Cross Words: Sovereign in the silence, XIII

By Isaiah Pauley

Who or what is the source of your joy? Faulty joy leads to sinful choices.

“And Haman went out that day joyful and glad of heart. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was filled with wrath against Mordecai” (Esth. 5:9 ESV).

In this single verse, we find Haman full of joy and full of wrath. Because his “joy” isn’t really joy at all. Instead, Haman has succumbed to a faulty joy. A fake joy. An insufficient joy. And the object of his so-called joy becomes obvious as God’s Word continues.

“Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home, and he sent and brought his friends and his wife, Zeresh. And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. Then Haman said, ‘Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate’” (v. 10-13 ESV).

Haman’s “joy” is actually pride. He is so consumed with his position and prestige. He is consumed with his access to the Persian monarchs. He is obsessed with his riches. And he is bound and determined to have it his way. Nothing is going to stand in the way of maximizing his power and glory—not even Mordecai.

Do you see how Haman’s “joy” isn’t joy at all? Instead, he has a faulty joy. The foundation of which is unable to keep him satisfied. Landon Dowden writes, “Earthly pleasures and possessions lack the weightiness and worthiness to sustain our joy forever.” This is exactly the dilemma Haman finds himself in. And when our joy is derived from the things of this world, it inevitably leads to sinful choices. Why? Because faulty joy can never satisfy our restless hearts, causing us to continue searching and grabbing for more. And this restlessness leads us to deeper and deeper sin.

That’s why Haman’s “joy” so quickly leads to wrath against Mordecai. Through his depraved eyes, Mordecai stands in the way of more fulfillment and happiness. But if his joy had been real, there would have been no need to fight for more.

After all, true joy can only be found in Christ.

While describing Himself as the true vine, Jesus says, “‘These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full’” (John 15:11 ESV).

As He is about to die, Jesus tells His disciples, “‘So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you’” (John 16:22 ESV).

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary reads, “Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God. It is not something people can create by their own efforts.”

Until we find real joy in Christ, we will always be searching for more. We will always be reaching for something else to satisfy. And Haman is a good example of this.

Haman’s sin only grows. Chapter 5 ends with a group of people encouraging Haman to kill Mordecai for his own enjoyment.

“Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‘Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.’ This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made” (v. 14 ESV).

I sure hope there are people in your life who encourage you to mortify sin rather than continuing in it. But if not, let me be that person today. Faulty joy is like quicksand. And a whole bunch of people are sinking.

Dowden continues, “Importantly, killing Mordecai would not kill the root of Haman’s issues.”

So, who or what is the source of your joy? Are you searching for something else to bring you happiness? Stretching for something else to satisfy? All the while, sinking ever deeper into sinful choices?

Let Christ be the source of your joy. Let Him fill the crevices. Let Him be the object of your affection and satisfaction. Only then can you walk in obedience rather than sinking in sin.

Don’t be like Haman. He’s about to kill a man with the hope of bringing himself more joy. But as we’re about to see, God has a different plan. Because He is sovereign in the silence.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.