Wicked Haman (Esther #9)

Esther 3:1-6

Now, you are introduced to Haman who is a type of the antichrist.  Haman demands worship.  He hates the Jews because their laws forbid them to worship him and that makes him irate.  Persecution comes about because Mordecai will not bow.

Cursed honor (vs 1)

  • Some folks arrive at honor because of sacrifice and others arrive at honor because of self promotion.
  • Self promotion
    • After the plot to kill the king is thwarted, someone is going to lose their job and someone is going to get promoted.  Considering Haman’s character, he must have set himself up as the hero who thwarted the plot.  So Ahasuerus promoted him above everyone.
    • Proverbs 27:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
    • Proverbs 25:27 …for men to search their own glory is not glory.
  • Haman is an Agagite meaning he was related to king Agag of the Amalekites.
    • Amalekites were from the line of Esau (Genesis 36:12)
    • Amalekites were the first to attack Israel when they left Egypt (Exodus 17:8)
    • Saul was told to utterly destroy King Agag and the Amalekites, but he didn’t (1 Samuel 15:32-33 Samuel kills king Agag because Saul won’t)

Culture of idolatry (vs 2)

  • More than respecting the office
    • More than a polite bow is in order here.  People are required to worship before Haman.
    • Reverenced means they would put their face on the ground before Haman.
    • Revelation 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
  • Idolatry in every generation
    • J.C. Ryle said, It may assume different forms, according to the ignorance or the knowledge—the civilization or the barbarism, of those who offer it.  It may be grossly absurd and ludicrous, or it may closely border on truth, and being most superficially defended.  But whether in the adoration of the idol of Juggernaut, or in the adoration of the Pope in St. Peter’s at Rome, the principle of idolatry is in reality the same.  In either case the honor due to God is turned aside from Him, and bestowed on that which is not God.  And whenever this is done, whether in heathen temples or in professedly Christian Churches, there is an act of idolatry.
    • Compatibility
      • First of all, it is completely possible to be a professing Christian and an idolater.  It isn’t right, but it’s entirely possible.  It isn’t necessary to renounce Christianity in order to become an idolater.
      • Idols are never presented as rivals to God.  Idolatry is often a seductive spirit that slides its way in between honoring God under the pretense of an “aid to worship” or an help.
      • Israelites out of Egypt set up idols, not because they hated God.  But largely as a response to needing physical proof of divinity in the absence of Moses and silence of God.
      • Jeroboam in 1 Kings 12:28 didn’t say throw away your worship of God and follow these idols.  He simply said, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  In other words, a help, a convenience to their worship of God.
      • 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that man of sin doesn’t rival God, he seduces the people into replacing God and stealing honor due to Jesus Christ.
    • Cause
      • If you are prone to exalt human intellect and think idolatry too irrational for any strong mind it’s because you have a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature.
      • The cause of idolatry is not mental deprivation, but a corrupt heart that is prone to wander.  Idolatry is a natural product of man’s heart.  Religion is proof of it.  Mankind and worship go hand in hand.
      • Galatians 5:20 tells you that idolatry is a work of the flesh.
      • It shouldn’t be a surprise that over time physical relics, buildings, statues, and such gain honor and Jesus Christ diminishes in honor.
      • J.C. Ryle said again, There is a natural proneness and tendency in us all, to give God a sensual, carnal worship, and not that, which is commanded in His Word.  We are always ready, by reason of our laziness and unbelief, to devise visible helps and stepping-stones in our approaches to Him, and ultimately to give these inventions of our own the honor due to Him.  In fact, idolatry is all natural, downhill, easy, like the broad way.  Spiritual worship is all of grace, all uphill, and all against the grain.  Any worship whatsoever is more pleasing to the natural heart, than worshipping God in the way, which our Lord Christ describes, “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23).
    • Curse
      • Flee idolatry.  If you need to get away from it then you need to identify it.
      • Idolatry is a work of the flesh that is drawn away from Jesus Christ through sensual means
      • God’s peace through prayer and thanksgiving is slowly replaced with a statue or a trinket that is rubbed, spoken to, or hung on a wall.
      • Exodus 32:25 Aaron led the people into idolatry and the result was shame and vulnerability.  “We are having a good time” they might say.  No, you have become prey.
      • Or covetousness and consumerism and the worship of money and stuff.
      • Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
      • Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
      • Covetousness, you say, is not a physical thing.  Bible believers don’t worship idols in the sense of bowing down to statues.  While it may not be statues, covetousness is completely physical in nature.
      • Joshua 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
    • Cure
      • Flee idolatry Paul says.
      • 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
      • 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
      • There isn’t another prescription.  There is no inoculation.  There is no drug or prayer you can say.
      • You say, I can keep reading my Bible and putting idols in front of me and it will be OK.
      • You need to realize we don’t have the joy, the peace, the filling of the Holy Spirit like we ought to because we continue to compromise with idols.  The problem is those idols don’t provide joy, peace, love, and there should be no wondering why.

Criminal offense (vss 3-4)

  • What you’re doing is against the law!
  • When the world finds out you aren’t going to conform, this is where they will threaten you.
  • As a rule, God’s people are to obey the laws.  Disobedience to God given authority is disobedience to God.
    • Peter said honor the king in 1 Peter 2:13-17.  The king was Nero at the time.
    • Peter didn’t obey the law because he trusted Nero, he obeyed as much as he could because he trusted God.
    • Disobedience to Mom and Dad is a problem with the God given authority in your life, and is ultimately a problem you have with God.
  • Now, because authority is delegated by God, and authority originated with God, when government breaks the laws of God, or steps where God has said don’t step there are reasonable cases of civil disobedience.
    • Hebrews 11:23 & Exodus 1:15-22—midwives sparing the babies
    • Daniel 6:8-13—Daniel’s prayer
    • Acts 5:28-29—Peter forbidden to preach
    • Revelation 14:9-13—avoid taking the mark
    • And Mordecai here in Esther.

Continual pressure (vs 4)

  • Daily pressure
    • Here’s why you hear over and over about daily devotional time with the Lord.  Because your temptations will be daily.
  • Mordecai explains that he is a Jew and is forbidden to worship any except God.

Crazed adversary (vs 5)

  • Temptation turns to threat, you know you’re obedience is making a difference.
  • Hebrews 12:3-4 …faint in your minds… resisted unto blood….
  • 1 Peter 3:14-17

Chartered genocide (vs 6)

  • Haman seeks to destroy Mordecai and Mordecai’s people because they will not bow to him.