Mordecai Honored by the King
Open Your Bible
Esther 6:1-14, Proverbs 26:27, Isaiah 52:1-2, Isaiah 52:7-10
If a king gave you carte blanche and said, “Dream up your own reward!”—what would you create? Haman was sure the king was poised to honor him, so he created his dream reward that could be summed up like this: “Doll me up, and let me ride around town on a fancy horse. Make sure to holler about it, so folks don’t miss my pretty parade!” Seems like such a fleeting thing to ask for. Not that anyone has asked me, but I’d request 100 acres of land and a nice clock radio.
Why did Haman ask for a parade? Setting aside the irony that he was choosing a reward for his nemesis, why did he want to be praised and displayed like a prancing pony? More than a desire for land or clock radios, Haman wanted to be worshipped. Human nature was the same in Persia then as it is in America, or any number of places, today. We are self-worshippers by nature, and the highest honor we can conceive of is simply that the world would bow in awe and worship of our own greatness.
The greatest temptation of man is the urge to make a god of self. “The fool says in his heart, ‘There’s no god’” (Psalm 14:1). Left to our own devices, we’re all fools, and what we’re really thinking to ourselves is, “There is no god but me.” The foolish pride of self-worship, of course, always ends in its own undoing. This isn’t a judgment that God unnaturally foists upon the prideful. It is the natural and necessary outcome of the way God’s creation works. Self-worship is unnatural. It runs against the very grain of creation, because only God is God. We are not. The inevitable end and consequence of every act of self-glorification is self-debasement.
We cannot remain atop the pedestals we build for ourselves because we are poor builders. Like Babel, our greatest works of self-exaltation come to an end because our God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). He exalts the humble and topples the proud. As Solomon says, “The one who digs a pit will fall into it” (Proverbs 26:27). Haman expected to be worshipped, but instead the king “clothed Mordecai and paraded him through the city square” (Esther 6:11).
All this is so because the proper relation of creature to Creator is trust. Again and again, God declares “Trust in the LORD and do what is good,” and “commit your way to the LORD; trust in him” (Psalm 37:3,5). Haman refused to trust any higher authority than himself. He refused to live humbly in his role. He abandoned both humility and truth, and so blundered into the ironic, yet fitting, humiliation of parading the humble Mordecai through the streets.
Let us not put our trust either in public parades or private possessions. Trust in the Lord, for all of creation is His. Let us humbly honor Him, for He alone is our God.
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