January 20, 2017

The Consequences of Folly

Esther 7:5-10

Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.

—  Esther 7:8

As Haman begs the queen for his life, she is reclining on a couch. We know that Haman is pleading with her, but when the king returns, still fuming with anger, it looks to him as if Haman is now trying to molest the queen!

Esther does not try to correct that impression. She abandons Haman to the consequences of his folly, and he is soon impaled on the pole he has intended for Mordecai.

Fools are incorrigible: “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools! . . . As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly” (Proverbs 26:3, 11).

Haman, the enemy of the Jews, was an intelligent man. He shrewdly arranged the affairs of state, even managing to get the king to decree death for all the Jews—because he hated one Jew in particular: Mordecai. Haman was smart, but he was also a fool—and fools seldom know when to stop.

Fools confide in their management skills; they’ve got all bases covered and keep friends in the right places. They behave as if “there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). They forget that “the Lord works out everything to its proper end, even the wicked for a day of ­disaster” (Proverbs 16:4).

As we interact with people each day—whether they are family members, neighbors, coworkers, or others, let us always seek to act wisely.

Thank you, Lord, for the wisdom of Christ that has overcome the foolishness of the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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