Thursday, July 3, 2008

Esther - Roll the Dice and Take Your Chances

Esther 3:7-15 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." So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. "Keep the money," the king said to Haman, "and do with the people as you please." Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman's orders to the king's satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and little children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day. Spurred on by the king's command, the couriers went out, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.

Isn't it ironic how God uses even the evil things people do for His purpose. Haman is 'rolling the dice of chance' to see when he should have all the jews killed. It turns out that 'chance' is telling him they should be killed 11 months from the time they consulted their 'sources'. As we will see, eleven months is just enough time for a retaliatory action to be put in place. Let's look at the king in these verses. Haman plans his evil idea. Obviously, nothing can be done without the approval of the king, but Haman has gotten himself in a pretty good position to make what he wants happen. He goes to the king, convinces him that there are a group of 'people' disregarding the ways of the kingdom and that they should be killed. Haman even says he'll pay the king to get this plan under way.

What does the king do, he says "okay". What happened to our earlier wisdom of 'innocent until proven guilty'? The king doesn't ask who these people are or what they had done or where they came from, he simply lets Haman take control. The king gives him his signet ring, which basically says - you can do whatever you want - perhaps he should've checked out before handing over his identity. Inevitably, Haman sends out his notice from the king to all the land saying, if you're a jew, you will die in eleven months.

But notice what happens in the last verse....
The kings entire kingdom had received the no
tice and wondered, "what the heck?" They had no idea why someone would do something like this to an entire people, for what seemed like no reason. But the king would not know the confusion of his people, Haman was too busy getting him drunk again.

If ever there was an example in the Bible of how hanging out with the wrong people will bring you down, this is it. The king had entrusted his entire credibility to a man that was in it for himself. He gave up his identity to a man whose only intention was to use it for his own jealous plot, no matter the cost to the king. King Xerxes let Haman confuse him by keeping him drunk and out of sorts so as not to figure out what Haman was up to.

We, as Christians, have one source that we can go to that will lead us down the right path - and that is Jesus. If your friends are not walking down that same path to head towards that same source - then why would they be walking beside you? Be wise in who you seek for friendship.

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