“Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, ‘There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore, it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.’
“10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, ‘The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you.’ 12 Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded—to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus, it was written, and sealed with the king’s signet ring.
“13 And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions. 14 A copy of the document was to be issued as law in every province, being published for all people, that they should be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out, hastened by the king’s command; and the decree was proclaimed in Shushan the citadel. So, the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was perplexed.“
I was out this week speaking to a friend as we celebrated Family Day here in Southern Ontario. Some folks were out skating on a rink, and some sat talking about the COVID mess destroying our economies here in North America and causing such collateral damage to homes, families and marriages. There was so much talk of how people just follow and don’t think for themselves; they don’t seem to want to use the good sense that God gave them, nor do they want to see what the Bible says. We spoke on the topic of what do Christians do. How do we stand up and not simply become sheep? If we are silent, are we then complicit in the goings-on? We have all seen what can happen when no one wants to get involved. No one wants to get their hands dirty and suffer the pain to say ‘no,’ we should not be doing this.
Many times over the years, I have heard people ask the questions, ‘how did the German people stand by and let all those Jews be murdered?’ They knew that the cattle cars were filled with the Jews and that they were going to their deaths. Why did the Christians not rise up and try to stop the things that were going on? I mean, they were killing the people of Jesus, the Jews. Without the Jews, we would not have had salvation offered to the Gentiles; Jesus, after all, is a Jew. We read of the lives of men like Bonhoeffer and how he stood up and eventually died because he could not stand by and let evil go on unchecked. Well, long before there was a Bonhoeffer, there was a Mordecai.
I heard today of a pastor here in Alberta, Canada, being arrested for preaching, and he was remanded to custody; yet he has not committed a violent crime. He spoke words that were deemed to be unacceptable by the powers that be. This is happening right now; free speech is under attack. I do not know what he said or did not say. I may not even agree with it, but I would defend his right to say it.
Here is the message for us today, in every generation and in every time: there will be attacks on God’s people.
In the passage today, it was 400 years or more before Jesus was born. In Bonhoeffer’s day, it was 1939, and now we have today. What is the big picture that we need to see? The answer is Jesus. Satan was attacking the Jews for the purpose of destroying the Messiah before He was even born. Today, the New Testament churches are the representatives of God to the whole world, and Jesus is coming back with His church to rule the earth. Satan is still focused on Jesus. The first was to stop His birth, and now it is to stop His ascension to the Throne of Jerusalem from where He will rule the world. The first attack did not work, and neither will the current one.
- A Separated People, verse 8
There are many negative things that can be said about the Jews throughout history, but one very positive thing is that they have never lost their uniqueness. God made them special in that He gave them a covenant with Him that He alone was the witness to (see Genesis 15). He gave them a mark in the flesh that separates them from many other people. He even made the men wear a blue sash on their garments so that it was easy to spot a Jew in the midst of any city they were in. They rarely intermarried, and when they did, it was met with such anger that everyone knew it was wrong. They kept their Jewishness in Egypt while under various regimes during the time of the Judges; and even in captivity in Babylon, they remained very separated from the Chaldeans and then the Persians.
Their Jewish ways and heritage were of more importance than fitting in. Even today, in 2021, we can still find sects of very distinct Jews that refuse to conform to the world around them. Sadly, for all of that, the vast majority miss the very Jewishness of the redemption story. But they are separated from the world and not ashamed of it at all.
In stark contrast, much of what presents itself as the modern New Testament church is doing all in its power to look just like the culture around them. They want to assimilate and win the masses. Sadly, this is not working. What we have is a watered-down Gospel; no talk of sin and repentance; no mention of right and wrong; no mention of the cost of Christianity; no mention of sacrifice and submission; no mention of denying yourself and serving others no matter the cost; and no mention of Hell and judgment. Thus, we have a counterfeit Christianity that we have stood by and allowed to prosper. Now, they are the norm, and we are the outcasts. People assume that we are the crazy ones.
I mean, who in their right mind believes in Hell? What rational person would believe that God is so Holy that he would actually make Hell? That is simply not the God we want to worship. Hell does not bring about the warm and fuzzy feelings that we are looking for in our worship time. What kind of God wants me to suffer so I can identify with Christ? I mean, I have a new tattoo or a t-shirt that identifies me with Jesus; I don’t need the Holy Spirit bugging me about sin, serving and sacrifice. You are killing my worship buzz here. What kind of weak, jealous God only allows one way to get to Heaven? We are all going there; you go your way, and I will go mine. God loves everyone; you get to go, Heaven, I get to go to Heaven, we all get to go to Heaven.
Not only should we be separated in doctrine, but we should be separated in actions. God’s people, we are told, should “come out from among them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). This is not a call to live as a sect separated from the people of the world like Amish or Tibetan monks, where we have no or limited contact with the world’s people. But we are to be separate while engaging the people as Jesus did. The community of the Lord’s churches should exhibit such love, forgiveness, kindness and grace that we appear to the masses around us to be aliens here on earth representing another world.
Yes, we are sinners, and yes, we fail, but how we treat the fallen and failing will determine if the world runs to us or from us. Look at how Jesus treated the fallen and failing; He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, and He encouraged Peter to come back to ‘fishing for men.’ Many love to point out that Jesus told the woman to go and sin no more. Maybe she did not go back to adultery, but she was still a sinner, and she sinned after meeting Jesus. We are no different; there are things that being saved helps you to walk away from. Maybe you were a drunkard, a smoker, used foul language and loved to fight, but knowing Jesus as Savior helped you walk away from those.
But what about the other stuff that we keep hidden? The stuff that is not so easy to walk away from, or maybe we keep trying to walk away, but we seem to be like boomerangs.
You see, it is not just having the right attitude towards sin that matters. It is more important to have the right attitude towards those that sin, including ourselves. We need to be the first to cry out, ‘Lord, have mercy on me a sinner,’ then we can help others. Jesus was from another world, another kingdom to be precise, and in Jesus, so are we. Stop trying to fit in here; this world is not your home if you know Jesus.
See Hebrews 11:9-10: “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
We know in the short term, this is a reference to Jerusalem, the one David ruled from and the one Jesus walked in during His earthly ministry. But the ultimate city is the New Jerusalem; this is the city that Abraham longed for, his true home. Abraham was called a ‘resident alien’ here on earth, and in the New Testament, Peter calls us ‘sojourners.’ Either way, stop trying to fit in.
- Pride and Flattery breed destruction, verses 9-13
Haman hated the Jews; he was a descendant of the Amalekites, and they had some very harsh run-ins with the Jews over the years, including battles with Saul and David. He was looking for revenge, and now that he had some power, he was going to do all he could to hurt these peculiar people. He used their peculiarity to appeal to the pride of the king. There are people in your kingdom who don’t follow your customs. They don’t assimilate, and they stand out; they are a threat to you. You are a great king, and this should not be allowed. But I can help you fix the problem. Haman created a problem so he could execute his solution.
As far as we know, the Jews were loyal servants of the king. Mordecai, following in the footsteps of Daniel and many other godly men, served the kings that God put in their way. The Jews, like they do today, are still, for the most part, a blessing to any society they lived in. They are hard-working, morally disciplined, and often very highly educated.
From what we can tell, they did not pose a threat to the king, and in fact, Mordecai had aided in protecting the king. Haman lied and created a crisis where there was none. Sadly, most of the kings of that day were very power-hungry, and it was easy for men with no morals to infiltrate and get the kings to do evil things. There were no checks and balances; Haman was powerful in his own right and the king even more so.
We should be very careful even as spiritual leaders to not surround ourselves with prideful and hateful men. They will not give us good counsel. They will destroy and not help. They will tear down and not build up. We need good, spiritually mature men to be able to ask godly questions to make us think.
Pride has done more to destroy God’s people than any other sin, even sexual sins. Pride makes us cover wrongs rather than confess them. Pride leads us further and further down the rabbit hole, and then we are trapped in our own lies, our own words, and we have no way out. Ahasuerus would come to realize that and make an effort to fix it, but too many of us cannot catch the avalanche that we start, and a lot of people get hurt. Pride leads us to surround ourselves with other prideful people as well, and we are unable to get sound counsel and good objections to our decisions. Pride and flattery go hand in hand as they are fundamentally two sides of the same coin.
In Proverbs 29: 5, we see these wise words: “A man who flatters his neighbour spreads a net for his feet.”
Flattery is intended to entrap you. Ahasuerus was trapped by his words and his power, and he allowed the flattery of a prideful man to cloud his judgment. But as we all know, God had a solution in play long before Haman created the problem. Haman was about to fall into the pit that he was digging, and he would be happy right to the very end. Proverbs 26: 27 says this:
“Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.”
The very gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai would be used to kill him. God does not kid around with the safety of His people. Yes, they have been punished under the watchful eye of God over the years, and yes, God has allowed some bad things to happen to the Jews. But they are still His chosen people, and the Genesis 12: 1-3 covenant is as relevant and powerful today as it was the day it was spoken,
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family and from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Don’t mess with God’s people; God will avenge His people. This promise is to us in the New Testament era as well. As I mentioned earlier, there was a pastor here in Canada arrested for holding services, and they want him to stop preaching. More and more, we will begin to see the gospel attacked and Christianity hated right here in Canada. We should be prepared for bad things to happen, but know that God sees and He will deal with our enemies when the time is right.
- Hateful men have no conscience, verse 15
They signed off on killing thousands of people and then went to get a drink, most likely alcohol. There was no remorse, no sense of the doom that they had just brought to people who had served the kingdom of Persia for a long time.
Death is a sport to people who do not fear the Lord God; we see that here in our modern world. In the 2020 calendar year, the world aborted some 42,000,000 babies, which is more than the entire population of Canada. These folks do this day in and day out without fear of God, without any sense of the immense crimes that they are committing against God. We recently helped a missionary (that ministers to persons who are being sex trafficked) go to the Super Bowl in Tampa in February 2021, where they helped 9 people out of being trafficked. This business is done where men and women sell, kidnap and trick their fellow human beings into being sex slaves. They do it for money, greed, and without the slightest hint of remorse.
While we may not kill people physically, many in the Lord’s churches kill each other spiritually and emotionally. We backbite, gossip, lie, hold grudges, and simply ignore people. We do that and then get up and sing of God’s love with our hearts just as hard as Haman’s, who could have a drink after orchestrating the murder of the Jews as a whole. In 1 John 4:20, the apostle John addresses this kind of hypocrisy and hatred in the Lord’s churches.
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
May the Lord help us and break us; may He soften our hardened hearts and humble us so that in truth and in word, thought and action, we truly become like aliens in our conduct. Make us stick out like sore thumbs in this pained and dying world as we represent the new kingdom, our new country, our new citizenship; come let us be freaks for Jesus.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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