TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:11 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Let’s spend time in Esther today. The core of the story boils down to this, “Perhaps you were made for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). It’s a wonderful, inspiring story of Queen Esther’s willingness to sacrifice for her people with the attitude of, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). The focus is generally on Esther and her cousin Mordecai. But today, I want to talk about the antagonist in Esther—Haman.
Haman was a man of great ambition who had a direct line to the king. He also expected and enjoyed accolades and attention. In Esther 3:2, it says, “And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage.”
Mordecai’s refusal to bow to Haman created a bitterness so great that Haman wanted to destroy ALL the Jews… not merely the one Jew who had offended him (Esther 3:6). In Esther 3:8-15, Haman made his case to the king and a royal order was issued.
But, plot twist! Mordecai had earlier saved the king from assassination. Esther 2:19-23 outlines how Mordecai thwarted the nefarious plans of two would-be assassins. But it wasn’t until Esther 6 that the king learned about the failed assassination attempt. Haman, in his zeal to wipe out the Jews, had not counted on what happened next.
The king asked Haman, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” (Esther 6:6b). Haman outlined an over-the-top suggestion, thinking that the king was preparing to honor him. But, Haman probably about choked on his own tongue when he realized in verse 10 that the king was seeking to honor Mordecai. In what can be only described as humiliation of biblical proportions, Haman was ordered to lavish his own suggestion for extraordinary praise on his mortal enemy and parade him through the city while shouting, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor” (Esther 6:11 ESV).
In the end, Haman’s plan to eradicate the Jews failed. He was ultimately hung on gallows he had constructed for Mordecai. And with that summation of Haman in place, let’s talk about what we can learn from his example.
Haman wasn’t loyal to the king. He was using the king for his own self-promoting schemes. Haman was selfish and self-serving. He was a man full of anger and hostility. And when he hated, he hated with a furious intensity. We can learn a lot about what NOT to do from those points alone. But as we can see, his singular hatred blocked him from recognizing anything positive about someone he despised. He was full of bias. And that’s our focus today.
Bias is a word we’re all familiar with… bias is in favor OF or AGAINST someone else. A prime example of bias is journalism. What was once a noble profession of writing in order to inform, today’s journalism is littered with objective opinions and personal bias. It’s why we can’t trust our media anymore.
Most of us tend to be biased towards our family and friends. And we are biased against people we don’t like. We don’t always see the full scope of things because of our bias. Our bias may cause us to overlook behavior issues from those we love, or refuse to give due credit to those we don’t like. We can be as stubborn as Haman, especially with those we don’t like.
As you contemplate your own bias for both people you know, and perhaps even people you don’t know, can we stop and collectively be grateful that God refuses to look at us the way we look at others? Even though He loves us, He won’t ignore our sins, but He will discipline us as a loving, Heavenly Father should… And even though we sin, God doesn’t singularly focus on all we do wrong, but He sees the redeeming blood of Jesus has made us clean.
Peter learned this lesson after a vision from the Holy Spirit in Acts 10. In the vision, Peter was ordered to eat of animals that the Jews had long-considered to be unclean. But, in verse 15, it says, “And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” As we scroll down, verses 34-35 reveal Peter’s Ah-Ha moment, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
Haman never learned this truth. Peter did. Which one are you like? Can you see beyond personal bias to look at others the way Jesus looks at you?
Today, as you pray, thank God for loving all of us. Thank Him for His discipline and thank Him for looking beyond our faults but seeing the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be objective… to give you eyes to see other people, even ones you don’t like, as created beings loved every bit as much as you are. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see others through the grace of God.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Download a free Bible-In-A-Year Reading Plan when you subscribe! Join an online prayer group at www.facebook.com/groups/onlineandonourkneesprayergroup. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.