Esther - A Day In The Life Of The Prime Minister

Week 20 The Story

Esther – A Day in the Life of the Prime Minister

(In which an evil man gathers enough rope to hang himself)

Esther 5

In recent years, the news media had a heyday reporting the questionable (and usually illegal) behavior of well-known people, including professional athletes, politicians, preachers, presidents of financial institutions, and royalty. From “Watergate” to “Iran Gate,” the investigative reporters have been kept busy digging up news to satisfy the public’s insatiable appetite for scandal.

If all this journalistic activity accomplished nothing else, it certainly underscored the significance of the biblical warning, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). People may succeed for a time in covering up disgraceful activities, but eventually the truth surfaces, and everybody knows what’s going on. And the culprit discovers that the wrong we do others, we do ourselves.

It will help to know the characters in this story of Esther. There is King Xerxes of Persia, otherwise known as Ahasuerus. He has the distinction of being the only person in the Bible whose name begins with X. Not much else can be said of him. He was a blowhard and a show-off, and anybody with an eighth-grade education could wrap him around his little finger without half trying. Or, in this case, her little finger.

Evil doing is of course not limited to present day. It can be found in the past. The story of Ester is such a story of reported evil and wrong-doing. To understand this story is important to know the players. There was Haman, Xerxes’ right-hand man and raging anti-Semite. There was also a Jew named Mordecai, who lived in the capital, and one day when Haman came prancing by, Mordecai refused to flatten himself and grovel in the dust like everybody else. This was the break Haman had been waiting for. He told Xerxes about Mordecai’s insubordination and rudeness and said it was a vivid illustration of how the Jews as a whole were a miserable lot. He said if you let one them in, they brought their friends, and Persia was crawling with them. He said the only laws they respected were their own, and it was obvious they didn’t give a hoot in hell about the king or anybody else. He then said that, as far as he was concerned, the only thing to do was exterminate the whole pack of them like rats and offered the king ten thousand in cash for the privilege of organizing the operation. Xerxes pocketed the cash and told him to go ahead.

The words of Psalm 7:14-16 make me think of Hayman: “He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.”

Haman’s hatred of the Jews in general, Mordecai in particular, had so poisoned his system that he couldn’t even enjoy talking about his greatness! “But all this gives me no satisfaction,” he admitted, “as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate” (v. 13).

Malice is that deep-seated hatred that brings delight if our enemy suffers and pain if our enemy succeeds. Malice can never forgive, it must always take revenge. Malice has a good memory for hurts and a bad memory for kindness. In 1 Corinthians 5:8, Paul compared malice to yeast, because, like yeast, malice begins very small but gradually grows and finally permeates the whole of life. Malice in the Christian’s heart grieves the Holy Spirit and must be put out of our lives (Ephesians 4:30-32; Colossians 3:8).

The insidious thing about malice is that it has to act: eventually it must express itself. But when you shoot at your enemy, beware! For the ammunition usually ricochets off the target and comes back to wound the shooter! If a person wants to self-destruct, the fastest way to do it is to be like Haman and cultivate a malicious spirit.

But to our main character, there was also Queen Esther, a good-looking Jewish girl who was both a cousin of Mordecai’s and Xerxes’ second wife. As soon as she got wind of what Haman was up to, she decided to do what she could to save her people from the gas chamber. Xerxes had a rather short fuse, and you had to know how to handle him, but she planned her strategy carefully, and by the time she was through, she’d not only talked him out of letting the Jews getting exterminated, but had gotten him to hang Haman from the same gallows that had been set up for Mordecai. She even managed to persuade Xerxes to give Mordecai Haman’s old job.

There is a law of retribution in this world declaring that the person who maliciously seeks to destroy others ends up destroying himself. The French existentialist Albert Camus wrote in his novel The Fall: “There’s no need to hang about waiting for the last judgment – it takes place every day.”

          Though the mills of God grind slowly,

          yet they grind exceeding small,

          Though with patience He stands waiting,

          with exactness grinds He all. -

Friedrich Von Logau

 

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and the greatness of his folly he shall go astray” (Proverbs 5:21-23).

 

 

 

MCDOWELL’S MUSINGS, METAPHORS, AND MESSAGES

Week 20 The Story

Esther – A Day in the Life of the Prime Minister

(In which an evil man gathers enough rope to hang himself)

Esther 5

In recent years, the news media had a heyday reporting the questionable (and usually illegal) behavior of well-known people, including professional athletes, politicians, preachers, presidents of financial institutions, and royalty. From “Watergate” to “Iran Gate,” the investigative reporters have been kept busy digging up news to satisfy the public’s insatiable appetite for scandal.

If all this journalistic activity accomplished nothing else, it certainly underscored the significance of the biblical warning, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). People may succeed for a time in covering up disgraceful activities, but eventually the truth surfaces, and everybody knows what’s going on. And the culprit discovers that the wrong we do others, we do ourselves.

It will help to know the characters in this story of Esther. There is King Xerxes of Persia, otherwise known as Ahasuerus. He has the distinction of being the only person in the Bible whose name begins with X. Not much else can be said of him. He was a blowhard and a show-off, and anybody with an eighth-grade education could wrap him around his little finger without half trying. Or, in this case, her little finger.

Evil doing is of course not limited to present day. It can be found in the past. The story of Ester is such a story of reported evil and wrong-doing. To understand this story is important to know the players. There was Haman, Xerxes’ right-hand man and raging anti-Semite. There was also a Jew named Mordecai, who lived in the capital, and one day when Haman came prancing by, Mordecai refused to flatten himself and grovel in the dust like everybody else. This was the break Haman had been waiting for. He told Xerxes about Mordecai’s insubordination and rudeness and said it was a vivid illustration of how the Jews as a whole were a miserable lot. He said if you let one them in, they brought their friends, and Persia was crawling with them. He said the only laws they respected were their own, and it was obvious they didn’t give a hoot in hell about the king or anybody else. He then said that, as far as he was concerned, the only thing to do was exterminate the whole pack of them like rats and offered the king ten thousand in cash for the privilege of organizing the operation. Xerxes pocketed the cash and told him to go ahead.

The words of Psalm 7:14-16 make me think of Hayman: “He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.”

Haman’s hatred of the Jews in general, Mordecai in particular, had so poisoned his system that he couldn’t even enjoy talking about his greatness! “But all this gives me no satisfaction,” he admitted, “as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate” (v. 13).

Malice is that deep-seated hatred that brings delight if our enemy suffers and pain if our enemy succeeds. Malice can never forgive, it must always take revenge. Malice has a good memory for hurts and a bad memory for kindness. In 1 Corinthians 5:8, Paul compared malice to yeast, because, like yeast, malice begins very small but gradually grows and finally permeates the whole of life. Malice in the Christian’s heart grieves the Holy Spirit and must be put out of our lives (Ephesians 4:30-32; Colossians 3:8).

The insidious thing about malice is that it has to act: eventually it must express itself. But when you shoot at your enemy, beware! For the ammunition usually ricochets off the target and comes back to wound the shooter! If a person wants to self-destruct, the fastest way to do it is to be like Haman and cultivate a malicious spirit.

But to our main character, there was also Queen Esther, a good-looking Jewish girl who was both a cousin of Mordecai’s and Xerxes’ second wife. As soon as she got wind of what Haman was up to, she decided to do what she could to save her people from the gas chamber. Xerxes had a rather short fuse, and you had to know how to handle him, but she planned her strategy carefully, and by the time she was through, she’d not only talked him out of letting the Jews getting exterminated, but had gotten him to hang Haman from the same gallows that had been set up for Mordecai. She even managed to persuade Xerxes to give Mordecai Haman’s old job.

There is a law of retribution in this world declaring that the person who maliciously seeks to destroy others ends up destroying himself. The French existentialist Albert Camus wrote in his novel The Fall: “There’s no need to hang about waiting for the last judgment – it takes place every day.”

          Though the mills of God grind slowly,

          yet they grind exceeding small,

          Though with patience He stands waiting,

          with exactness grinds He all. -

Friedrich Von Logau

 “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and the greatness of his folly he shall go astray” (Proverbs 5:21-23).

 

 

 

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