Esther 3:7 – 9 “In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, they cast the pur (that is, the lot) in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar. Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business.”
Oh, Haman. Poor guy. He thought he had it all together, didn’t he? He thought he had it all taken care of. He cast lots to determine when to kill the Jews. But little did he know that God, the King of the Jews, controls the lots! Once the date was set, and the plan put into action, Esther had almost a year to plea her case to her husband. Haman should never have messed with God or His people. The poor guy didn’t stand a chance.
But in order to bring his plan to completion, Haman had to obtain written permission from the king. We already know that Xerxes didn’t always weigh the results of his actions carefully. After all, look what he did with Vashti, and he regretted it later. Haman surely knew this about the king, and he played to Xerxes’ pride, his temper, and his greed.
He told him, “These people are different.” Now, for a king who had hundreds of gold goblets, each one different from the others, you’d think he would value the unique nature of these people. But Haman had said these people didn’t obey the king’s laws. And we all know what a prideful man Xerxes was. He wouldn’t tolerate his own wife’s disobedience, even though she had a perfectly good reason not to obey. He certainly wasn’t going to tolerate disobedience from a group of people he didn’t even know.
But Haman also knew of Xerxes’ greed. He said, “I’ll give a huge sum of money to the king’s treasury if you will destroy these people.” Xerxes certainly didn’t lose any sleep over the decision. As we will learn in the next verses, the king agreed without much discussion.
Haman was a clever, scheming, manipulative man. But he was nothing compared to Satan. Satan not only wants to destroy us, but he will use us to destroy others – our family, friends, and the body of Christ. Satan knows our weaknesses, and he will play to those. He will tempt us and manipulate us, if we are not careful. That is why it is so important to stay close to God, to seek His wisdom, and to weigh our choices with God’s Word and prayer.
Xerxes didn’t know it, but he was being asked to destroy Mordecai – the very man who saved him. He was being asked to destroy his own wife, with whom he was smitten. And had it not been for God’s intervention, that’s exactly what would have happened. The knowledge of this, after the fact, might well have destroyed Xerxes.
We’d do well to remember this, when we are tempted to cut down, tear down, and yes, destroy another person with our words. God wants us to build up, not destroy. He wants us to lift each other up, not tear each other down. When we catch ourselves involved in destructive talk, we align ourselves with Haman, and with Satan – who is called “The Slanderer”. Let’s not be like Xerxes, and give in easily to Satan’s manipulations. Instead, let’s recognize all destructive talk for what it is – the enemy’s ploy to destroy us and others.
Dear Father, Please forgive me for the times I have been like Haman – slandering other people for no reason. Please help me to control my speech, and to build others up with my words.