Read about Haman in the book of Esther (NLT)

The most arrogant people are often those who must measure their self-worth by the power or influence they think they have over others. Haman was an extremely arrogant leader. He recognized the king as his superior but could not accept anyone as an equal. When one man, Mordecai, refused to bow in submission to him, Haman wanted to destroy him. He became consumed with hatred for Mordecai. He was already filled with racial hatred for all the Jewish people because of the long standing hatred between the Jews and Haman's ancestors, the Amalekites. Mordecai's dedication to God and his refusal to give homage to ant human person challenged Haman's self-centered religion. Haman saw the Jews as a threat to his power, and he decided to kill them all.

God was preparing Haman's down fall and the protection of his people long before Haman came to power under Xerxes. Esther, a Jew, became queen, and Mordecai's role in exposing an assassination plot indebted the king to him. Not only was Haman prevented from killing Mordecai; he also had to suffer the humiliation of publicly honoring him. Within hours, Haman died on the gallows he had built to hang Mordecai, and his plan to wipe out the Jews was thwarted. In contrast to Esther, who risked everything for God and won, Haman risked everything for an evil purpose and lost.

Our initial response to the story about Haman is to say that he got what he deserved. But the Bible leads us to ask deeper questions. How much of Haman is in me? Do I desire to control others? Am I threatened when others don't appreciate me as I think they should? Do I want revenge when my pride is attacked? Confess these attitudes to God, and ask Him to replace them with an attitude of forgiveness. Otherwise, God's justice will settle the matter.

Haman's strength and accomplishment: Achieved great power, second in rank to Persia's king, Xerxes

His weaknesses and mistakes: 1) The desire to control others and receive honor was his highest goal 2) Was blinded by arrogance and self-importance 3) Planned to murder Mordecai and built a gallows for him 4) Orchestrated the plan to slaughter God's people throughout the empire.

Lessons from his life: 1) Hatred will be punished 2) God has an amazing record for making evil plans backfire on the planners 3) Pride and self-importance will be punished 4) An insatiable thirst for power and prestige is self-destructive

Vital statistics Where: Susa, the capital of Persia Occupation: Second in rank in the empire

Relative: wife: Zeresh Contemporaries: Xerxes, Mordecai, Esther

Key verses: "When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage. So he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone. since he had learned that Mordecai was a Jew, he decided to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes" (Esther 3: 5,6) (NLT).

LORD, forgive us when we are prideful and arrogant. Help us to be humble of heart, in Jesus' name, amen.

Scripture quotations (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved.

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