Verse of the Day Devotion. Esther 3:3
“Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you transgressing the king’s command?” – Esther 3:3
After Esther was chosen as queen of Persia by King Xerxes 1, a man named Haman was also elevated to a high position in Persia. He was over all the princes of Persia which also gave him the first place and seat, which was next to the seat of the king. Now Haman thought very highly of himself. “And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage.” Esther 3:2. Now, the kings servants went to Mordecai and asked him, “Why are you transgressing the king’s command?” Esther 3:3b.
Now, after they had spoken to Mordecai daily regarding his not bowing before him, they went to Hamon to ask him if this was acceptable. “Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.” Esther 3:4. Well, this was not acceptable to Haman. In fact, he was enraged. People sometimes want to be revered as gods. Haman is pictured as a proud person who constantly desired human praise. In short, he was hungry for power. When he had convinced himself regarding the conduct of Mordecai, he did not deem it sufficient to punish him alone; for the people to whom Mordecai belonged, the Jews, should be punished as well. He had been told that Mordecai belonged to the despised people of the Jews. So instead of killing just Mordecai, he rather strove to destroy all the Jews in the whole realm of Xerxes as being of the same mind with Mordecai.
Now, Haman then goes to the king regarding this issue. “Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people, and they do not observe the king’s laws, so it is not in the king’s interest to let them remain. If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king’s business, to put into the king’s treasuries.” Esther 3:8-9. Haman hated them so much, he was willing to do anything to get rid of the Jews in Xerxes kingdom. So he went before the king. “Then the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. And the king said to Haman, The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please.” Esther 3:10-11. Now, with the king’s approval, Haman sent word out to all the provinces under Xerxes rule to “destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder.” Esther 3:13.
Haman was an evil man, and because of this Mordecai would not give him the honor of bowing before him. We see this in verse four. “Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew.” We see in the next verse that he desired more then just respect. “When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage.” Esther 3:5. He was not going to bow down before Haman because he was not going to bow before anyone but God. There is a difference between showing respect and giving undue homage. He saw himself as above all men except the king and wanted all others to bow before him and do the same. We must be like Mordecai and recognize that we can show respect for people, but we must not go beyond that. And this must be done no matter what the outcome could be. Do we want to please God or man? Paul put it this way. “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10. Lets work to please God with everything we are. Pleasing men in a way that is not pleasing to God is not acceptable in any way.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.