“In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month…they cast the pur in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month…” Esther 3:7
One year….did you catch that?
The Jews had one year to prepare for the day of their deaths. The month and day for the Jews extermination, set by Haman, was one year away. Can you imagine hearing that one year from now, all Christians in our country – from youngest to oldest, men, women and children – will all be killed? I shudder to think what it must have felt like to live with that threat looming over their heads for a full year? The stress, the anguish…the fear.
Once the date was set, Haman approached King Xerxes with his evil plan. Notice how cunning and sly Haman was when he told King Xerxes about these “certain people” in verses eight and nine.
First we see that Haman depersonalized the Jews by not mentioning their name; instead, he refers to them as a “certain people.” We have seen this same tactic in the Nazi death camps of World War II when Hitler had numbers tattooed on his Jewish prisoners arms and deliberately took away their names. Numbers are anonymous, vague and don’t initiate emotions…but names do, “Mordecai the Jew.” Names are personal, specific and recognizable.
Haman goes on to describe how the Jews are “dispersed and scattered in all provinces,” throughout all areas of King Xerxes’s kingdom…a kingdom that included Israel.
Their customs are “different from those of all other people.” In other words they don’t fit in. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Jews assimilated almost too well into the Persian culture. King Xerxes himself didn’t even realize his own queen was Jewish.
“They do not obey your laws”…if I’m not mistaken, wasn’t it Mordecai, a Jew, who protected King Xerxes from an assassination attempt by his own personal guards?
It is not in the “best interest to tolerate them.” In other words, it was not in Haman’s best interest to tolerate them. Remember, Haman was an Agagite, a descendant of King Agag of the Amalekites who happened to be ancient enemies of the Jews (Exodus 17:16, 1 Samuel 15:20 & Deuteronomy 25:17-19). Hatred has a history and is passed down from generation to generation. No one is born prejudiced; we learn it and then pass it on to the next generation.
Finally, we see Haman even throws in the added bonus that he will help pay for this evil deed (verse 9). And where do you think Haman planned on getting the money to pay for the men who would carry out this decree? Why from the Jews themselves, of course! Haman planned on plundering the homes and businesses of all the Jews who would be killed, pocketing some for himself I’m sure, and then enticing the King with the rest.
Make note: even though Haman was a half-truth speaker, a deceiver and finally an all out liar, he was not a dumb man. Through the cunning and crafty use of his words, Haman was able to convince King Xerxes to put this horrible plan into action.
But remember – what Satan plans for evil, God uses for good.
Though this decree was unthinkably evil, God used it to unite His children. Despite what Haman claimed, maybe the Jews had assimilated a little too well into the Persian culture. Maybe, just maybe, God was allowing this to happen so that His children would remember who they were, how He had delivered them from evil in the past through their dependence on Him, so they would once again turn back to Him.
I believe we all, at one time or another, have “Hamans” in our lives. People who speak lies about us, hate us for what we stand for, men or women who are prejudiced against us for one reason or another and even sometimes devise “decrees” to do us harm. But take heart my sweet friends! Though in this life we will have trouble, Jesus reminds us in John 16:33 that HE has overcome the world!
I think it’s time for God’s children to once again unite, stand firm on His Word, and pray our hearts out for a world that doesn’t know Him. In faith we can trust Him in the hard days knowing that He is at work.
Our lives are a lot like Esther’s. We may not see God, yet we know He is with us, working in and through all the different events of our lives. Nothing is random.
Sweet friend, I don’t know what “Hamans” are in your life right now but I do know this: God can bring growth out of your pain. Though you may feel unseen, He sees you right where you are. Just when your “enemy” seems to have the upper hand, place your trust in God and realize that the day set for your destruction may actually be the day of your deliverance. Press on, persevere and look for His fingerprints in your life!
Let’s Talk! Share with us what God is teaching you through this week’s verses.
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