“After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. 2 And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage. 3 Then the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate said to Mordecai, ‘Why do you transgress the king’s command?’ 4 Now it happened, when they spoke to him daily and he would not listen to them, that they told it to Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand; for Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew.
“5 When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai. 7 In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman to determine the day and the month, until it fell on the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.“
Last week we talked about being in the right place at the right time to be used by the Lord. This is very important for us to make ourselves available for His use when He is ready to use us. Making ourselves available for the Lord and His work is scary at times; God may call you to step out of your comfort zone and actually talk to someone or serve someone, and that scares most of us. Most of us would rather give money or stuff as long as we don’t have to talk to someone. We are afraid that we will say the wrong thing, and that is a legitimate fear as we are dealing with eternal things. It is better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing and hinder someone from making the right choice for the Lord. Thus, it is imperative that we be ready.
It is important that we know how to show someone how to be saved, be able to show someone godly comfort from the Bible, be able to help someone understand the security that they have in Jesus and these fundamental things.
Today we will get into the meat of this story. Most of the main characters have been introduced, and like any good story, we must have an antagonist. We need someone to dislike.
We like Mordecai the doting uncle, we like Esther the lovely young lady, and we like the king, but we needed a bad guy; and here he is, Haman. From here on in, the story will deal a lot with the human condition, and it will deal with the history of Israel and her enemies, the ultimate enemy being Satan himself. He, Satan, has done all he can to eradicate the line that would bring Jesus. He tried to pollute the bloodline of man in Genesis 6 and then since Genesis 11 when God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldeans. Satan has been trying to eradicate the Jewish people, hoping to thwart the salvation that God was bringing in Jesus.
I know that many people have a hard time appreciating this and the deliberateness of the work that Satan does, but make no mistake; he is as focused on his plans as God is on the eternal one. Satan tries to destroy the Israelite people, and God finds creative ways to preserve them. Satan probably did not see the event with Vashti coming, setting Esther to be the queen, and God making it so that Ahasuerus actually loved her.
- Good things happen to bad people, verse 1
Haman was not a nice man. He was a descendant of the Agagites, and in particular, King Agag. The Jews and the Amalekites had been enemies for generations, according to Exodus 17: 14-16.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi: For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”
This animosity had been alive and well on both sides for centuries, and as far as I can do that math, well over 1,000 years. If you recall in our last lesson, the first point was that power does not have to make you bad. Rather, power often brings out the person that you truly are. Well, Haman was not a good man. He was filled with pride and filled with hatred. But somehow, he had won the king’s favor and was promoted. We all know people like this, and we wonder how they got into the position that they are in, but it happens. This is life.
Haman found out that Mordecai was not paying him the ‘respect’ that he was due for his position. And knowing that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman set about to kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire. You will recall that this empire stretched from Northern Africa well into the Middle East. This was a lot of people. There is another aspect that we need to consider. I want to draw your attention to a command from God to Saul, the first king of the Jews. In 1 Samuel 15: 1-3, God gives this command to Saul:
“Samuel also said to Saul, ‘The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'”
God never intended for the Jews to be in this position under Haman. He sent Saul to kill ALL of the Amalekite people; yes, even the babies. But Saul allowed some of the men to get away; we know this because, in 1 Samuel 30: 17, David has to fight an Amalekite army many years after Saul is dead. So not only did Saul not kill all the animals as was commanded by the Lord, he did not kill off all the men either. From this remnant we get the man Haman, whose ancestors had not let him forget what the Jews did to them. And now, here was his chance to avenge his people and do to them what they had intended to do to the Amalekites; he was going to kill them all.
What we do not realize is that our disobedience in this generation will bring hard and even dangerous times to our kids, maybe not immediately, but eventually. It took hundreds of years for this disobedience to come back to haunt the Jews, but it did come back. Our actions have ramifications, both good and evil. I have said this before: obedience is the highest form of worship.
- Good men don’t honor bad men, verse 2-5
Mordecai refused to pay homage to Haman. He knew Haman was an evil man, he knew Haman’s heritage, and maybe he has spent enough time with Haman to know the real man. Even though he had been promoted and there was an unwritten rule to pay homage to him, to bow to him, Mordecai would not do it.
We find ourselves in a similar situation both in the US and Canada; we are ruled by ungodly men who promote killing babies, are in open hatred to God’s people, hate the Jews, and are destroying the very freedoms that are given to man by God. While we are to be under the law and respect the system of law, we are not to honor these evil men. We are to speak out and stand up. Recall John the Baptist; he told Herod that he could not have his brother’s wife, and it cost him his freedom and eventually his life. Elijah stood up to Ahab and Jezebel and had a hard life because of it.
Make no mistake; Haman was placed where he was by God. Romans 13 makes that clear. In the same way, the President of the US and the PM of Canada are placed in power by God. But that does not mean we have to agree to their evil ways. God has a plan that overshadows the immediate, and He sees the big picture of what He is accomplishing. But you and I will have to stand for what is right. No amount of prompting or pleading from the others would change Mordecai’s ways and mind, and eventually, someone told Haman.
If you make a stand for what is right, someone will eventually report you to the authorities. We see that happening here in our time of the COVID shutdown — people reporting each other for not following the rules. Just over the weekend, I saw where a church was having division over the maskers and non-maskers, and on we can go. There will always be people who just get along to get along, and there will be people like Mordecai. They base their life on peace, not principles. If you sacrifice principles for peace, you will eventually lose both. Which one will you be? Which one will I be?
- Good men will be called to stand up to bad men, verse 5-6
Haman is livid that Mordecai does not pay him homage, and so, rather than take it up with Mordecai, he plots a way to kill All of the Jews. In verse 7, he casts a lot, and it falls on a particular day that Haman will convince the king to use as a day to eliminate all of his enemies, namely the Jews.
Sooner or later, you and I will be called to make a stand. Edmunds has a great quote that goes something to the effect that ‘all it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.’ Sadly, for the local churches in much of the world, we have done just that. We have made it hard for saved men to be involved in politics, we have allowed evil men to run the government unabated for decades, and we wonder why we have such evil laws. Most of the countries in the free world, particularly the USA, were founded on the idea that God was and is real and that we have to answer to Him. But we have stood by and allowed the idea that there is no God, no right and wrong, and no boundaries to which we must adhere.
But the day is coming when we have to stand, and that stand will be costly. We may have to risk life and limb, just like Mordecai is going to be called to do, to rescue our people. Too many good men have become complaining spectators, and I must say that I am guilty as well. We have walked away from making a difference in the future of our lives and our kids’ lives by being more afraid of losing our tax-exempt status than losing our freedom to preach the Gospel, our freedom to assemble, and our freedom to speak the uncomfortable truths that have invaded our churches and lives.
All too many of us have just given up, given in, and we just want to have peace over principle. Sadly, we are about to lose both. Good men must be ready and willing to take a stand, even at the cost of their lives, for what is right. I do not know how many of us are willing. Make no mistake; the enemy is ready and willing.
Haman was the one who set the time for the fight. It was coming whether or not Mordecai and Esther wanted it. Sometimes you don’t get to pick the terms, the time, or the place, but you must show up to the fight. I fear that pastors like myself may not have equipped our people to fight. We can pray, we can do all kinds of things, there is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes the answer to prayer is to stand and fight. Men of God, there has never been a time like now where we have needed to stand; let us stand together on the truth of God. If not for ourselves, for our kids and the saved people that come after us. Jesus gave His life to give us the Gospel; we have to give our lives to further it.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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