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Mourning to Joy

God's saving power gives us a reason to celebrate.

Introduction

Haman hated the Jews, and he was in a position to do something about it. Around 480 B.C., Haman was the second-most powerful man in the vast Persian Empire. He hated the Jews because for 1,000 years, his people—the Amalekites—had hated the Jews and tried to wipe them out, each time thwarted by the protecting hand of God. Now Haman was positioned to turn the tables on the Jews. No one gets to be the second-in-command of a vast kingdom like that without some inside help, and I suspect Haman had help from a hand he never saw.

What Haman didn't know

Haman loved being powerful, rich, and recognized. He loved it when King Xerxes made him rich beyond his imagination, and he loved it when Xerxes ordered that everyone in the kingdom should bow down when Haman passed by. He especially loved it when one day, he persuaded Xerxes to "destroy, kill, and annihilate" (Esther 3:13) an entire bothersome race of people within his kingdom, without ever actually telling Xerxes who they were. Jews—whether they lived in Egypt, Jerusalem, Asia Minor, or on the far frontier of India—were doomed to die on one day, 11 months later. Haman loved it.

Haman hated one Jew more than all others—Mordecai. He hated Mordecai because he was a Jew. He hated Mordecai because there was ancient bad blood between them: each of their forefathers had been kings, and Haman's forefather, Agag, had been humiliated and then ingloriously killed. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow when Haman passed by.

Haman knew just about everything that happened in the palace, but there were some things he didn't know. Haman didn't know, for example, that Xerxes's new queen Esther was a Jew. He didn't ...

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Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He writes a weekly devotional for preachers on Preaching Today.

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Sermon Outline:

Introduction

I. What Haman didn't know

II. A reason to celebrate

III. The enemy defeated

IV. An edict of salvation

Conclusion