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Devotions for Life

A Cinderella Story

Esther 2:1-20
 
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Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family
background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do
so. Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the
courtyard of the harem to find out about Esther and
what was happening to her.

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God’s Relentless Love

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have
eternal life” (John 3:16).  

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Demanding Respect

 

Esther 3:1-15

 

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All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to
show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king
had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or
show him respect.
 
Then the palace officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai,
“Why are you disobeying the king’s command?” They spoke
to him day after day, but still he refused to comply with the
order. So they spoke to Haman about this to see if he would
tolerate Mordecai’s conduct, since Mordecai had told them
he was a Jew.
 
When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show
him respect, he was filled with rage. He had learned of
Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay
hands on Mordecai alone. Instead, he looked for a way to
destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes.
(Esther 3:2-6)

Reflect

Mordecai refused to kneel down before Haman. The people
of Israel did bow down to government authorities, at times,
as a sign of respect (Genesis 23:7; 1 Samuel 24:8). Kneeling
before Haman, however, was an action acknowledging
Haman as a god—something Mordecai could not do.
 
Daniel’s three friends had the same convictions (Daniel 3).
Why did Haman want to destroy all Jews just because of
one man’s action? (1) Haman was an Agagite (Esther 3:1),
a descendant of Agag, king of the Amalekites(1 Samuel 15:20).
 
The Amalekites were ancient enemies of the Israelites
(see Exodus 17:16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19). Haman’s hatred
was directed not just at Mordecai, but at all the Jews. (2) As
second-in-command in the Persian Empire (Esther 3:1),
 
Haman loved his power and authority and the reverence that
was shown him. He realized that the only way to fulfill his
self-centered desires was to kill all those who disregarded his
authority. His quest for personal power and his hatred of the
Jewish race consumed him. Haman’s attitude was
prejudiced—he hated a group of people because of a
difference in belief or culture. Prejudice grows out of personal
pride—considering oneself better than others. God will
harshly judge those who are prejudiced or whose pride
causes them to look down on others.

 

Respond

 

We must worship God alone. We should never let any person,
institution, or government take God’s place. When people
demand loyalties or duties from you that do not honor God,
don’t give in. It may be time to take a stand for truth.
Pray for the courage you need to do so.