EVIL CAN ALSO SHOW RESTRAINT
But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home. Esther 5:9-10
God shows restraint in order to give us the best things at the best time. He will delay gratification, even wait on a deliverance, if the fullness of time has not yet come where our personal story is concerned.
The sobering truth is that Satan also shows restraint but not for our good. He stalls things in order to render greater destruction. Why inflict a surface wound when, tomorrow, you can strike a mortal blow! This dynamic is what plays out in today’s scripture.
Haman’s rage is simmering. As much as he would love to see Mordecai brought to justice for his refusal to bow down to him, he realizes that by biding his time, he can bring destruction to an entire nation rather than just one individual. He’d much prefer that so he chooses to cool down and re-group. He is like his father, the devil.
Satan is an ace of a strategic planner and works mostly behind the scenes, devising schemes that will bring the most extensive damage to God’s people. I should never assume on a quiet day that he has taken a vacation. Knowing my enemy is critical to my spiritual victory and I must keep in mind that He is never soft towards me. He is not moved by my pain. He dances over it. He never says, “I think she’s had enough.” He has an unending appetite for death and destruction. I am a child of the One he hates, the One whose throne He covets. His war against God is ancient and has only intensified with time.
And Satan is imaginative. He is able to conceive the most creative plot to take advantage of my vulnerabilities. When I have a puny image of God, I play into his hands by crying uncle and embracing hopelessness. Only when I refuse to be intimidated (because I stand tall in the power of Christ crucified), will I shine up my armor and fight another day. There may be times I resemble Mordecai at the gate, weary and vulnerable, In reality however, if I obey the God of the angel armies, I am never stronger. Fortified with God’s favor on my shoulder and undergirded with the Spirit of Truth, the forces of hell are forced into submission.
You’ve already won the war and I’m on the victory side. Jesus’ name, Amen.
Originally published Friday, 19 April 2019.