The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), September 15
The book of Esther provides a peek into the lives of the exiles nearly one hundred years after they go into captivity under the Babylonians. Esther’s story demonstrates God’s care for those who remain in captivity instead of returning to Judah.
The Jews in captivity are subject to the culture and laws of the land. Because of her beauty, Esther is taken into the harem of King Ahasuerus, and her guardian, Mordecai, is helpless to help her. Haman, a high official in the king’s administration, is heart-bent on destroying Mordecai and the Jews. God, however, uses these circumstances to rescue the Jews at large.
Haman’s relentless pursuit of Mordecai leads to his own downfall. He has all that any man could want (wealth, position, prestige, family), but nothing pleases him, because Mordecai lives, “Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate” (Esther 5:13). Haman loses all that he has in his attempt to obtain the one thing that he cannot―Mordecai’s reverence and the bended knees of God-worshippers.
Ode to Haman
Be careful the gallows that for others you build;
Instead of your foes, your own fate you’ve sealed.
Swollen thumbs and swollen heads;
One soon heals, the other lies dead.
The exaltation of one at the demise of the other,
Causing a day of mourning for one mother.
A position of authority should be ruled with grace,
One day you may need mercy’s embrace.
Only build for others what you yourself need;
Observe Haman’s sad warning and take heed.
Truths learned about small men in high positions, in comparison to great men serving in influential positions:
- Small men divide people; great men unify people.
- Small men lead by using hammers and gallows; great men use grace and reward.
- Small men use and abuse others to stroke their ego; great men build others up.
- Small men use the law to imprison others; great men use the law to free others.
- Small men are self-centered; great men are others-centered.
- Small men demand loyalty; great men win loyalty.
- Small men take every slight seriously, while great men learn not to take to account everything everyone says (Eccl. 7:21-22).
- Small men isolate and attack vulnerable people; great men protect them.
- Small men create greater joy in their removal from office than in their reign.
How do vulnerable people respond to small leaders? They trust in God Omnipotent and pray that small leaders may be hung by their own devices. They also believe that God does not need their help to bring down small men in high places.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Esther 5:1-10:3):
Although the name of God doesn’t appear in the book of Esther, how would you describe the way He works among the exiles?
Read Psalms 75:6-7. How does the LORD use the exaltation of Haman, Esther, and Mordecai to accomplish His purposes?