Monday, February 27, 2017

Queen Esther: A Destiny Fulfilled. Day 10, Haman's Plot Against Mordecai

Queen Esther:
A Destiny Fulfilled
Day 10
Haman's Plot Against Mordecai

Haman has just had a private banquet with King Xerxes and Queen Esther, a very high honor. He leaves the palace feeling on top of the world. "Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king's gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home." (Esther 5:9-10a) 

Haman is obsessed with Mordecai and his refusal to honor him. King Xerxes has given Haman a high position in the kingdom and he has just spent a wonderful lunch hour in the private quarters of the palace, but he immediately loses his high spirits when Mordecai doesn't pay him homage. Because this one Jew will not honor him, Haman hates Mordecai and all the Jewish people. In my opinion, no amount of adoration and recognition would ever have been enough for a man like this. Even if he were king himself, I think he would still have been eaten up on the inside with insecurities. He would still have been miserable because something was lacking in the inner man. 

He manages to keep his cool at the king's gate and passes on by Mordecai. It would be unseemly to fly into a rage and start beating a man within sight of the palace. Besides, he knows Mordecai's day is coming, because Haman has enticed the king to sign an edict for the extermination of the Jews on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month. So he pretends to ignore Mordecai's disrespect and goes home.

"Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials." (Esther 5:10a-11) Haman feels compelled to soothe his vanity by bragging to his family and friends. If Mordecai isn't impressed with him, no doubt these others will be. His wife and friends have probably had to sit through this same song and dance many times before, but they dare not show anything but the utmost admiration for him. I think all eyes were fastened on Haman as he told tales of his intelligence and greatness. I bet they "oohed" and "aahed" when he waved his bankbook in front of them and showed them the balance. I believe they clapped their hands delightedly when he told them in great detail everything that was said and done at the banquet. 

"'And that's not all,' Haman added, 'I'm the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate.'" (Esther 5:12-13) We can almost hear Haman's tone of voice in our heads when he says with disgust "that Jew". Nothing will ever be right for Haman until that Jew gets what's coming to him. How can he enjoy his high rank in the kingdom, the banquets in the palace, or the wealth he has accumulated, as long as that Jew refuses to honor him? What good are all his accomplishments if that Jew still looks down on him?

"His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, 'Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.' This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up." (Esther 5:14) His wife and friends say, "Why wait for the twelfth month to be rid of Mordecai? Have him killed in the morning. Then your troubles will be over and you can fully enjoy your meal with the king and queen. You won't ever again have to walk out of the palace and see Mordecai at the gate."

Their casual cruelty is stunning. They speak about a torturous death as coolly as they might discuss the weather forecast. Mordecai has committed no crime worthy of death, yet they gleefully suggest he be executed publicly in a slow and painful manner. It could sometimes take several hours for a victim of impalement to perish, and Haman is delighted with the idea of Mordecai writhing in agony on a pole while he himself dines with the royal family. He believes it will enhance his enjoyment of the food and wine if he knows Mordecai is suffering at the same time. 

Haman is a man who has gained the whole world but lost his own soul. He has achieved more than most men in the Medo-Persian Empire have ever dreamed of, but it's not enough. He's empty inside. His fulfilled ambitions have not made him happy. His wealth and his large family have not made him happy. Adoration and recognition have not made him happy. Somehow, satisfaction remains out of his reach. But he has fallen for the lie of Satan that if he obtains this one thing, (the death of Mordecai and the Jews), he will at last have everything he needs to enjoy life. This is the same type of lie Satan still tells mankind today. One more drink, one more pill, one more promotion, one more affair, one more deposit in the bank, one more house, one more car, one more round of plastic surgery, one more boat.....and on and on and on. But the kind of emptiness we feel in our souls can't be filled with anything of this world. Nothing will ever be enough. In the daytime we might be able to look around at all our accomplishments and fool ourselves, but in the long dark hours of the night we know better. This is why so many seek to numb the pain of emptiness with anything available. But we were created by God and for God; nothing other than a relationship with Him will ever satisfy the longing in our souls. Nothing else gives our lives true meaning and purpose. The Apostle Paul, a man who was once driven by ambition and a desire for wealth and recognition, gave up everything he had for the sake of the gospel, including his own life. And he was able to say, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6) Without God, nothing we have will ever be enough. But with God, even the smallest blessing brings us great delight. 

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