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Entangled Bewilderment

Words of Faith Final

Entangled Bewilderment
Words of Faith 6-8-2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2008, 2021
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Esther 3
       [8] Then Haman said to King Xerxes, "There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king's laws; it is not in the king's best interest to tolerate them. [9] If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business."
      [10] So the king took his signet ring from his finger and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. [11] "Keep the money," the king said to Haman, "and do with the people as you please."
    [12] Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned. They wrote out in the script of each province and in the language of each people all Haman's orders to the king's satraps, the governors of the various provinces and the nobles of the various peoples. These were written in the name of King Xerxes himself and sealed with his own ring. [13] Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews-- young and old, women and little children-- on a single day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. [14] A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.
    [15] Spurred on by the king's command, the couriers went out, and the edict was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered.

       Webster defines a pogrom as an organized massacre of helpless people.  Unfortunately, such a terrible thing is common enough in history to have a special name.  What are the ingredients that make for such a terrible activity among people?  The pogrom of the Jews in Persia was planned in several simple steps at the hands of Haman the pogromist.  
        First-- Haman told a truth mixed with a lie.  It was true that Jewish people were dispersed and scattered in all provinces and that their customs were different from all the people.  This was an obvious truth.  There was no evidence, however, that the Jews failed to obey the law.  In fact, the opposite might be argued since Mordecai and Esther actually broke their customs to offer Esther in marriage to the King!
        Second-- A false threat was raised. Haman impressed the King that it was not in his interest to tolerate people who are different.  We do not know the details but we can be sure that it was the same sort of inflammatory rhetoric used against Queen Vashti.   Some of the most wretched lies ever told have been propagated against the Jewish people and wrapped in the name of protecting "family" and "faith."
        Third-- Greed entered in.  Haman offered a huge sum of money to gain the permission of Xerxes to plunder the Jews as he destroyed them entirely.  Almost every pogrom has an economic motive as well.  As we know from our own more recent history, there is a great profit for those who can stash the assets of destroyed families away in secret accounts.  Xerxes may have only turned down the immediate payment of silver as a sort of ancient oriental courtesy.  But whether he profited personally or not, Xerxes shifted the necessary power for the decree to go out in his name.  
          The final verse is telling.  The king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was bewildered. Such a plan leaves us... bewildered.  What sort of person, political philosophy, or religion could do such a thing?  Sadly, researchers find that rather average people are often duped into sitting back while such treacheries are planned and carried out even if they are very troubled.
          The word in Hebrew that is translated "bewildered" or "perplexed" is a little more complex than the English reveals in NIV or KJV.  The Hebrew word also means "involved" or "entangled."  The bewilderment over injustice described here was more than just a passive confusion or casual puzzlement.  The people of Susa were entangled and involved with this pogrom.  Try as they might to be "uninvolved" and to "mind their own business", this simply was not possible.  It never is.  Detachment is not an option because it is silent approval.
         There are pogroms and persecutions that go on in our day.  There are massacres and genocides today.  Though they may not be in our city, the world is a much smaller place today.  Our entanglements are in places like Sudan, Malaysia, India, and Nigeria to name a few.  We don't have the luxury of passive puzzlement.

      Lord, open our eyes to the suffering of Your people around our towns and around the world.  Keep us from the delusion of detached passivity.  We pray for those around the world who suffer under terrible tyranny.  We pray for the many Christians and Jews around the world who have been lied about and who are persecuted. Show us ways that we can help.  Our only hope is in You.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2008, 2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)        
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.