Haman was, he would know the king's edict to bow down in respect to Haman. But he was a steadfast Jew, he bowed down to no one other than God. Mordecai here shows that he puts God first.

Yes, I recognize that the passage doesn't implicitly say this, but seems to imply this. Otherwise, why focus on the fact that he is a Jew? Why focus on the fact that other officials spoke to Mordecai about this and he refused to bend the knee? Why show Haman's determination to then get rid of the whole race of Jews living in the land? God's word says, worship me and me alone. As a Jew, Mordecai would know this command of the Lord.

Our devotion is to be first to the Lord. We must be steadfast in this, come what may. This is what God demands of us.

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