Greed, unrestrained ambition, arrogance, pride, revenge, rage, and ruthlessness. Sounds like the evening news. I found them in the Bible’s short book of Esther. An orphaned Jewish girl raised by her cousin Mordecai [more-dah-kie], Esther becomes queen of Persia about five centuries before Christ.
Haman is the villain of the story. He is a narcissistic man who craves the honor of others. When Mordecai doesn’t express honor or fear, Haman is outraged. Learning that Mordecai is a Jew, he hatches a plot to annihilate every Jew throughout the Persian empire. (Haman was the Hitler of his time.)
Mordecai encourages Esther to ask the king to rescue her people. He reminds her that God placed her in the position of queen for just “such a time as this.” Esther knows that approaching the king without being invited can result in death, so she calls for every Jew in the city to fast for three days and to cry out asking God for favor with the king.
At the end of the fast, she approaches the king. He welcomes her and asks what is so important that she puts her life on the line. In reply, Esther invites him and Haman to attend a small, intimate dinner. At the dinner, he again asks what she wants. She replies that she will tell him the next day if he and Haman will come for another meal.
Haman leaves the dinner and can’t wait to boast to his friends and family about himself and his favor with the king and queen. But his countenance drops when he thinks of Mordecai. Haman’s wife suggests he build a tall gallows that night on which to impale Mordecai the next day for all the city to see.
The king learns that night that he never rewarded Mordecai for warning him of an assassination plot years earlier. While pondering how to show his appreciation, Haman enters the palace to ask permission to kill Mordecai. Before he can say a word, the king asks how he should demonstrate his admiration for someone. Being the narcissistic man that he was, Haman couldn’t conceive of the king wanting to honor anyone other than himself.
Thinking only of himself, Haman suggests that such a man wear a royal robe and ride a royal steed with one of the king’s most trusted administrators leading the horse through the streets, announcing, “This is what the king does for the man he honors.” Can you imagine the horror Haman feels when he hears that he is to lead the horse with Mordecai riding it?
At the meal the king again asks what Esther wants. To Haman’s shock, she reveals that Haman has put together a plot to kill all the Jews, which would include her. I wish I was a fly on the wall to see Haman’s face as he realized that Esther was related to Mordecai. This arrogant, pompous man suddenly cries like a baby as he begs for his life. Enraged, the king orders Haman’s immediate execution on the very gallows he had built for killing Mordecai.
This story reminds me that life can change on a dime. Whether in politics, business, entertainment, or even our health, it can all change in a day. Remember the game, King of the Hill? No one stays on top forever. Therefore I need to anchor my life around the one thing that will never change, God.
It also reminds me that I have a purpose. Each day God places us in places “for such a time as this,” where we can influence others for Him. I didn’t realize God’s purpose until after I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to take over the “steering wheel” of my life. If you haven’t done this yet, I hope you will soon and begin the great adventure for which you were created. firstname.lastname@example.org