Esther Reading Plan | Week 5 | Day 2
Take thirty seconds to be silent. Be still and listen to yourself breathing. This will help you to be present to hear from God. Thank God that He is good and that you can always trust Him.
Bible Reading: Esther 3:5-15
Read these verses three times slowly.
When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.
In the twelfth year of King Xerxes, in the first month, the month of Nisan, the pur (that is, the lot) was cast in the presence of Haman to select a day and month. And the lot fell on the twelfth month, the month of Adar.
Then Haman said to King Xerxes, “There is a certain people dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom who keep themselves separate. Their customs are different from those of all other people, and they do not obey the king’s laws; it is not in the king’s best interest to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will give ten thousand talents of silver to the king’s administrators for the royal treasury.”
So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. “Keep the money,” the king said to Haman, “and do with the people as you please.”
Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman’s orders to the king’s satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews—young and old, women and children—on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.
The couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.
Reflection & Questions
Yesterday, we read that Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to Haman. That leads to Haman’s rage in today’s reading. It shows the overwhelming pride and insecurity of Haman, that even though everyone else is bowing down to him, just one person’s refusal sent him into murderous rage. Most leaders know you’re not going to get everyone to like you or agree with you. But Haman can’t tolerate it. And his rage is so overwhelming he wants to wipe out the whole Jewish population.
At this, the writer of Esther tells us, “the city of Susa were bewildered.” They find Haman’s actions, and the king’s approval, baffling and inexplicable.
The fact is that evil is bewildering. We will feel that bewilderment as we observe the wrongful actions of others. The questions of “Why would they?” and “How could they?” will be first on our tongues. And as we look at ourselves, and our wrong actions, we should also say, “Why would I?” and “How could I?”.
The good news is that in Jesus, there is grace and truth. He never lied. He’s never made a wrong decision. He is good. And on top of that, he was willing to die for us, for those who have messed up, who have sinned. He is the one true King who deserves our honor and allegiance.
- What bewilders you in today’s society? Why?
- What bewilders you about your actions and attitudes? What do you need to do about it?
Pray in response to today’s reading.
You might use this song today to worship Jesus today:
Prepare to Meet with Jesus
Go to your quiet place. When there are no devices around that will distract you, take a deep breath. Blow it out slowly. Do that again. And do it one last time. Ask God for His help to read and understand.
Bible Reading: Esther 3:3-4
Read these verses three times slowly.
The royal officials at the palace gate asked Mordecai a question. They said, “Why don’t you obey the king’s command?” Day after day they spoke to him. But he still refused to obey. So they told Haman about it. They wanted to see whether he would let Mordecai get away with what he was doing. Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.
Reflection & Questions
When I was in fifth grade, my friends and I liked a particular band that was popular. One day when I was hanging out with just one of my close friends, I told her I liked another band better. It was an old band that my mom used to listen to. Later, when all of us were together, the other kids started teasing me about liking an old band better than our “favorite” band. My friend had told others something about me that I had told only her. I felt a little betrayed. I wished I had never told her, and I was frustrated that everyone seemed to care so much about it.
Mordecai was betrayed by some of his coworkers. We cannot be sure why Mordecai would not bow to Haman. He may have just not liked Haman. But instead of hiding his family history from the other officials, he told them he was a Jew. He may have had a reason to tell them. He may have been telling them that he only worshiped God. Bowing to an official is different from worshiping, but sometimes people think it goes too far.
Whatever the reason, Mordecai told others that he was a Jew. They wondered what Haman would do if he knew about it, so they told him. They do not seem very trustworthy. They “tattled” on Mordecai about something that was not hurting anyone. It seems like Haman only noticed once he was told.
- Have you ever had a friend tell others something you only wanted them to know? How did you feel?
- When you think about the times Mordecai lived in, do you think he might have been scared for Haman to know he was not obeying the king’s order?
- Do you think it is important that the others knew Haman was Jewish? Why or why not?
Thank God that He will never betray you, even if others do. Ask Him to help you remember that He is with you when you feel alone. Ask Him to help you forgive those who disappoint you or even betray you.
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