Sermons. Haman's plot

Having resistance between truth and lies, light and darkness, holiness and ungodliness, hatred and love, we should remember that they are not escapable. God’s nature cannot bear with wickedness. Likewise, the devil cannot accept something good.


Pavel  Zhelnovakov

Today my sermon relates directly to that what’s going on in some peoples’ minds in Russia who are intending to make a fatal Haman’s mistake again. Perhaps you already know about some politicians’ and religious leaders’ desires to obtain the acceptance of a law that would decriminalize some confessions and cut down original democratic wins at the root. Human history has already shown that to set up such an experience again would be dangerous. God’s church is not destroyed from the earth, because behind the church is God’s almightiness and Christ’s victory on Golgotha’s cross.

Haman had been a highly ranked minister serving king Ahasuerus. Having encountered a Jewish representative, Mordecai, who didn’t want to worship him, he has decided to destroy Jews. Haman, being heart-blinded from his hatred intended literally to destroy the Hebrew nation. I want to speak today about how Almighty God has defeated the efforts of that man, like many others wishing to make his tragic mistake again.

From time to time we’ve been disturbed by some problematic situations that do not allow us to live quietly. That’s good, because stress (limited) stimulates our maturity. When so-called peace comes up, especially spiritually moral it makes us fall asleep, and that’s it. We won’t be able to have a quiet life and believe in quietness on the earth while pain and sufferings exist, while there are people who perish, while wickedness exists and opens its dirty mouth to swallow up every truth.

Dear brothers and sisters, having resistance between truth and lies, light and darkness, holiness and ungodliness, hatred and love, we should remember that they are not escapable. God’s nature cannot bear with wickedness. Likewise, the devil cannot accept something good. Light always confronts darkness, and darkness always hates light. Confrontation is not escapable. I persistently want to remind you of this truth. It is complicated to be oriented in modern society without learning some historical facts. When a disoriented person is afraid – it is difficult for him to evaluate a situation wisely and make a right decision. Fear is overwhelming us, we start to think like – “May be I should give up on believing…”

Let me quote something from the book of Esther.

1 After these events King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and established his authority over all the princes who were with him. 2 All the king's servants who were at the king's gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage. 3 Then the king's servants who were at the king's gate said to Mordecai, "Why are you transgressing the king's command?"4 Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai's reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. (Est. 3:1-4; NASU)

A Jew firmly believes in such a commandment that says – "YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY"

None in this world is worthy to be worshiped. There is the only God Who is worthy. Any other, including one’s leaders, is idolatry in itself. God’s wrath has come over a lot of nations for such things. I assume you have seen the celebration in North Korea in conjunction with the anniversary of their leader. Hungry people are dancing in memory of someone who brought them over to such a condition! Terrible paradox! Look, somebody is inspiring them to worship their leader.

In this world people, especially who love God wholeheartedly, will always encounter something requiring worship from them. “Bow down before a stupid demand, bow down before crazy power, bow down before arrogance and immorality, or you’ll be forced to act in this manner. Bow down!” In such moments people are even ready to compromise on political intrigues, accept convenient laws! It has been for the length of human history – “Worship, otherwise you are going to have problems!”

Remember what happened to Daniel’s friends written in the book of Daniel 3:8-25.


8 For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews. 9 They responded and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king: "O king, live forever! 10 "You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe and all kinds of music, is to fall down and worship the golden image. 11 "But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. 12 "There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up." 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 "Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?" 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17 "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 He commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 Then these men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their caps and their other clothes, and were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. 22 For this reason, because the king's command was urgent and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. 23 But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, "Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?" They replied to the king, "Certainly, O king." 25 He said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!"

Nebuchadnezzar is a “blown up” king. He had been so attracted by conquering others’ territories that he imagined himself to be capable “to put Heaven down, on knees”. Being so proud, he had issued a decree that demanded the worship of a golden idol. He didn’t spare gold even, but built it up almost as high as a three-story house. At a sound signal everyone was supposed to fall down and worship. The gold symbolized wealth and richness. For an unbeliever, they go together. Actually people had to worship human needs instead of God! Was it supposed to make “flesh” as an idol and worship it?!

Nebuchadnezzar had a tradition of bringing out of a captivated country all the intelligent people – princes, masters of art, handcrafters and just poor people. So, from a captivated intelligent mass were selected some handsome youths who were educated while serving for years in the king’s court. Among them were Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These are not their real names; king Nebuchadnezzar gave them those names. They knew the living God, thus they strongly refused to worship the idol. They told the king that God was capable to save them from his hand and even if He chose not to, they would still not worship his idol! Nebuchadnezzar was livid, because someone dared arguing with such a “mighty” conqueror as him!

Any dictator gets angry hearing one “no”, because he thinks not everyone fears him. Every dictator looses when knows somebody is not afraid of him, and of course, it makes him furious.

The enraged Nebuchadnezzar had ordered to heat up the furnace seven times hotter than before and to throw the disobedient down there. The soldiers that carried out the order died from the heat the young Jews survived. The king saw them walking in fire! Then fear overtook the king – “We cast three in the fire, why do I see four? They were tied up, how could they be walking?! And the fourth one is like God’s Son!”

Dear friends, into the furnace they have lost only the ropes with which they were tied up. Fear is an awful thing, which captivates a lot of peoples’ minds! When God says “Yes” it gives us a chance to go through tough times to get rid of any ropes: fear, slavery, worship of society’s opinion, etc. When a person goes through “a fire” or situation of refining, he becomes free.

The ropes burn down and they are not hurt. They won! Let me make on more example out of the very same book of Daniel. This resistance was ignited by an attempt of Daniel to stay holy.

3 Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. 4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.5 Then these men said, "We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God."

(Dan 6:3-5; NASU)

Satraps of the king Darius made a suggestion to him to inaugurate him in a month as a god: that he alone should be petitioned and prayed to. This tempted the king and appealed to him. He wasn’t a visionary person. But Daniel, according to his custom, kept praying to God looking through the window toward Jerusalem. At the same time, the satraps preyed on him. You know, they had understood something very well – Daniel was not going to fail in his faithfulness to God!

Dear friends, politicians and officials are acquainted very well with religious staff. They know that a good Christian never destroys God’s commandments. God commanded us to preach the Gospel, to be persistent in saving people! When laws are being made that say that preaching the Gospel is illegal, it’s very easy to put Protestants in prison as criminals. I have been observing that for many years. I was intimidated for breaking such laws that were occurring during the socialistic times. They wanted to send me to prison for a long period of time. I am going to break those useless laws. I am going to break them, for there is God who had told in His Word what we should do. For He, primarily, will ask for a report from us. Everyone, each of us, will report to Him for our lives. But first of all believers will report for how they achieved the commandment to preach the Gospel of salvation for all people.

The Devil is the same. Solomon said – “That which has been is that which will be, so there is nothing new under the sun”. Nothing changes. The tendency of the darkness is the same. Will we be quiet or will we speak something to God? Will we cry out to the Lord or will we say “leave it alone”.

Dear friends, nothing has changed, resistance is not escapable. Because the wicked world knows a holy one is not going to break a holy commandment of any of God’s truths, and he will be faithful to Him. First of all he is called to accomplish was is right with God. First, he has been a citizen of Heaven and then a citizen of earth. Haman’s story is spreading around.

5 When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage. 6 But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. 7 In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, Pur, that is the lot, was cast before Haman from day to day and from month to month, until the twelfth month, that is the month Adar. 8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of all other people and they do not observe the king's laws, so it is not in the king's interest to let them remain. 9 "If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king's business, to put into the king's treasuries." 10 Then the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said to Haman, "The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please."

(Est. 3:5-11; NASU)

Haman was filled with wrath when saw Mordecai not bowing down before him. Everyone with a “problem” acts like this. Haman’s lot was cast and picked up in the month of Adar to take revenge. That month had become a wicked month for the Jews, in that very month they were touched by strong diversities.

Haman is a deceitful businessman. Do you think that he wanted to make the king richer by two thousand talents? Yes, the account is huge. But, the point is that, as a nation has been destroyed all the treasures are coming into the hands of winners. Haman was claiming to be that one. Surely he might be become richer at the expense of those that are killed. Dirty Haman’s trade brings shame on him. Hear me, you can’t allow “Hamans” to promotion!

I won’t forget in the court session on missionary activity our opponents were asked the question, “what is our fault?” Why do you have this sort of attitude to Protestants? The answer was simple – “they are growing”. I didn’t know what to do, either to clap my hands or laugh, because the growth of our churches has been recognized! It’s marked, the Gospel is spreading and people are getting saved! This process won’t be stopped while somebody still looking for the Lord.

What changed? Does anybody care that people are getting saved? Of course, those that oppose us have a different view. “Oh, they are bad citizens! They bring burns!” or some other lies. Somebody is disturbed by the fact that people are starting to work honestly, families get restored, drug-addicts leave the wicked way alone, thieves quit their business and criminals becoming intelligent instead of committing crimes.

It’s understandable that the devil hates everything which comes from God. He constantly bothers and inspires a lot of people to do different rebellious acts. “That which has been is that which will be” – that’s what Ecclesiastes says in ch.3:15. If a person runs a holy life it incurs resistance from those who are around. Apostle Paul said – “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. (2 Tim 3:12; NASU). Nothing has changed.

Let’s turn back to the book of Esther. Something happened which Haman didn’t expect at all. A lot of others don’t expect exactly this very thing, others who are trying to put our country on its’ knees before rebelliousness and not before God. How did the Jews react to Haman’s trap? We can learn a lesson out of the story. Others can respond in the same way, others who have integrity, and care to stay honest and diligent. Again from the book of Esther,

13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. 14 "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 "Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish."

(Est. 4:13-16; NASU)

I don’t dramatize the situation, or want to add anything to Bible. I just read it. We also can remain silent when our motherland will be shook by one’s stupid decision. This is our choice. Silent people are becoming richer sooner than others, but others are trampling them sooner as well. They don’t take a risk to speak of any truth: political or state, religious or family, the truth of our children who are deceived at schools. Mordecai said to Esther – “If you remain silent…”

Let me speak these words to each of us – if you remain silent then God will find another way to deliver the unsaved integrity and dignity of people searching after Him. God is able to find a way to free us from insane decisions, but what will we tell Him then? Remember, that’s our choice! Either we are slaves and remain silent or we are free and speak up, of course in a respectful way that God established.

Esther did not go against the authority, she merely said – “I am going to the King, he can solve the problem”. If God is behind your need then the intention will be successful.

21 When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, "Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting." 22 When they began singing and praising, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. 23 For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroying them completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

(2 Chron. 20:21-23; NASU)

Looks like the same situation when the Jews fates were under attack by three neighboring nations: Ammons, Moabs and Mount Seir people. It is very likely when Protestantism in Udmurtia and Russia was under an attack to forbid its’ existence, that the attempt came out of the city government, Moscow Patriarchate and by Islam representatives when they made the so-called “forbidding Law”. “There is nothing new under the sun” – Solomon says.

Just don’t think that I considered the Orthodox Church as a wrong church, in this case I wouldn’t bless it in my prayers and wouldn’t pray for it at all. There are a lot of people of dignity in the Orthodox Church. The same is true among the Muslims and politicians. But, wickedness has not disappeared because of that. We need something more. At times we see dirty articles in Newspapers about Protestant churches. Who do you think needs this? Why do they want to lie against honest citizens and families? I think the reason is clear.

The Jews understood that strength was required to confront the coalition of three strong and armed nations. They had the only way – to trust in God.

“They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed”

(2 Chron 20:20, NASU)

The Jewish king confirmed the words of trust – “put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established…and succeed”. They appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him. The LORD set ambushes and the other armies rose up against each other destroying themselves completely. They helped to destroy one another. The Jews won!

Though confrontation by force is not an option now! Remember confrontations in Ulster, that’s not an option. Notice that those fighting people belong to Christian countries. I’m afraid they lack real Christian understanding. Forced resistance is not in the line with the Gospel at all, that’s wrong.

We have another WEAPON – PARYER THAT EXPRESSES IN PRAISE. “Lord, we praise You for the mercies You’ve provided before. We give you praise that You have blessed us from the beginning!” – in this manner people praised God when king Herod raised up against them, trying to kill several. They started to glory in the Lord and talk to Him – “This attack is not against us, but against You, for You are standing behind the great and eternal truth!”

So, the Jews began to praise God and disagreement arose between their enemies. Their intention was destroyed. Let’s go back to the book of Esther. Through out the whole book we see God destroying the enemy’s weapons when His people pray to Him. People are rising up to defend those rights and blessings that are given to them by the Eternal God.

3 Then Queen Esther replied, "If I have found favor in Your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request; 4 for we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated. Now if we had only been sold as slaves, men and women, I would have remained silent, for the trouble would not be commensurate with the annoyance to the king." 5 Then King Ahasuerus asked Queen Esther, "Who is he, and where is he, who would presume to do thus?" 6 Esther said, "A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman!" Then Haman became terrified before the king and queen.

(Est. 7:3-6; NASU)

These texts show how God worked through humans, through those who had authority. The Jews upheld their rights and lives. God laughed at Haman’s plot the very same way He will laugh now at modern Hamans.

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.

(Est. 7:9-10; NASU)

I realize that to set up something unjust in our country strong brain washing like lies, slander, issuance of fake documentation and many other things are done. No clarity – no clear decision.

Dear friends, I suggest for you to pray for many honest journalists, for officials with dignity, for everyone who is able to do at least something for good. Because when somebody is trying to put a country down on its’ knees by depriving it of religious freedom, this country does not have a future!!!

Such politicians don’t want to know history. They don’t want to know what the fates were of nations and peoples who were deprived of a right to live in line with the Gospel and believe in the eternal God. Those officials don’t know fates of kings and rulers who raised their insolent hands against the Holy Heaven by repressing people. Perhaps they just don’t know history. The results of prayers were amazing, situations changed significantly. The Jews had defended themselves. There is one more fascinating thing about this story – every neighboring nation became afraid and many believed in God.

My dear friends, we want revival in the country, we want people to get saved, but we have to remember that revival doesn’t happen easily. A certain cost must be paid for it. We must remain on our knees for it and suffer for some time if it’s necessary.

We have a simple Biblical picture before our eyes – the Jews started to stand up for their rights. They began to pray and praise the Lord and look for His face. The results of their persistent prayers were on the surface – lots of people from neighboring nations had come to God. As for Mordecai, for the purity and faithfulness he kept before God, he had become the second official in the court of the king. His people loved him, because he cared about them. His dealings and thoughts were striving to take care of his nation.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, – Apostle Paul assures. But this is our choice dear friends. This is our choice as a people who have tasted freedom in God, those who have obtained dignity of the Earth and Heaven. What we should do if we have chosen not to give up?

Let me to give some advise. Don’t be afraid, please. Fear is something that attracts darkness. We can compare it with a small dog that sensed fear from a man and would follow him by barking. Please, be afraid no one, except God! The second advice is pray to God. The Jews did it along with fasting to be delivered, and received what they asked for. And the last one, do what you can do – write letters, speak up. Speak to Heaven and speak on earth. We are the citizens of Heaven, so we should appeal to our king. We are the citizens of earth, so we should appeal to those who God has appointed to be rulers and officials who we pray about according to the Holy Scripture. Remember this is a choice of each of us.

Let’s listen to the story with Esther. I don’t describe direct analogies either by names or in punishment. Don’t suspect me of radicalism. I have talked about church history, that no one that rebelliously rises up against the Church will be successful.

The Biblical revelation from the Prophet Isaiah says – "No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me," declares the LORD”. Use your inheritance dear Christians!