Esther 3:1-15, Psalm 68:20, Proverbs 16:33
As I write this, images of human hatred and bigotry flash across news outlets—the type of deep-seated hatred that often spills into deadly violence. As I have watched these events unfold, I’ve fought back tears of anger. I’ve also experienced a strange sense of déjà vu, a poignant reminder that things are still not as they should be.
The images in our news outlets look eerily familiar to the narratives of biblical history. This chapter of Esther reminds me that such conflicts are nothing new. Even Haman the Agagite’s plot to destroy Mordecai and the Jews mirrors the ancient conflict between these two people groups. The tension is only heightened as Ahasuerus, the king of the Amalekites—ancient enemies of the Jews (Exodus 17:8-16)—is brought into the picture.
This helps us understand Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to Haman. Bowing was was normal protocol for a king’s official, but it would have jeopardized Mordecai’s conscience as a God-fearing Jew.
Mordecai’s refusal to bow was the prime opportunity for Haman to finally destroy the Jews living in the kingdom of Ahasuerus, something he had been plotting for years. As the story unfolds, the imminent massacre of God’s people seems inevitable. As Haman and the king await the outpouring of Jewish blood, they celebrate by pouring one another drinks.
From our perspective it often seems like evil has won the day. Nevertheless, narratives like this remind us that our omniscient God will have the final say. “The lot is cast into the lap [of man], but its every decision is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33).
Haman’s authorized exchange, silver for the slaughter of God’s people, is ironically similar to the Gospel accounts of authorities exchanging silver for the slaughter of God’s only Son. Haman and the king may have rejoiced over Israel’s supposed destruction. Satan may have rejoiced at the supposed destruction of God’s Son. However, “Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death” (Psalm 68:20).
This is the great irony of God’s grace and providence. Evil people plot and plan, but history is guided by God’s providential hand (Isaiah 55:8–9). In fact, all of human history finds its resolve in the cross and resurrection of the Son of God, where good triumphs over evil. It doesn’t matter if we are looking back into ancient history or weeping over the weekend’s news, our God is good. His gospel is sure. When Christ returns, every evil plot will be foiled. Things will finally be as they should be.
Written by Matt Capps