Esther 6:4 – 6 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows he had erected for him.
His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.”
“Bring him in,” the king ordered.
When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”
Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?”
This is a true story. But it couldn’t have been written any more perfectly if it were fiction! Here is Haman, coming into the king’s courts early in the morning so he can get permission to hang Mordecai. He wants to publicly humiliate Mordecai for the unspeakable crime of refusing to recognize Haman’s importance. Haman assumed himself to be more important to the king than he actually was.
So, when the king asked Haman’s opinion about how to honor a man, he immediately assumed he was the man the king wanted to honor. And we will see in the coming verses the poetic justice that took place, because of Haman’s arrogance.
But as I read about Haman, I have to examine myself. All too often, I become self-absorbed. I become so wrapped up in my own world and my own circumstances that I forget I’m really not that important. Sometimes, I assume that others are thinking things about me or speaking of me – good or bad – when in reality, I’m just not that significant. Most people are too wrapped up in their own circumstances to pay much attention to me.
Haman was arrogant in assuming he was the one to be honored. But I wonder if there is also an element of arrogance in worrying too much about what others think or say about me? After all, Haman was entirely consumed with Mordecai. Instead of being content with his good fortune, his wealth, and his power, Haman lost sleep because one man wouldn’t bow to him. That, my friends, is self-absorption.
I have a wonderful family, and friends who love me. I am healthy, I have a safe place to live, I have plenty to eat and plenty of clothes to wear. You’d think that would be enough. Yet, I confess. I have lost sleep at times, simply because I’ve been upset over what one person may think of me. I’ve also been at the other extreme, thinking I would win something when I didn’t actually win, but we won’t get into that.
I guess what concerns me about Haman is that perhaps I have a little of his arrogance. No, I’ve never plotted to kill anyone. I’ve certainly never conspired to annihilate an entire race of people. But I have been guilty of being self-absorbed.
I looked up the word arrogant in the dictionary. That word means making claims to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming. Have I assumed importance that doesn’t belong to me? Antonyms for the word arrogant include meek, modest, and humble. Aren’t these the very qualities that we, as Christians, are called to display in our lives?
In Philippians 2:3, Paul told us to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” In other words, get over yourselves! Treat others like they are the important ones. In comparison to Haman, I can’t help but think of Esther. She was humble and meek, and she became queen. Haman was self-absorbed and arrogant, and he . . . well, I don’t want to give too much of the story away. But let’s just say that humility is the better way.
I don’t want to be like Haman.
Dear Father, Please forgive me for being self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-important. Teach me to be humble like Esther, and like Jesus.