So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.…
"The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman." This is the best way of dealing with every enemy. Definite statements are manageable, but vague charges are never to be entertained. No man makes progress who deals in generalities. The sermon is in the application. The prayer is in the amen. Let us apply this teaching.
I. IN THE MATTER OF OUR OWN PERSONAL CHARACTER.
1. Put your finger upon the weak point of your character, and say, "Thy name is Self-indulgence." Tell yourself that you are allowing your life to ooze away through self-gratification. You never say no to an appetite, you never smite a desire in the face.
2. Take it another direction. "The adversary and enemy is this infernal jealousy." Your disease, say to yourself, is jealousy. Speak in this fashion when you have entered your closet and shut your door; say, "I am a jealous man, and therefore I am an unjust man; I cannot bear that that man should be advancing; I hate him; the recollection of his name interferes with my prayers; would God I could lay hold of something I could publish against him, I would run him to death." Yes, this is the reality of the case, God never casts out this devil, this all-devil; only thou canst exorcise this legion.
3. Or take it in some other aspect and say, "The adversary and enemy is this eternal worldliness, that will not let me get near my God."
II. WITH REGARD TO PUBLIC ACCUSATIONS.
1. Take it in the matter of public decay.
(1) Who in looking abroad upon the country will say, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked liquor traffic"?
(2) Or, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked official self-seeking"?
2. Apply the same law to the decline of spiritual power. It is an easy thing to read a paper on this subject, but who names the Haman? What keeps us back?
(1) Fear of offending the world. The world ought to be offended. No worldling should ever have one moment's comfort in the house of God. He should feel that unless he is prepared to change his disposition, he is altogether in the wrong place.
(2) Sometimes the enemy is doubt in the heart of the preacher himself. The man is divided. His axe is split across the very edge. There is no power in his right arm. When he speaks he keeps back the emphasis.
III. WE MIGHT APPLY THE SAME DOCTRINE TO HINDRANCES IN THE CHURCH. The adversary and enemy is this wicked, cold-hearted man. Whenever he comes into the church the preacher cannot preach; he cannot do many mighty works because that man is there, cold, icy, critical. We are afraid to name the adversary in church; we confine ourselves to "proper" words, to "decent" expressions, to euphemisms that have neither beginning nor ending as to practical vitality and force. We are the victims of circumlocution, we go round and round the object of our attack, and never strike it in the face. What we want is a definite, tremendous, final stroke. Esther succeeded. Her spirit can never fail.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: So the king and Haman came to banquet with Esther the queen.