We can’t help but place ourselves in the story. After all, isn’t that what good biblical application is all about?
So, as I hover over Esther 5 this morning, where do I show up?
I’m certainly not the king. Don’t have a palace, not sitting on a throne, not really much power at my disposal.
I might like to think I’m Mordecai. One of God’s covenantal people, an agent for good behind the scenes, and refusing to bow the knee in public. Or perhaps, Esther. Prepared to take a risk and “come out” as a follower of Yahweh and plead the cause of my people. If I’m not the king, perhaps I’m a hero.
Yet, there’s one more player in this scene, Haman. But really, who would want to identify with him?
But really, again, maybe I can’t avoid it.
And Haman recounted to [his friends and family] the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. Then Haman said, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”
(Esther 5:11-13 ESV)
Worth nothing. Really?
The splendor of riches. Might as well be a zero balance in his bank account. Many sons to carry on his name. Could be homeless orphans for all he cared. Promotion after promotion on the job, honor after honor by his boss. Meteoric rise to the top of the food chain. Big deal, he says. An honored guest at the royal banquet table. Like fast food from a drive thru. Worth nothing . . . as long as he didn’t receive the respect he thought he was due by all those from whom he thought it was due.
The world in his hands. A hold on everything a successful man could want a hold of. Blessed abundantly. And yet, worth nothing because his unchecked pride thought he deserved more.
Ugh. Who wants to be Haman in this story? Not this guy.
But search me, O God, and know my heart — try me and know my thoughts (Ps. 139:23). See if there isn’t a way of discontent within in me. Expose the leaven of Haman — a prideful heart, a jealous disposition, a greed for glory.
Worth nothing. Incredible, if you chew you on it. But chew on it a little more, and perhaps all too relatable.
So, Lord Jesus, I come again to the cross. To the cleansing fount for all my sin — not just past transgression, but those present in the present, as well. Let me not long for worldly things, or worldly recognition to satisfy what can be an insatiable thirst but lead me to drink afresh of the living water of Your gracious, abundant, and eternal provision. By Your Spirit in me, help me to put to death the pride of the old man and walk in the humility and contentment of Your life in me. Remind me that I have already been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). Help me to see anew that nothing else compares with the reality of already being raised up and seated with You in those same heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). To know again that You are worth everything so that “there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You” (Ps. 73:25).
Hmm. I may not like identifying with Haman, but in a sense it is the sweetest of connections because it leads me to Jesus. The revealing of my pride becoming the path to knowing afresh the prize — Jesus and Him alone.
Such is the work of grace and the power of the gospel. To Him be all the glory.