For those of you acquainted with the Biblical Holy Scriptures, you may remember the story of Esther. For those not acquainted with the story, please take time to read the book of Esther. It consists of only 10 chapters.
Today I would like to focus on Haman, the villain of the story in the book of Esther. Haman son of Hammedatha was an official in the kingdom of Persia who gained great favor in the eyes of the King then, Ahasuerus. It may be that he was diligent and excellent in his duties or was a wise counselor to the king. We are not told how this came to be but nevertheless he was so favored that according to Esther 3:2 all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him.
Haman himself, who had ten sons was very much aware of the great favor in his life as he states to his friends in Esther 5:11 And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Our first lesson here from Haman’s life is that God favors anybody, whether Jew or Gentile.
However, as Haman began to enjoy increased favor, he was disturbed that there was a particular palace junior servant who did not bow before him as per the king’s edict. Esther 3:2 But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
It is true that the king had given the edict that all should bow before Haman and yet Mordecai the Jew did not. In this life, we may be undermined many times even when we feel or are deserving. People have reasons for the actions they take. Many times, it is beyond our understanding. In Mordecai’s case he was a Jew and according to him, bowing to Haman would be an act of worship and idolatry. However, this was not always the interpretation even for Jews because we see the sons of Jacob repeatedly bowing before their brother Joseph, who was the ruler of Egypt then. As long as the love in human beings is imperfect, many will dislike or oppose you with or without valid reasons; don’t insist on the approval of men. To put it simply, Proverbs 25:27 says it best, "It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory." Haman is so offended by Mordecai that he does not take time to understand the meaning behind Mordecai’s actions. He takes it personally. His offense and pride grow into a deadly hate and he seeks an edict from the king for the extermination of not only Mordecai but the whole Jewish population in the kingdom. He is encouraged by the counsel of his close advisors including his wife who tells him to build a gallows 50 cubits high, specifically for Mordecai.
Surprisingly, when the king requests Haman to honor Mordecai instead, Haman’s very same advisors react as follows: Esther 6:13 And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.
Can you imagine the terror in Haman’s eyes when they told him this? From this story it is clear that even those close to us can mislead us into great error. If only they had given Haman this warning before he requested the death of Mordecai and the Jews, he and his family would have been saved. Most importantly, are you a Christian? For Christians, the Holy Spirit is our wonderful counselor and will lead you in matters not necessarily tragic as in this story but where it concerns God’s specific will for the actions you are to take in your life.
Beware of the counsel you allow in your life.
Haman had used his great influence with the king to request the destruction of an entire people. However, at the end of this story, the tables turn on Haman and as Esther the queen fasts before God along with Mordecai and the Jews, she exposes Haman’s agenda against her people to the king. Haman is in shock because he didn’t know that Queen Esther was a Jew. He and his ten sons are then hanged on gallows and his family perishes. The Jews are given the right to attack and defend themselves from those out to kill them.
What will you do with the God given power and influence in your life?
Sometimes the power we have is seemingly little in our eyes but big in God’s eyes, for example, how will you treat that house help working in your home or that stepchild? Will you be like Joseph who resisted Potiphar’s wife’s advances and refrain encroaching that which is beyond God’s domain for you even at your own peril? A first born is honored in many cultures and to God, the Jews are the first born of all his spiritual children who accept Jesus and eternal life. Their honor is a matter of position, it doesn’t mean God is biased. Because of Abraham and then Jesus, we inherit the kingdom. Let us consider the lessons in Haman’s story in our lives!