Scripture

Esther 3:1-6

1 After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. 2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.

3 Then the royal officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” 4 Day after day they spoke to him but he refused to comply. Therefore they told Haman about it to see whether Mordecai’s behavior would be tolerated, for he had told them he was a Jew.

5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. 6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.

Reflection

Before Hitler, there was Haman. So far, unlike Esther, Mordecai spoiling the plot to kill the king has gone unnoticed and unrewarded. Haman is elevated to the place of highest nobility and we’re not told why. It surely isn’t because of his servant heart. Haman is the definition of the wicked the psalmist laments about: “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression” (Psalm 73:4-8). A crisis is now underway as Haman desires genocide. The wicked appear to prosper but their time is short. Unlike the devil who knows his time is short (Rev. 12:12), Haman doesn’t. He’s blind to any reality where he isn’t honored like the king. 

The Jews are scattered throughout the Persian Empire. From our perspective, we can see how this reality foreshadows Jesus’ word in the Gospel of John. “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:31-33). We are promised times of trouble but our hope is built on the victory of Jesus over the grave. The Haman’s of the world will never ultimately win. We, too, are a scattered people right now, unable to gather for the health and safety of others. In this time, where you may be experiencing a time of crisis, remember the victory that is yours because of Jesus. How is the victory he won renewing your spirit and your mind through this time?   

Prayer

Heavenly Father, though sorrow and trouble come our way, though we endure the sting of failure and defeat, though we spend years waiting for a breakthrough, it is only a night. Joy comes in the morning. Your light breaks through the darkness and we are made new. Thank you Jesus. Your love never fails. Help us to love each other as you have loved us. May the works of our hands make mercy and justice and words of our mouths speak grace and truth. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory before all ages, now, and forevermore. Amen