Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Time for today are provided by Cami King of JCC.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
The king arose in his anger from drinking wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stayed to beg for his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that harm had been determined against him by the king. 8 Now when the king returned from the palace garden into the place where they were drinking wine, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. Then the king said, “Will he even assault the queen with me in the house?” As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. 9 Then Harbonah, one of the eunuchs who were before the king said, “Behold indeed, the gallows standing at Haman’s house fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai who spoke good on behalf of the king!” And the king said, “Hang him on it.” 10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.
If I were to respond to the ending of Haman’s story in emojis, I would have to use the little face with wide eyes, raised brows, and utter confusion (sorry to android users for the lost pop culture reference). At the start of this narrative, it’s certainly hard to see this ending coming. I’m sure it caught Haman by surprise as well. We’ve all heard the saying, “Evil never prospers.” As kids we might have been told this by our parents or teachers who caught us doing something underhanded or conniving or deceitful (as most children begin to do after their toddler years). But from the story of Haman, we learn that not only will evil not prosper, but it will have the absolute averse effect in our lives.
As believers, we are called to a life of holiness. We are called to live as Jesus would in our place and to honor and exalt God (make Him famous) through our lives. And while this is our calling (and a lofty one at that), we still find ourselves living in the real world where we are tempted to scheme with the best of them. Whether it’s intentional and malicious (like outright slander, lying on our taxes, lying on our resumes, cheating on a test) or inadvertent and seemingly innocuous (like work gossip, representing someone in an unfavorable light to make ourselves look better, taking credit for something we didn’t do), our human nature leads us to “evil” quite naturally. But may we learn a hard lesson from the story of Haman, that all the evil we do, especially against others, will at some point or another come back to haunt us – and often times in painfully ironic ways.
It’s easy to plot evil to get ahead or even in response to those who’ve harmed us, but may we choose instead the path of righteousness (and forgiveness). Not only is it a better road as we are protected from the potential painful consequences, but the God who was faithful to Esther will be faithful to all who choose righteousness as well.
Prayer: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. Let it be so with me, O Lord.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: John 16
Lunch Break Study
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
2 For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
11 But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
Questions to Consider:
- Do you find yourself “fretting because of evil doers” or “envious toward wrong doers”? What does the psalmist instruct us to do instead?
- Who are the “wrongdoers” in your life? What do we learn is the fate of those who do evil? How should this encourage us to respond to them?
- If we’ve ever been victimized or wronged by anyone else, especially in a painful or habitual manner, we can relate to David in his temptation to worry over these things. Moreover, if we’ve ever tried to live honestly and found that those who choose to take shortcuts continue to get ahead, we may have experienced envy toward them. But we are challenged instead to trust in the Lord and continue to be faithful. God will take care of the rest as we delight ourselves in Him. We must also be careful not to become angry lest we fall into evil of our own.
- The scripture is clear – their end is destruction. And not the kind of destruction we might want to bring up on them in our anger, but God’s righteous judgment. This should lead us to have hearts of compassion and concern for them – God’s judgment is no small thing. We might pray for them, or be encouraged to love them in hopes that God might soften their hearts and change their ways.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)
Are you facing any opposition or adversity today? Take some time tonight to be still before the Lord. Offer Him your cares and rest in His promises to protect and provide. Commit anew to walking in the path of righteousness, no matter the cost, and praise God for His good plans to prosper you through every circumstance.