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Friday, March 19, 2021

Lancaster County farm (click to enlarge)
We drove past this quintessential Lancaster County farm today. In a few weeks we hope to see this barren tree sprout some new leaves since spring officially begins tomorrow!
(click to enlarge)

"Haman the Agagite"

Message summary:  Haman's life is an example of the fate that faces those who oppose God and His people.

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"When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage" (Esther 3:5). "Haman went out that day joyful and pleased of heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai at the kingís gate and that he did not stand up or tremble before him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai" (Esther 5:9).

The two main characters in the book of Esther are Esther and Mordecai, whom we've studied the last two messages. But a third prominent character is the chief antagonist, Haman the Agagite. In the Sight and Sound dramatic presentation we saw on Wednesday afternoon he is introduced with this narrative, "the serpent has entered the garden"; clearly, an allusion to the serpent in the original Garden of Eden. We must ever be on our guard against the many "serpents" that will enter into the garden of our own life, bringing deception, disillusionment and disaster.

Haman the AgagiteHaman the Agagite is likely a descendant of the Amalekite King Agag from 500 years earlier, yet as history attests, hatred can last for many generations. He is the notorious architect of the intended destruction of the Jews during their exilic stay in Persia (Esther 3:1). But God used Queen Esther and Mordecai, her close relative who loved her like a father, as the agents of His salvation. Haman himself was executed on the very gallows he had erected for Mordecai.

The deliverance prompted the Jewish Feast of Purim which devout Jews still celebrate in remembrance of their victory from annihilation by Haman. At the Purim celebrations, Jews publicly read the book of Esther and every time the name Haman is about to be pronounced, people drown out the voice of the reader with shouts and noise-making toys!

In fact, Ester along with Jesse and his children, overheard a group of people sitting behind them at Sight and Sound on Thursday cry out "boo" at the mention of Haman's name. We wonder if these were Jews who are familiar with the practices of the Jewish Purim celebrations. Brooksyne and I were seated on another side of the theater and didn't hear them. Ester told us about it later and thought them to be rude. We would have as well, so it's interesting to research and find out a little more about Jewish tradition!

Haman's life is an example of the fate of those who oppose God and His people. Setting oneself against God and persecuting His people is futileóit did not work for Haman, it did not work for Antiochus Epiphanes, it did not work for Adolph Hitler, and it will not work for the Antichrist. (from gotquestions.org)

From Hamanís life we can learn several things:

1. If you set yourself up against God and His people, you will fail.
2. Pride goes before the fall.
3. You reap what you sow.
4. Godís methods vary in different times, in different settings, in different people and in different people groups but His promises are never broken.

There are several overarching lessons in the Book of Esther including these themes: 
  • Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.
  • Trust that all things will eventually work out for the good (Romans 8:28).
  • The very trap that an individual sets can actually backfire and capture the trapper. Proverbs 29:25 was exactly true of Haman, "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe".

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, so many principles we learn from Scripture are evidenced in the rescue of Your people during the reign of Queen Esther. We see the miraculous consequences of Esther's obedience to Your plan for her life and that of her people.  We see how "pride goes before the fall" in the life of proud Haman, whose deception and manipulation led to his own humiliating demise. We see the love and oversight of Esther through the life of Mordecai as he lovingly looked after her, much like we are called to look after the widows and orphans. We especially see Your favor upon Your chosen people as You brought about deliverance to those who would otherwise be executed. Just as You raised up Esther to intercede for her people, You sent Jesus to intercede for us, by paying the price for our sins so that we might be delivered and receive the crown of life for all eternity. Thank You for Your mercies that endure for all time. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLEģ, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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