CHURCH & MINISTRY
The Haman Factor
By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady
The moral of the story is: He that diligently seeks good procures favor; but he that seeks mischief, it shall come unto him. Proverbs 11:27
That's "The Haman Factor" we find in the Book of Esther, when the noose you wickedly devise for someone else's neck ends up around your own. In Esther, it was literal, bodily destruction. But "The Haman Factor" still has spiritual significance for us today. Indeed, the literal sequence of events recorded in Esther serves as a sober warning, or welcome encouragement, for us to take to heart today.
If you haven't already, or if it's been a while, read the Book of Esther. It's a fascinating historical account of how God used a gentle but brave Jewish woman and her uncle to help save His chosen people. There are many different things we can get out of this story, of course. But one of the most significant is its dramatic depiction of how the plots devised out of unchecked pride and envy can turn around and bite the evil-hearted, and bite hard, especially when God's divine providence is at work.
Haman was a favored high official in the court of King Xerxes. Mordecai was a prominent, well-respected and God-fearing leader of the Jewish people within Xerxes' expansive kingdom. Esther was Mordecai's beautiful and humble niece. Mordecai himself came to the attention of Xerxes and into his good graces after Mordecai warned him of a plot to end his (the king's) life.
Haman was extremely arrogant. He burned with prideful indignation against Mordecai when Mordecai refused to bow down to him as everyone else in the kingdom did, per the king's decree. Haman complained to his wife, friends and ten sons about this, and they only fueled his indignation, supporting his scheme to have King Xerxes decree a new law that would exterminate all the Jews in the land and to have Mordecai in particular impaled on a pole. At his wife's, sons' and friends' suggestion, Haman even erected a pole for that very purpose.
But — Hallelujah! — God intervened! And mightily! He had already orchestrated for Esther to become the king's most favored wife. Xerxes heeded her bold but gentle pleas on behalf of her people as she told him of Haman's personal vendetta against her uncle Mordecai. Then, in an interesting twist, while Haman fell upon Esther's couch begging her for mercy, the king thought Haman was actually trying to molest his wife. This only added insult to injury in the eyes of the king. By the king's decree, Haman ended up himself impaled on the very same pole he had set up for Mordecai.
To make matters worse for Haman's wife, friends and sons, King Xerxes made Mordecai second in command of the kingdom, he decreed for Esther to take possession of Haman's estate, all of the enemies of God's people in the land were destroyed, and Haman's sons — about whom he was most boastful — were also killed.
What an important object lesson for us today. Our Heavenly Father will protect His own. He is able to see to it that the pridefully deceitful become ensnared in their own traps. He will turn the schemes of the envious wicked back around on themselves. In short, God don't play.
Therefore, be careful not to let pride and envy overtake you to the point that you're wishing for or even plotting ill will against another person who really hasn't done anything to you. In Haman's case, the fact that Mordecai would not bow down to him is the only thing that got him so mad. Guard your heart and mind against the temptation to bring more glory to yourself than to God or to become vindictive when the glory doesn't come.
A prideful man is never satisfied, which is why Haman was so bothered by, so utterly obsessed with, just one man not bowing down to him in spite of the fact that everyone else in the vast kingdom did.
"The Haman Factor" should also remind us that our unyielding devotion to the Lord comes with its share of haters. When you share the Gospel, defend the truth of God's Word, quote Scripture in context and often, refuse to fornicate, steer clear of gossip, encourage holiness, ignore the lure of other people's money, or choose the truth over "majority rules" — when you refuse to bow down to anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ, the unrighteous indignation of the prideful and envious will get all stirred up, sometimes to the point that the person won't be satisfied until you submit or fall.
Just remember how God intervened for Esther, Mordecai and the people whom He called His very own. So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified. (Esther 7:10) Be encouraged to keep your strong stance for the Lord and for the truth of His Word, knowing that the wicked needs no help digging his own grave.
Image Credit: Ernest Normand (1859-1923); "Esther Denouncing Haman (1888)"; Public Domain
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Sin-Evil
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Published on 10-8-14