I just finished reading the book of Esther in one sitting. I've never done that before, even though I participated in the in-depth study of Esther with Beth Moore. That study was awesome and I got so much out of it. But as I read the story today, that is what it was like - a story. It just pulled me in and I kept thinking, "I'll just finish this one chapter." But I kept reading until the end.
Usually, the person who stands out to me in Esther is, well, Esther. I imagine how she felt and what it was like to walk into the throne room. How you'd feel hot and cold waiting for the king to lift his sceptor. But this time around, the person who stood out to me was Haman.
Haman is identified several times as "Haman, son of Hammadatha the Agagite." From his actions, Haman appears very prideful and when Mordecai dares to not bow down, Haman is incensed. At first glance, this looks like someone overblown with confidence and pride.
In many ways, Haman was overly prideful, but I recently read a quote by G.K. Chesterton that said, "Only the secure are humble." The need Haman had for everyone to bow and pay homage to him when he walked by was not because he was secure. It was because he NEEDED that to feel built up in importance.
Haman is the villain in the story that you love to hate. I mean, honestly, is there a more satisfying moment than when Haman gets his comeuppance? Here he comes striding into the the thrown room to ask for Mordacai to be hung from the gallows, and before he can do that, the king asks Haman what he should do to honor someone. Immediately, Haman starts thinking about himself and gives all the things he wants.
And again, his wants are so eye-opening to his insecurity. He needs the adulation of the crowds. He needs the parade and the confetti to feel important and special. It is with great glee that we read on to see Haman realize that the king is talking not about HIM, but about MORDACAI. The gull of having to lead that horse with Mordacai on top to the crowds' cheers, to have to call out how awesome Mordacai is when he just wants Mordacai dead. I mean, really? That is just the picture of poetic justice isn't it?
But, when I read the story this time around, I felt sorry for Haman. He hates Mordacai so much because Mordacai is a reminder to him of all the things he isn't and can never be. You can see Haman slipping over the edge and heading downhill long before he realizes that he is speeding to destruction - that his pride and insecurity, his need to have everyone around him give homage to him, will ultimately be his downfall.
It's so easy for me to point my finger at Haman, to say how prideful he was, but am I any different? Well, obviously, I'm not running around trying to orchestrate the anihilation of an entire people, but how many times do I want to make sure people know I am right or smart or creative or (fill in the blank.) How many times am I afraid that people won't realize my worth?
I am currently doing a study called the Character Makeover. The first character trait is Humility. All I can say is "ouch!!" As I prayerfully went through the study this week, I saw how truly me-centered I am. John the Baptist said about Christ - "I must decrease and He must increase."
The truth is while I want Christ to increase, I'd really like it to be done so I don't decrease. I mean, if I decrease will I still have worth and value? The truth is I can get so consumed with my own problems, my own thougths, even my own walk with God, that I cease to see anything beyond the tip of my nose. True humility is, at it's core, trusting God with myself to the point where I don't have to worry about me at all because my worth and value come not from how others see me but who God redeemed me to be.
I'll close with this quote from Charles Swindoll, "Being totally committed to Christ's increase... means letting our lives act as a frame that shows up the masterpiece - Jesus Christ. And a worthy frame isn't tarnished or dull, plain or cheap. instead, with subtle loveliness, it draws the observer's eyes to the beautiful work of art it displays."
May I be a frame worthy of Christ - not trying to draw the glory from Christ to myself but pointing others to Him.
~ Blessings, Bronte