Blackbelt: Spiritual Judo

On the ride up to NYC, I listened to sermon by the senior pastor at MBC, Lon Solomon, on Esther and the story about Mordecai, Xerxes and Haman.

As I finished the sermon, I felt incredibly blessed that I downloaded and listened to this on the ride, mostly because of things that have been going on in my life. Here’s a short synopsis of the story in the Book of Esther.

The characters:
Queen Esther, a Jewish woman, is the wife of King Xerxes (he doesn’t know she is Jewish).
King Xerxes, ruler of Persia.
Mordecai, uncle of Esther (raised her), saves King Xerxes from an assassination plot. Refuses to bow down to Haman.
Haman, noble to King Xerxes, hates the Jewish people, plots to kill Haman and all the Jews living in Persia.

Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman because of the commandment to have no gods before the Almighty God. Haman, angered by this, decides that he will not only kill Mordecai but ALL the Jews in Persia, and he has a gallows built just to hang Mordecai. Haman is a noble in the land and a friend of King Xerxes, it looks like the cards are stacked in his favor. How do Esther and Mordecai respond?

Well, Esther, goes to her husband, King Xerxes and asks to have a banquet with him and Haman, which he grants. Esther 5: 6, “As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.”

Then, Esther 5:7,8: “Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: 8 If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.”

After this, Haman goes home to brag about his dinner party– yet in spite of all that is going well in his life, he cannot forget his hate for Mordecai, Esther 5:13. This is when he decides to commission building the gallows for Mordecai.

That very night, King Xerxes cannot sleep and he asks for the book of chronicles to be brought and read to him (Esther 6:1). In this reading, the account of Mordecai saving the King is read and Xerxes asks what was done to reward Mordecai for this– to which the answer– nothing (Esther 6: 2-4).

Just then, Haman comes to talk to King Xerxes about hanging Mordecai– but before he can ask– Xerxes asks Haman, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” (Esther 6:6)

Haman replies with every imaginable honor he can think of because he thinks King Xerxes plans to honor HIM! Boy, is he surprised when the king reveals that he wants Haman to go and carry out all these honors for the very man that he just built gallows to hang– Mordecai!

So how does the story end of Haman? King Xerxes finds out about the gallows and has Haman hung on them! I don’t think that worked out the way Haman planned.

Lon connected this story very well to our lives as Christians living in the 21st century. As Christ followers, we will encounter Haman’s through out our lives– 2 Timothy 3:12 promises that if we are living Godly lives, we will be persecuted.

How are we to fight these Haman’s? With GOD as our DEFENDER. Lon gave a great quote from A.W. Tozer, “Whoever defends himself will have himself for his defense, and he will have no other; but let him come defenseless before the Lord and he will have for his defender no less than God Himself.”

Lon highlighted that God loves to use the scheme of the schemers against them. It’s SPIRITUAL JUDO. Judo is the art of using the enemies momentum against him– allow him to provide the inertia to flip himself. That’s what God did with Haman– Haman constructed the gallows to kill Mordecai, but it was Haman that hung.

And as Lon pointed out in the sermon, God does this throughout the Bible because He has the black belt in spiritual judo:

1)Genesis: Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery to keep them from ruling over them and God puts into motion a series of events so that Joseph does rule over them but he is able to help them during famine.

2) Exodus: Moses– Pharoh traps the Israelites up against the Red Sea and God uses this to humble Pharoh and destroy his chariot force by closing the Red Sea in on them but allows Moses to cross safely with the Israelites.

3) Daniel: Daniel’s political enemies try to use his prayer life against him, have him thrown into the lion’s den but God flips the situation around so that the king hears about Daniel and has the enemies thrown into the lion’s den and eaten.

Our human nature is to respond with vengeance– we want to get down there and mud wrestle with the Haman’s in our life. But God does not want that for us. We need to step aside and leave room for His wrath, revenge is His to repay– see Romans 12: 17-20.

As God commands us in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

In conclusion– give your Haman’s up to the One that is our ultimate defender!


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