Esther 5:1-14 (NRSV)A banquet guest with a murderous heart
On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, opposite the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne inside the palace opposite the entrance to the palace. As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favor and he held out to her the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. The king said to her, "What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom." Then Esther said, "If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet that I have prepared for the king." Then the king said, "Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther desires." So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. While they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, "What is your petition? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled." Then Esther said, "This is my petition and request: If I have won the king's favor, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet that I will prepare for them, and then I will do as the king has said."
Haman went out that day happy and in good spirits. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king's gate, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai; nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home. Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh, and Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the ministers of the king. Haman added, "Even Queen Esther let no one but myself come with the king to the banquet that she prepared. Tomorrow also I am invited by her, together with the king. Yet all this does me no good so long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate." Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, "Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go with the king to the banquet in good spirits." This advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.
It makes me so sad when I think about all of the times that I have overlooked my manifold blessings, in favor of complaining about one small inconvenience.
In today's scripture reading Haman secures his downfall simply by failing to count his blessings and walk in love.
Haman freely admits that he has been blessed. He has riches, power, prestige, and many sons, yet he is not satisfied. He says that all of his blessings do him NO GOOD as long as he has the inconvenience of seeing his "enemy" at the gate.
He allows his hatred, jealousy, rage, and unforgiving heart, to cloud his vision. Like many of us, instead of enjoying what he does have, he wishes for what he does not have.
This is a sad state and it is a mistake that many of us make. We have been given so many blessings--food, water, clothes, shelter, loving family and friends, etc. But, rather than glorify God for our many benefits, we make a list of what we do not have and become fixated on it.
For example, I am amazed by how many people are complaining about their jobs in this economy, when so many other people are out of work. I am amazed by how many people are disappointed with their housing situations, when so many others have lost their homes to foreclosure. I am amazed by how many people stay focused on their enemies at work, when they have a loving family waiting for them at home.
I could go on and on, but all of us, at some point, have been guilty of failing to appreciate what we do have, rather than complaining about what we don't have.
This is extraordinarily dangerous, because in our desire for more and more stuff, we will forsake our blessings and our God.
In Haman's case, scripture ultimately teaches us that he lost all--family, riches, power, and ultimately his life. In our case, we will lose out too!
NO GOOD can ever come from failing to be appreciative to our good, gracious, and exceedingly generous God.
Since we are reading this blog today, I know that we are blessed! We are all fairly healthy, happy, holy, and whole. We have a reasonable portion of health, strength, and the activity of our limbs and we have access to the technology that allows us to access the internet and to read God's word!
Ah! Let us praise the Lord!
And let us always remember, that even if we don't have anything else, we know that we have JESUS, who lived, died, and rose again on the third day because he loves us, chose to forgive our sin, and gift us with eternal life!
God has been so good to us, my friends! So good! Let us never ever forget it!
Let us pray: Oh God! You have been so very good! Please help me to count all of my blessings and to possess an attitude of gratitude. You are so wonderful and I love you so very much. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta