Teaching Series
Shaped by Environment
Esther 5-7

Series: Shaped by Environment 
Message: Proximal
Preacher: Jessyka Albert
Daily Walk: Jessyka Albert

Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 70

Read: Esther 5-7 (Message). Note 1-3 insights/questions that arise from the paraphrase. 

Reflect:  We are told in Esther 5:9 that, “Haman went out that day glad and pleased of heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate and that he did not stand up or tremble before him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai” (NASB). Haman then converses with his wife and friends about his hatred, leading to his decision to have Mordecai killed before the queen’s banquet.

As you can see here, Haman is extremely influenced by his proximal environment. Whatever he encounters has a direct impact on his feelings and attitude. First, he is filled with happiness and pride, thinking he is the only one invited to a banquet with the king and queen. Then his joy turns instantly to seething anger when Mordecai does not let his proximal environment affect him in a negative way and refuses to honor Haman.

Do you notice the difference? Mordecai knows his life is at risk, but instead of dwelling on this in conversation with his fellow Jews, he fasts and is at peace knowing Esther is in God’s hands. Haman, on the other hand, lets his anger come to a boil by allowing his wife and close circle of friends stir the pot. Haman cannot wait months to have Mordecai executed, so he takes the advice of those closet to him and has the gallows built immediately. 

Not only do we see a tension between cultures—Jewish and Agagite—but we see evidence of the personal baggage that Haman has regarding Mordecai. Haman has all power and acknowledgement he wants from everyone—except Mordecai—and that really bugs him. This is a perfect reminder of how earthly power often gets to our heads. It is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refusing to bow down before Nebuchadnezzar. It is Jesus refusing to worship Satan in the wilderness. It is you and I refusing to give our allegiance to anyone but God. When Mordecai refuses to bow down and pay homage to Haman—and not even to appear to worry after the law to destroy the Jews has been passed—Haman is reminded that he is not worthy of that kind of worship.

Recalibrate: ​ 

  1. How is your proximal environment (relationships, work, school) affecting you this week?
  2. Is your mood easily influenced by every situation you encounter?

Respond: Pray for compassion.

Research:  What is the importance of worship and allegiance to us today?

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