Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Study of the Book of Esther: Week Three, Day Two

Day Two: Haman's Rage

"And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" - James 4:6

     We live in an entitled world these days. Everything around us screams out to us that we need more, should want more, deserve more, and in reality, all of that couldn't be further from the truth. Honestly, all that we have is only because of the grace of God. We don't want what we really deserve. What we really deserve is death and hell, eternal separation from God. Because of God's gracious gift of His son, a miracle and an honor that we didn't deserve but will celebrate in just a few short days when Easter Sunday arrives, we are blessed with more than we deserve.
     Paul really said it best in 2 Timothy 1:9-

"For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus."

     If only Haman had known all of this. Maybe this story would have taken a different turn. Read Esther 5:9-14. What was Haman feeling as he left the banquet (5:9)?

To what feeling did he quickly switch when he saw Mordecai (5:9)?

Why did he feel that way (5:9)?

What did Haman do when he got home (5:10-11)?

Reflection: Why do you suppose Haman responded that way after being so angry just one verse back?

     I think this all boils down to making himself feel better and more important. Haman has allowed so much outside influence dictate his worth that he has to climb all over others and knock them as far down as possible in order to build himself up. He is missing out on a great blessing that he could be getting straight from God- if only he knew Him. It's something that we, as followers, have access to always. Our worth in God.
     Our worth is directly tied to God and the perfect gift He gave us on the cross. Nothing and no one can tell me or you what we are worth. My value is huge because I am a daughter of Christ. Period. What I do, how I react to my kids or my friends, the feelings I'm feeling? None of it is the truth. I have value because God says so and so do you. God says He loves you the you are right now. He doesn't say He will love you IF you do this or that. He loves you right here and right now.
But again, Haman has no idea.

What does Haman brag about to lift himself up (5:12)?

What complaint does Haman add after bragging (5:13)?

     We can choose our response. Sometimes are harder than others, but we are in charge of our own emotions, our brains, our own reactions. Haman chose to focus on what Mordecai was not doing for him rather than on the honor of dining with the king. He focused on his judgments and anger at Mordecai rather than the promotion he received.
     A few years ago, my family and I went on a vacation together. I was in charge of booking the hotel and making the tentative plans for how we'd spend our time, where we'd eat, etc. I chose a hotel that I remembered fondly from my own childhood. When we walked in, it was just as grand as I remembered. It brought back nice memories. The rooms were clean and spacious. We got breakfast with our lodgings. It was fantastic. But there was this one tiny issue. They were renovating the pool. I'd been counting on being able to take the kids swimming in that pool. It was still late winter/early spring. A pool was the perfect out-of-the-ordinary, free (ish) activity. And we couldn't use it. I let that one tiny issue destroy our time at that hotel. I was so focused on the one small, inconvenient event in my life that I didn't enjoy the many other blessings we had on that trip.

What does Haman decide to do to deal with his own "inconvenient" problem (5:14)?

Personal Reflection: Thinking about an event in your recent past or even one you are currently going through, how could things be different if you thanked Jesus for the blessings along the way and focused on those rather than all that's gone/going wrong?

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