The enemy of God has always wanted to kill the seed of Messiah, the Jews. Down through the ages, evil people have risen to power who have annihilated large segments of the Jewish population. But God has never taken His eyes off His people and has redemptive plans in place. Part of the Jewish heritage is the remembrance of their sorrows and joys. They will celebrate Purim this week and remember the victory of the Jews over an evil person named Haman. God led an orphaned Jewish girl named Esther into the palace of the king at just the right time. Even though God is never mentioned in the book of Esther, we see His hand at work in the circumstances that arise.
Esther's parents were exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon where they died. She had been adopted by her cousin, Mordecai, a Jewish official living in Susa, one of the capitals of Persia. The call on Esther's life began to manifest when King Xerxes chose her as his queen. Through the help of Mordecai, she became aware of a plot to kill the Jews by the King's second in command, Haman. Esther was called upon to save the lives of her people. As Mordecai told her, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) Esther told Mordecai to gather all the Jews in Susa to fast and pray for her for three days. She did likewise with her maids.
What Esther was being asked to do was to go before the King on behalf of her people. It was a life and death assignment because it was illegal to go before the king without being summoned. God orchestrated every step that Esther took so that she gained the favor of the King and victory over her enemy. We must understand that Esther was battling with a demonic spirit that overtook Haman and whose compelling desire was to destroy Jews. Let us look more closely at its origin: First, Haman's name means tumult, commotion, and noise. A person with a Haman spirit behaves accordingly. Second, Haman was part of a people group, the Amalekites, who have a long-standing hatred of the Jews. The Bible contains several stories of battles between the Israelites and the Amalekites.
The Israelites first encountered the Amalekites, in an unprovoked attack, when they had just left Egypt and were weary and worn out. Moses responded by sending Joshua and his troops to fight them at Rephidim. He and Aaron and Hur watched the battle from a hilltop. Joshua was only successful when Aaron and Hur held up the hands of Moses to the throne of God. Praise God that the Israelites won the battle. (Exodus 17:8-16) In Judges 6 and 7 we see that the Amalekites joined forces with the Midianites to oppress the Israelites. God selected an unlikely candidate from the tribe of Manasseh to overcome the enemy. His name is Gideon which means "One who cuts down." Indeed, after conquering his own fear, he went on to defeat the enemy forces. Wanting to remove the Amalekites from the face of the earth, God instructed King Saul to kill every one of them at the city of Amalek. (1 Samuel 15) He did not follow instructions so that his successor, David, would have to fight them. They raided David's camp at Ziklag, burned everything to the ground, and carried off his wives, children, and flocks, along with those of his men. After strengthening himself in the Lord, David and his men were able to overtake the Amalekites and recover everything. (1 Samuel 30)
As we see, the spirit of Haman returned multiple times through the tribe of Amalek. Haman carried anger, hatred, pride, and arrogance which compelled him to destroy the Jews who he saw as a threat. His plot to destroy them began with the casting of lots (Purim in Hebrew). Through casting of the “pur,” a date to destroy the Jews was selected. Thankfully, Haman's plans unraveled when Esther bravely approached the King and followed the divine strategy from God. Haman was hung on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
We see the spirit of Haman manifesting throughout history in men and groups such as Herod, Hitler, and Hamas. The message of Esther is relevant for us today. The enemy of the Jews has also become the enemy of Christians. The spirit of Haman will try to defeat anyone whom God loves and blesses. Consider that we are on the earth for "such a time as this," just like Esther. God delivered the Jews during Purim. As they celebrate what God did for them, we should use this time to battle against the spirit of Haman in our culture that wants to destroy God's kingdom on earth. Let us call out to God for repentance and revival in this world. It is the Kingdom of Heaven that will overcome the kingdoms of this world.
Joan E. Mathias