Summary: Haman didn’t care what his revenge was going to cost. Ahaseurus didn’t care that his kingdom was in chaos. Do you care about the world around you and how your actions affect it? Jesus does.
August 10, 2003 Esther 3
“Do you care?”
So far in the book of Esther, we have been introduced to four of the five main characters. In chapter 1, we met King Xerxes and his wife Queen Vashti. We discovered that the king loved to be in control and when he found that he could not control his own wife, he lost control of his temper and deposed her from the throne and banished her from his presence. At the advice of his counselors, King Xerxes held the first “Miss Persia” pageant to find a new bride. Chapter 2 is the record of how that pageant progressed and how Esther, a beautiful young Jewish girl who had been raised by her cousin Mordecai came to the attention of the king. Though it cost her a denial of who she was and what she believed in, Esther became queen.
Our first four characters – a former queen (Vashti), a controlling king (Xerxes), a behind-the-scenes cousin (Mordecai) and a compromising young Jewish girl (Esther). This morning, we will meet the 5th and final main character – Haman. His name will not be hard to remember, because all of his recorded actions are motivated by an emotion that sounds very much like his name – hate. Haman is the kind of character that you love to hate. Haman was ruled by that emotion. As we progress through Esther, we will find that it was Haman’s hate that eventually destroyed him.
Hate will always destroy the person that it controls. That person will get to the point that all that he/she cares about is destroying the object of his hatred. They don’t care about who else gets hurt in the process. They don’t care what they have to do or how they have to do it in order to achieve their goal. They end up caring about nothing but themselves. Do you know anybody like that? Are any of you headed in that direction? Let’s see how it came about in the life of Haman and what his hate prompted him to do.
The animosity (vs. 1-6) – bad feelings
The chapter begins with the words, “After these events.” The events that it is referring to happened in 2:21-23. We talked about them last week, but let me refresh your memory. Two of Xerxes’ officials were unhappy with him and were working on plans to assassinate him. Mordecai, who was Esther’s cousin, found out about the plot and told what he knew to Queen Esther. Then, she passed it along to the king making sure that the king knew that it was Mordecai who was responsible for discovering this information. The king investigated it, found it to be true, and executed the disgruntled officials. Justice was done. The bad guys were punished, and we expect that Mordecai will be rewarded since he had saved the king’s life. But like any good story, events often do not happen as we expect them to. Look at the rest of vs. 1. [read it]
Mordecai’s name should be where Haman’s is. Mordecai was the one who deserved to be elevated for his act of bravery and loyalty to the king. What had Haman done for the king? It’s not even significant enough to have been recorded. We might be able to understand his promotion if he was one of the king’s 7 advisers who had served him so faithfully, but he was not. Their names are listed in 1:14, and you won’t find “Haman” in that list. For Haman to be promoted over Mordecai or these 7 other guys makes no sense.
Last week, I told you that life is painful. Life is “also unfair”. Sin goes unchecked and unpunished. Goodness and kindness and loyalty go unrewarded. “… Why? Because of evil. When righteousness rules, justice reigns; but when evil lurks in a heart, injustice follows.” - Esther, by Chuck Swindoll, p. 62-73 Mordecai lived under the rule of an evil king. He couldn’t expect that king to behave according to godly standards.
Probably everyone here has endured some unfairness. Someone else got the promotion that should have rightly been yours. You have been faithful to your spouse for the entire length of your marriage, but you discover that your spouse has been cheating on you. You keep the secrets that your friend shares with you, but they do not exercise the same level of self-control and blab your secrets to anyone who is willing to listen. Injustice hurts. It is tempting to retaliate against that person who has hurt you. A word of advice - wait until the end of the story to see if justice is going to be done rather than basing your reactions on the first few chapters of your life. Remember that God said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, [says] the Lord.” (Rom. 12:19 KJV) It is also tempting to conclude that it isn’t worth it to do good if good isn’t going to be rewarded and decide that from now on, the only person that you’re going to look out for is #1. (Gal 6:9) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.