House of Death, part two

Okay, so if you missed yesterday you might be a little lost, as we’re working our way through a long story in the book of Esther. Esther’s the queen, secretly a Jew, Haman’s a bad guy, got the king to pass a law that says all Jews are going to be killed on a certain day, and Mordecai is a faithful Jew and cousin to Esther. Haman can’t stand Mordecai because Mordecai won’t bow down to him. And we’re picking up right after the King has agreed to set in motion the day to slaughter Jews.

The Jews across the land are in great sorrow, as you can imagine. Mordecai starts trying to get Esther to help, because if you’ll remember, she’s the queen and she’s secretly a Jew. She’s scared though, because if you go talk to the king without an appointment you get killed. As she expresses her desire to, you know, not get murdered, Mordecai hits her with a pretty cool faith/conviction verbal combination.

Esther 4:14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

I’m working to a different point here this week, but I gotta stop and just marvel at two things in Mordecai’s speech here. Look at the faith on this guy. Mordecai knows one thing. The Jews are going to be delivered from this massacre. It’s not a doubt, it’s not a question, it’s not a hope, he believes with full faith that deliverance is coming. Relief and deliverance will rise. There’s a motto to live by for anyone who’s struggling in life. Get your eyes on God, get your faith pumped up, get your confidence restored and tell those around you that relief and deliverance will rise. There was no evidence of deliverance, things looked crazy grim for the Jews, and yet here’s Mordecai, standing here full of faith that the deliverance was on the way. The only question he had was this. Was Esther going to be a part of it or not? Was she going to get the blessing that comes along with doing God’s will or was she going to get passed by?

Then we come to such a well known and popular piece of the Bible. “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Thousands of preachers and teachers wiser than I have touched on this, so I don’t have a whole lot to add, other than to just say to take that into your heart. When you doubt, when you are overwhelmed, when you feel surrounded, when darkness looms, recall that statement. Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Maybe you’re right where you are because that’s right where God needs you to be. Because I’m telling you, God’s doing something in the world right now. Now’s the time to take that verse to heart and look around and find your place, because God’s got great adventures for us to set out upon.

So, back to Esther. She gets bold, finds favor with the king, and actually gets in to talk with him. The king tells her she can have anything, up to half of his kingdom. Maybe he was just sweet talking her there, I don’t know, but it’s clear she has great favor with the king. So she makes a simple request. Let’s have a feast, me, you, and Haman. The king agrees, and so the three have this great dinner together. The king at this point knows she’s after more than just a meal, but she tells him that the three of them will have another feast tomorrow and at that feast she’ll make her actual request.

Between feast one and two, something happens with Haman. He’s heading home, full of good food and good drinks, feeling like a million bucks, and he comes across Mordecai. The Bible says that Mordecai neither “rose nor trembled” before Haman, and so of course, Haman gets furious again. He’s already got a law passed that says all the Jews are going to be killed soon, but Haman’s royally ticked off over this one particular Jew. Once again, Mordecai is the Jew in his face.

Haman does something I found to be really funny at this point. He goes home, gathers together his family and his friends around him, and proceeds to tell them about how rich and powerful and great he is. What an odd thing, the human ego is. The guy feels slighted by Mordecai, he’s angry, frustrated that the day to kill Jews hasn’t arrived, and so he goes home and gathers up his crew and says “let me tell you how great I am.”

There’s a lesson here. Let other people honor you. Let other people tell of your greatness. You know, I get excited about my life a lot, especially where it relates to God. If I actually do something for God I can hardly wait until I get to tell some of my closest friends about it. But those stories aren’t about me, they’re about God. I assure you, the role I’ve played in any of those stories is minuscule at best. Without God, I wouldn’t even have a fraction of the confidence needed to show up in any of those situations, let alone the confidence to do something once I’m there. So those stories aren’t about me. If someone wants to say I did good, that’s cool, I’ll appreciate that for what it is, but the glory is God’s and God’s alone.

Anywhere you come across someone going on and on about how great they are, you’re probably dealing with someone with some issues. Maybe it’s insecurity, and they’re just looking for someone to make them feel good, maybe it’s ego, and they’re caught up in thinking they’re God’s gift to the world. Maybe it’s just that old enemy pride, the downfall of so many people. Haman sure was full of pride here as he talks about all his power and all his riches.  But all of those riches and all of that power mean nothing to him right now, because he’s let hatred and anger take hold of him. Check this out.

Esther 5:13 Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

He’s the man, he’s convinced of that now after having this little hype session with his buddies, and since he’s the man then Mordecai has no right to disrespect him. His wife and his friends seem to agree, because watch what they suggest. This is nuts.

Esther 5:14 Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.” This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

Let’s just take a second with this, because the Bible’s telling us something major here just in this one little verse. Watch out who your friends are, and watch out who you marry. Because the idea to build the gallows wasn’t Haman’s. If Haman had married a good woman, she maybe could’ve talked him down. She could’ve said “Honey, I know you hate these Jews, but do you really think murdering them all is the best course of action?” His friends could’ve spoken some wisdom and some love into his life. But no, this guy had surrounded himself with like minded people.

The house of Haman was a house of death, about to be equipped with its very own gallows.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I thank you so much for the time we find ourselves living in.  This verse is so well known for a reason, it’s just such a beautiful reminder that just because we’re in a dark place or a hard place doesn’t mean we’re in need of saving.  Maybe it means we’re in a place where we need to do some saving.  Thank you that when you send us out on such missions, we go out fully equipped, with victory assured.  We love you God and we praise and honor your purposes for our lives today.  Give us fresh insight into what you want us to do for your kingdom.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Alright, that’s it for today.  I love you guys.  I know it might be a little choppy with all of these stops, but I wrote a ton on this so I had to break it up.  I’m not taking tomorrow off the blog like I usually do, we’re running straight to Thursday because I’m just that excited about the things God’s showing us in the book of Esther.  I pray you’re all having a great week, and for those who are struggling I just pray the peace of wisdom of our Lord Jesus into your situations right now.  God loves you with all of His heart.

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