A 1962 episode of The Twilight Zone tells the story of a vain, harsh man. He bunkers in his apartment, imprisoned by his belief in a big conspiracy theory. He, and only he, perceives the world for what it is: a planet inhabited by people who deserve to die.

The episode begins, as each does, with an introduction by the show’s creator and narrator, Rod Serling. He introduces the self-absorbed character. “That’s Oliver Crangle, a dealer in petulance and poison.” He proceeds to talk about Crangle’s “metamorphosis of a twisted fanatic, poisoned by the gangrene of prejudice, to the status of avenging angel, upright and omniscient, dedicated and fearsome.”

Crangle is a man of no empathy. He rages against people he has never met. He demands that their employers fire them. He calls on law enforcement to arrest them. Crangle ascends a judicial bench of self-righteousness and proclaims a guilty sentence on everyone else.

He concocts a plan to purge the world of unsavory folk. He informs the FBI that at 4:00 p.m. all the world’s despicable and evil people will be easy to identify and imprison. Crangle will shrink them to a height of two feet.

Justice will finally be served. Evildoers will be disclosed, and he will be seen for the hero he is. As the fateful hour draws near, Crangle can hardly contain himself with excitement. Out of his mind with anticipation, he hurries to his window at 4:00 p.m. to celebrate the day of reckoning. But, alas, he is too small to look out the glass. He, Crangle, has been shrunk. He stands two feet tall.1

Do you know a Mr. Crangle? Have you crossed trails with small-minded, self-centered, despicable oppressors who view the world from a perch of arrogance? They abuse. They bully. They scorn. They enslave. They even seek to exterminate.

Haman was a Crangle. The villain of Esther’s story lived inside a one-person world. Everyone else existed to bow down to him. When one of them didn’t, Haman declared his fate and the fate of his people: death. Yet Haman’s swagger was short-lived. His reign of terror came to an end in the dining hall of Xerxes.

So the king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet, and as they were drinking wine on the second day, the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.” (Est. 7:1–2)

This was feast number two. Much has happened since feast number one. Haman plotted the death of Mordecai. Xerxes honored the dedication of Mordecai. Haman, who demanded to be worshiped, was humiliated. Mordecai, who refused to worship Haman, was celebrated. Haman was so angry and distraught he almost missed the party.

Banquet number two was every bit as elaborate as banquet number one. The wine was abundant. There was food aplenty. The festivity helped Haman forget his miserable day. He was just about to pour himself another goblet of wine when the king asked the queen what she desired. He’d asked this question before. Esther had deferred. But now the time was right. Her heart rate must have registered in the triple digits as she spoke.

If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king. (vv. 3–4)

The key words are the small words: “I . . . me . . . my . . . I and my people . . . to be destroyed . . . killed . . . if we had merely been sold as . . . slaves . . .”

Esther the Persian queen revealed that she was Esther the Jew. She linked her fate to the fate of her people. Silence fell on the room like a curtain. The king’s head was surely spinning. He struggled to connect the dots. Someone is plotting to kill the Jews? And you are a Jew? Someone is plotting to kill my queen?

“Who is he, and where is he? Who has done such a thing?”

Esther said, “Our enemy and foe is this wicked Haman!”

Then Haman was filled with terror before the king and queen. (vv. 5–6 NCV)

Haman, all two feet of him, began to tremble. He had no recourse. Both his jaw and goblet dropped.

Xerxes stormed out of the room. Livid. Fuming. Seething with rage. He was angry at Haman for playing him the fool, angry at himself for being one.

The blood drained from Haman’s face. Unless he acted quickly, it would soon drain from his body. He threw himself on the mercy of Esther. Literally. He fell onto her couch. Xerxes reentered the room and saw Haman groping toward the queen. Haman, who wanted to kill a Jew for not falling down in his presence, was caught falling down before a Jew. The ironies continue.

The guards hooded Haman’s head and took him into custody (v. 8). One of the king’s officials looked out the window at the seventy-five-foot gallows. “If I might make a suggestion, your majesty . . .” Xerxes gave the nod and Haman got the point.

While there is more to be resolved in the story of Esther (namely, an irreversible edict from the king to kill the Jews), we need to highlight a significant theme in this book.

Our God is a just God.

Max Lucado, You Were Made for This Moment: Courage for Today and Hope for Tomorrow (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2021), 2–5.

We have just released a new Bible Study on the book of Esther. It is based on Max Lucado’s new book, Made for this Moment

These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.

Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.

These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.

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