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Satan Doesn't Sleep!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The book of Esther is often noted as a book where God’s name is not mentioned, but His “fingerprints” are all over the book. I would suggest that this could also be said about Satan. Satan is not specifically mentioned in the book. Yet, there is no denying that he is in this book.

What do I mean by this? Consider the fact that Haman worked hard to kill all of the Jews. Satan tempted Haman through the pride (vainglory) of life to be offended that Mordecai would not bow to him (Est. 2:5; I Jn. 2:15-17). He allowed this to foment and it resulted in envy and anger toward Mordecai and all of the Jews. “Mordecai must be taught a lesson, and all others must understand that this is what happens to those who do not bow down to me!” Mordecai believed that not only will the offender be killed, but his family and nation will fall as a consequence.

This law played into Satan’s hands. It was not merely because of the death and mayhem that would result. It played into Satan’s hands because if one can kill the Jews, then this person has effectively stopped Christ from coming into the world! We must remember that Jesus was promised to come through the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 11:1-5; Jer. 23:5-6; Heb. 7:14; Rev. 5:5). Therefore, if one can kill the tribe of Judah, then Jesus can be prevented from being born! If He is not born, then He cannot die as a sacrifice for man’s sin (Gen. 3:15; Matt. 16:21, 26:26-28; Jn. 18:37). If He doesn’t die, be buried and resurrect, then no man can be saved (I Cor. 15:1-4; I Pet. 3:21)!

Satan had a master plan, and it might have worked if God’s providence was not in place to stop him (Est. 4:14)! Thankfully, he failed, and he continues to fail. Yet, Satan does not sleep! He couldn’t stop Christ from coming into the world, but he will do his best to keep you from going to Heaven! Are you paying attention? Are you asleep (Rom. 13:11-14)? I pray not!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Haman Didn't Know!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

How many times have we heard people justify their sins by saying that they didn’t know “x” was wrong? Perhaps someone breaks the speed limit, and when pulled over, tells the officer, “I didn’t know it was ‘x’ speed in this area.” Does this mean that he didn’t break the law? Actually, in the courts in our land, ignorance does not automatically excuse someone’s error. Similarly, ignorance is not an excuse with God! The sins one commits in ignorance have the same consequences as sins that are committed knowingly (Jas. 1:14-15; Rom. 6:23).

How does this relate to Haman? Please read Esther 7. When Esther reveals that Haman is the one responsible for establishing a law that would kill all the Jews, including her, Xerxes was enraged (v. 6-7). I am convinced that Haman had no idea Esther was a Jew until then. After all, she had concealed this fact (following Mordecai’s command, 2:10, 20), and it seems she had never said anything until this moment (v. 3-4). Thus, Haman is ignorant of the fact that his law also meant a death sentence to the queen.

Thus, here is a woman with her life on the line based on Haman’s ignorance! We cannot fall for the adage that “ignorance is bliss,” can we? Ignorance on the job usually results in injury. Ignorance on the ball field often results in a loss to the team. No, ignorance may be many things, but it is not bliss! In Esther, we see that ignorance will result in her death if things are not changed quickly.

Looking to modern-day, we understand that sins committed in ignorance hurt others, and they jeopardize one’s soul (Ezek. 18:20). Because this is true, is there any wonder then why we are taught to bridle our tongues (Jas. 3)? Let’s make sure we do not speak before we know all the facts! Maybe when we know all the facts, we will be quiet, anyway. Is it any wonder then why we are taught to control our thoughts as well as our actions (Phil. 4:8-9; Matt. 15:17-20; Jas. 1:26)? Let us control our thoughts and make sure we are not acting until we know the truth. As a good friend of mine likes to say, “Many people get more exercise jumping to conclusions than they do digging for facts.”

It is a dangerous world, and our words and deeds are powerful. Let us guard what we do and say and make sure they agree with what Jesus wants (Col. 3:17). Let us not act until we know the facts. Don’t be like Haman!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"The City Was Perplexed" (#2)

Friday, January 10, 2020

After Haman got his law passed that called for the extinction of the Jews, the Bible tells us that he and Ahasuerus “sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed” (Est. 3:15). The word “perplexed” in that verse means to be confused (Brown, Driver, Briggs). In simple terms, those in Shushan stood in confusion at this law that was now in effect.

In addition to what we learned yesterday from Esther 3:15, let’s also understand the simple truth that others, including strangers, often feel the consequences of our decisions! One of the most significant lies told to man is that he can do something, and “no one else” will be affected. Nothing could be further from the truth (Rom. 14:7). When Haman made a law against the Jews, even Shushan was affected - they were “perplexed”!

Our decisions affect others in deep and profound ways. Haman’s ruling was yet another object lesson. Think about it: Every prisoner has a mother! He has family members who love him and are embarrassed that he has brought shame to the family like this. This lesson also works in a positive way. For example, every soldier has a mother. He has family members that are grateful and appreciate his sacrifice for our freedom.

Make no mistake, the decisions we make affect others. At times, they will affect strangers! For example, think how observing or not observing the rules of the road affects others when we drive. Others feel the consequences of our decisions daily. Study Genesis 3 and see how the decisions of Adam and Eve affected and continue to affect mankind (Gen. 3:16-19). What they did touched Heaven itself (Gen. 3:15)!

No man is an “island” to himself. Therefore, remember to “let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"The City ... Was Perplexed" (#1)

Thursday, January 09, 2020

After Haman got his law passed that called for the extinction of the Jews, the Bible tells us that he and Ahasuerus “sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed” (Est. 3:15). The word “perplexed” in that verse means to be confused (Brown, Driver, Briggs). In simple terms, those in Shushan stood in confusion at this law that was now in effect.

Though his name isn’t mentioned in this book, this is the work of Satan. He tempted Haman, and now, because of his anger and jealousy, Haman bribed the king to write a law that would destroy a nation of people (3:9-12). Indeed, Satan tried his best to stir confusion and mayhem throughout the kingdom of Persia. He succeeded! In contrast, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (I Cor. 14:33). God doesn’t stir up strife and hardship. He wants us to be at peace, love one another, and be united. Satan wants confusion. He’s our adversary and looks for souls to devour (I Pet. 5:8). He certainly had a great opportunity in Shushan!

Understanding, peace, impartiality, mercy, and wisdom are the attributes of God and the “wisdom from above” (Jas. 3:17-18). Conversely, “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (Jas. 3:16). Haman’s actions reflect the wisdom from below, not from above. As a result, Shushan’s population was confused.

Which do you prefer, confusion, or a peaceful life? Do we need to ask? Man’s confusion comes from sin. Clarity comes from God’s word (Jn. 8:31-32). For this reason, let’s follow the example of the Lord, not Haman (I Pet. 2:21-22).

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

The Jews' Enemy

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

 

Four times in the book of Esther, Haman was called the Jews’ enemy (3:10, 8:1, 9:10, 24). This description was given to Haman for one simple reason; he planned on killing all of the Jews. His motivation? Anger! Haman was angry at Mordecai, and he allowed his anger to boil over until it reached a point that he didn’t want any Jewish person to live (3:5-6).

Anger is the catalyst for much evil today. It is for this reason that we are warned not to allow anger to lead us into sin (Eph. 4:26-27). Elders in the Lord’s church are told not to be “soon angry” since it is evident that anger will not produce any good (Titus 1:7). Man’s anger doesn’t work God’s righteousness (Jas. 1:20)!

Men allow anger to cause them to justify sinful actions, but we need to remember that anger puts us on a “slippery slope” to worse sins (Col. 3:5). Anger was Haman’s motivation to kill not just one man, but an entire race of people! Today, men allow anger to fester until they lash out against others verbally and physically. Anger has been man’s justification for murder today, just as it was Haman’s!

The book of Esther shows us the consequences of unrestrained anger. By contrast, God is slow to anger (Ps. 145:8). Let us be slow to anger as well (Prov. 16:32; Jas. 1:19).

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

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