Saturday, December 15, 2012

Esther: God's Timing - God's Revenge

Esther: God’s Timing - God’s Revenge


“So Haman came in, and the king asked him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought in his heart, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” – Esther 6:6

God’s timing is always perfect, and in His timing He works all things for our good.  Years had gone by since Mordecai had saved King Ahasuerus’ life.  He had revealed the plot of two of his officers to murder the king.  But in all the years that had passed, no reward had been giving to Mordecai and no announcement of his good deed had been made public. 
But on this night the king could not sleep.  He called for the history of the king’s affairs, called the record of Chronicles, to be read to him.  As it was read, the record of Mordecai’s good deed to the king was read.  The king was perplexed, and said What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” and his servants answered, “Nothing has been done for him.”

Meanwhile Haman had left his house to report in for work at the king’s palace.  The night before, as his ego had been cut raw when Mordecai once again did not bowing to him in worship, he had built gallows that stood fifty cubits high.  In our measurements, that would be equal to seventy five feet, or the equivalent of about seven stories high.  As he passed by the gallows, his heart must have swelled once again with self-pride at the wondrous plan of revenge he had crafted.  Not only would he have all Jews killed to assure Mordecai was out of his life, but he would have Mordecai hanged as an example to everyone else who might disrespect him.
As he entered the king’s court to suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged in the gallows, King Ahasuerus is looking for advice on what reward this same man, Mordecai,  should receive, having years ago saved the king’s life.  King Ahasuerus calls to Haman, and asks him “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?”  Haman’s heart bubbled up and overflowed with the sewage of pride as he thought “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?”

Now Haman is faced with a decision.  If the king were to honor him, what would he choose to be the method?  This is where we see what is really in Haman’s heart.  This is where we see Haman’s motivation for living.  Haman says, assuming he is the one that the king wants to honor, For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head.  Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’”  So Haman chooses a pony ride, and to play dress-up in the kings clothes!  He wants to be king!  He wants to be top dog, Mr. “It”, the One and Only…Haman.
Oh how sweet is revenge when it is given over to the hands of God!  God knows the heart of man, and best knows how to inflict revenge for his servants, and to extract the punishment that is just and beneficial from the enemy.  In His perfect timing, Mordecai’s good deeds are to be rewarded at the hand of his enemy, Haman.

How Haman must have become nauseated, and broke into a cold sweat when he heard the king’s command!  King Ahasuerus commanded Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.” Leave nothing undone of what YOU have spoken, Haman! Do exactly what you wanted for yourself to your greatest enemy.  Exalt the one you hate.  Show favor to the one who crushes your ego daily.  Haman had no choice but to dress Mordecai in the king’s finest, put him on the back of the king’s horse, and parade him through the city, loudly proclaiming Mordecai’s goodness. 
Afterward, Mordecai went back to his job at the king’s gate.  His pride was not swelled with the honor the king had bestowed on him.  But Haman, poor Haman, hurried back to his house in mourning with his head covered!  He called together his wife and friends and told them of what had happened to seek solace from the pain of broken pride.  But all they could offer him was the assurance that Mordecai was still a Jew, and the decree to kill them all that was crafted from his evil heart still stood as law. 

Romans 12:19-21 tells us not to seek our own revenge when we are mistreated, but that Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says God.  But we often stop there, and beg God to hurry punishment for our enemy without looking at what we are to do in the meantime.  Our goal should always be to turn our enemy into our friend, for we are to love one another even as Christ loved us.  The remaining verses tell us to be kind to our enemy, and overcome their evil with our good.  It says If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 
Heaping coals of fire on our enemy’s head sounds like something that would cause them pain, but in fact, it does not mean you set fire to their heads.  In those days, fire was kept in each household for warmth and cooking.  When the fire went out, the owner of the house would put a basket on their head and go to their neighbors requesting coals to restart their fire.  Heaping coals of fire onto their head, into the basket, would be doing them a great favor in helping them restart the fire.  Your enemy should become your friend by your care for them and helping them solve their problems.  If while you wait for God’s vengeance that does not happen, rest assured, His divine punishment is enough.

Mordecai did not seek revenge on Haman, nor did he approach him when he had signed into law the mass murder of the Jews.  Mordecai took it to God, and waited.  He went about his daily business and worshipped God. In His perfect timing, God found a way to inflict a punishment on Haman that humbled him, shown by him covering his head and going into mourning.  God knows the hearts of all men, and revenge is always best left in His hands.

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