When Saul saw Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), among other things, Jesus told Saul that it was hard for him to kick against the goads (pricks, KJV). We might not be familiar with this term since we drive “horseless carriages.” A goad was a pointed instrument strategically placed so that if a horse, ox, or another beast of burden rebelled and kicked, the goad would hurt his hoof or leg and hopefully cause the animal to stop kicking. I have heard the term “goad” or “goading” meaning to urge someone to do something. In this case, it is by one’s remarks that one acts, or is “goaded” into an action. This word is based on the actual instrument called a “goad” that men used on animals long ago.
In the case of Saul, we see that as hard as he tried to fight against God (Acts 26:9), he would discover that it was a losing battle! The “goads” he kicked against only caused him to be injured. God wins every time!
When we read the book of Esther, we find that Haman was fighting a similar battle. He was kicking against “goads” while he served the king. In this case, the “goad” had a name -- Mordecai! It seems that the more Haman kicked against God’s servant, the more he ended up getting hurt! Take, for example, the anger and frustration he felt at Mordecai when he refused to bow (Est. 2:5). Haman thought killing Mordecai and also killing the Jews would make him feel better (Est. 2:6, 12-13). Yet, it wasn’t too many days until Ahasuerus asked Haman to honor someone, and it ended up being Mordecai (Est. 6:1-12)! Ouch! That had to hurt! Then, upon returning home after that parade, his family told him that if he did this for Mordecai, then it must mean that he will fail (v. 13-14). More emotional pain -- this time from his family! Yet, none of this caused Haman to pause, to reflect, or to repent. He was unlike Saul in this way (Acts 9:6, 9-10, 22:16)!
Finally, Haman’s plan was discovered, and in the cruelest twist, he was taken and killed on the very gallows he had made for Mordecai (Est. 7:10, 5:14)! Later, we learn that his ten sons were slain in similar fashion (Est. 9:10, 13-14). Haman finally saw that God wins every time! But it was too late for him.
Against what “goads” are you kicking? Be honest! What are you doing that is opposed to God’s word? Why are you still refusing to repent (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38)? The only way to get relief is to stop kicking against God and do what He says! Be like Saul/Paul and change your life while you can. Get forgiveness and live for the Lord (Acts 22:16; II Tim. 4:6-8)! Don’t end up like Haman!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
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
In II Samuel 16, we read where David was cursed by Shimei, a family member of Saul. He threw stones at David, calling him a “bloody man” (v. 6-7). Though Abishai wanted Shimei to die, David spared his life. He reasoned that if God wanted Shimei to curse him, then he would not fight it (v. 9-11). David allowed Shimei to live, and he lived into the reign of Solomon (I Kings 2:36-46).
Why are these facts relevant to us? They are relevant because the descendants of Shimei lived to see the rise and fall of the kingdom of Judah. They saw the rise and fall of Babylon and the emergence of the Medo-Persian empire. In these generations, Shimei’s descendants gave birth to Jair, and finally, Mordecai and Esther were brought into the world (Est. 2:5, 7).
Think about this for a moment. Had David not spared Shimei’s life, would there have been a Mordecai to raise Esther? Would there have been Esther to save the Jews? I believe in God’s providence and know He would have made a way to spare the people if they had not been born. However, they were born, and because they were born, we see an exciting thing occurring. By the providence of God, a descendant of Judah (David) spared a descendant of Benjamin (Shimei), so that a descendant of Benjamin (Esther) could spare all of Judah! The actions described in Esther are what finally allow Christ to come into the world!
I doubt David ever thought about the descendants of Shimei when he spared him that day in II Samuel 16, but thanks be to God, it happened! I doubt Shimei thought that someday his descendants would save the lives of David’s descendants, but I am thankful to God that they did! Our Savior’s lineage was hanging in the balance in the days of the Persian Empire. Thanks be to God that Christ was spared, and He became the Savior for those under the Old Covenant and the people living today (Heb. 9:15; I Pet. 1:18-19)! All because David spared Shimei!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
(A special thanks to #1 Son who said, “Hey Dad, did you notice …”)
Many times in the Scripture, we are warned about the dangers of falling into the pit you have dug. The point being that if one plans on harming another, he must beware because he will end up being hurt by his plans! Read passages like Proverbs 26:27, Ecclesiastes 10:8, and Psalm 7:15-16 and heed the warnings given by inspiration (II Tim. 3:16-17).
Haman was living proof of this truth. He had “dug a pit” by building gallows for Mordecai. This happened because of his anger and envy that so blinded him to reality that he listened to his wife’s suggestion and built gallows on which to hang Mordecai (Est. 5:14). However, those gallows would not be used to kill Mordecai. Instead, Haman ended up being hanged on the very gallows he had made for Mordecai (Est. 7:6-10)!
Emotions like anger and envy not only motivate a person to act in harmful ways, but it is often the case that the person harboring these emotions is harmed! I have not seen many exceptions to this. Look back to Genesis four, and see that when Cain acted in anger toward his brother, he ended up the worse for it. Even today, we remember the godly action of Abel (Heb. 11:4) and are repulsed at the actions of Cain (Jude 11)! Anger, envy, pride, and the like do not help us at all. Instead, one who is controlled by these things will end up harming himself physically as well as emotionally and spiritually!
Yes, the man who digs a pit for someone else will end up falling in it himself! Don’t be that person! Listen to the Lord and love your neighbor (Matt. 22:39). Allow yourself to think about the true, the just, the lovely, things of good report, virtuous, praise-worthy, etc. (Phil. 4:8-9). Live a life of joy, not anger, love, and not hate, and you will be blessed when you do (Jn. 13:34-35)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
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