Coming to the penultimate part of this series, we now focus on some more instances in the scriptures to see how the good the Lord has brought about amazing turnarounds for his glory.

Treasures...
Before going any further, I would like to draw to your attention to some scripture portions-- notably Exodus chapter 17, Deuteronomy chapter 25, verses 17 to 19, then First Samuel chapter 15. You would observe that the "common factor" in these chapters are the Amalekites, the arch-enemies of the people of Israel! We see how they came to war against the people of Israel when they were on the way from Egypt to Canaan. Deuteronomy chapter 25, verses 17 to 19 sums up their cruelty by mercilessly slaughtering the weak and the feeble amongst the people of Israel. Many years later, God, who had said that vengeance is mine (Deu 32:35), gives a special task to King Saul, a task which could be labelled as "Operation Amalekite Annihilation"; to finish them off lock, stock and barrel. When we actually consider the extent of the Amalekites' wickedness, the sentence of Almighty God who is fair appears perfectly just (Rev 16:4-7). In this connection, I want to share with you on what I learnt about the Amalekites savagery in my correspondence with the Jewish Rabbis--especially the brutality they exhibited towards the Jews in the Wilderness. Deu 25:17-19 gives us only a faint idea of their wholesome wickedness.

I learnt that when these barbaric Amalekites slaughtered the "feeble and the weak amongst the Israelites"; they were so barbaric, that they cut off their private parts and threw them into the air to mock their Saviour with these taunting words: "If you are really there, protect these Jews!" That is the extent of their wickedness and King Saul was given a special task of annihilating them from under the sky. Now was he obedient? Many of us know the tragic story of how he not only coveted the wealth (read livestock, which was a measure of one's wealth in the Biblical age- Job 1:1-3/1 Sam 15:19) of the Amalekites but he also spared "Mr. Wicked" himself, King Agag (1 Sam 15:33). By the time prophet Samuel came and finished off king Agag, we can be very sure that some of the descendants of that wicked king escaped. After 600 years, do not we see the descendants of Agag raising their wicked head once again like a hooded cobra in the form of Haman the Agagite (the Second in Command to King Ahaseureus the Mighty Medo-Persian Emperor) in the Book of Esther (3:1)?

We see how this Haman the Agagite was planning to exterminate all the Jews on account of one Jew named Mordecai, who was not as servile as his other colleagues and officers in the King's court (Esther 3:6). While a massive Jewish genocide was planned and approval of by the King (Esther 3:7-14) for settling his personal score with Mordecai, however, Haman built gallows for the former. Being the "Blue-eyed boy" of the Persian King at that time, all he had to do was go and make a request to the Persian king to hang Mordecai (Esther 5:9-14); and that would be the end of the "Benjaminite" Mordecai (word "Benjaminite" is being used advisedly).

We see that the wicked Haman was on the verge of pulling the trigger, by persuading the King to put Mordecai to death, but at the very beginning of chapter 6, we read amazingly "that night king had trouble sleeping." Praise God there were no TVs or Smart phones in those days; otherwise he would have switched on the TV or SP before trying to go back to sleep. Instead, he wanted to read the Royal Chronicles, and lo and behold; therein he comes across the account of how Mordecai saved his life (Esther 2:21-23/Esther 6:1-2)! Precisely at that time comes Haman with a request to hang Mordecai, and the King asks Haman, innocently keeping Mordecai in mind, "What should I do to honor the man who pleases me?" Haman, ever the egotist, thinks that the King is alluding to him and hence says that he should be given royal treatment, he should be paraded on the royal horse all over the city so on and so forth and then the king orders "go and do this to Mordecai." Dear friends, don't you see the complete turning of the tables, how God intervened to save the life of Mordecai? It is not explicitly stated that God worked, but you can certainly see His hand. You may still be asking "How?" Well, in Esther chapter 6 verse 1, it states: "that night, the king had trouble sleeping." Therein lies the answer. That was the sovereignty of God in action. You can see His hand, and from there on out, we see a chain reaction. It not only saved Mordecai at that time, but it also eventually ensured that Haman "fell into the very grave he dug for Mordecai" (Esther 7:10).

Now who was Mordecai? A Benjaminite, as I stated earlier. And who was King Saul? A Benjaminite as well. We have just witnessed the settling of accounts by God! Providential usage of the Benjaminite Mordecai to complete the work, which the Benjaminite king Saul had left unfinished. It included in its ambit now the one of killing of all the sons of Haman the Amalekite on the very day the Jewish genocide was to take place (Esther 9:1, Esther 7-10). Now brace yourself for the climax of climaxes....the rich Haman (PM of mighty Medo-Persian Empire with ostensibly vast wealth) and his sons were killed but their vast property was not so much as touched by the Jews under Mordecai's leadership. These Jews had learnt the lessons from the past, for the greed for property of Agag the Amalekite had been the bane of King Saul (Esther 9:10).

Table...
While continuing to ponder on the paramount matter of choosing between greed and generosity, it would serve us, as the present generation, to learn and apply lessons from the past and to be inspired by the total turnarounds that the good Lord brought about in the lives or circumstances of people for His glory (1 Cor 10:11). Those of us who have been struggling with inherent covetousness in our lives for instance, would do well to remember the "turning of the tables" in the life of one who craved for money seated at the tax-collector's table. If greed gave way to generosity in Zaccheaus's life (Luke 19:1-9) courtesy of the transforming power of the Saviour, then why not in our lives too, as we depend more on His indwelling Spirit to bring about the needed victory over sin (Rom 5:5/1 John 4:4). By the way, no Christian official should at any time be linked to any "under the table" (sic) transactions!

Prayer: Father, strengthen us to stay away far from the love of money, whereby we bring glory to Your Holy Name in the marketplace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Suresh Manoharan
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries

(To access the entire "Turning the Tables" Easter Mini-series, please click here.)