Hunkered Down Devotion

Esther 7:9-10 (Voice)
9 Harbonah: Look! Haman has prepared a 75-foot pole for execution in his own courtyard. He was hoping to use it to hang Mordecai, the man who spoke up and saved the king.
King Ahasuerus: Well, hang him on it!
10 So they took Haman and killed him and displayed him on the pole he had made ready for Mordecai. And King Ahasuerus’ anger subsided.

Haman is the undisputed villain of the Esther story.  His hatred and anger towards the Jewish people fuel his evil plan to commit genocide and remove all of the Israelites from the Persian Empire, if not the entire world.  His hatred of them is so intense, that not only does he plan to have them all killed, with his own hands he builds a giant, grotesque gallows to hang one particular enemy, Mordecai, from.  Haman sets a plan in motion and works every angle until he is convinced that the outcome is assured.

Part of his plan revolved around a strange rule that once the king had attached his seal to a decree (law) it could not be rescinded, even by the king himself.  Ahasuerus plays a somewhat unwitting role in the plan, and goes along exactly as Haman had hoped.  

In the end, it is only because of the grace and providence of God, and the faithfulness and bravery of Esther, that saves the Israelites from certain doom.  In an instant, when Haman realizes that not only has Esther foiled his plan, but she has exposed his treachery and he is now the one in danger his morbid glee turns to despair.

At this point, where our passage picks up the story, one of the servants Haman had mistreated takes the opportunity to point out the work of Haman’s hand – and the most vile part of his plan – the giant gallows erected in front of his house.  And so it goes, that Haman’s demise comes from the work of his own hands, as he is executed on the gallows he himself constructed.  

Haman didn’t literally dig his own grave, but he came as close as one possibly can.  His life and death pose a piercing question for all of us: what is it that we are building with the work of our lives?  What is it that motivates and drives all of our actions?  For Haman, without question what motivated his whole life was his hatred for the Jews.  And because of that, the seeds he planted in his life were seeds of destruction.  

When we allow hatred, jealousy, envy, lust or any of those base emotions to be the driving force in our lives, all too often we become instruments of our own demise.  Conversely, when we live focused on Jesus, engaged in serving him and others, we produce a much different kind of fruit, the kind that, when harvested, brings hope, peace, and joy.  A focus on God’s love and grace allows us to build up – ourselves and others – instead of digging our own graves.  
Sharing God’s Love, 

Prayer:  Holy God, help us to be motivated not by greed, hate, or jealousy, but by love and grace and peace. Amen.

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