From Self-Assurance To Self-Destruction

When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, “Since Mordecai—this man who has humiliated you—is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him.”
Esther 6:13 New Living Translation

The irony of the fate of Haman in Esther 5 – 7 is hard to miss. He has reached the pinnacle of his career as a noble in Xerxes’s empire. He is second in command with nowhere to go but down. The only way to go higher in the Persian Empire would be to stage a coup against Xerxes and that would probably not end well for him. At the height of his power in the empire, Haman has become obsessed with the destruction of Mordecai. Seeing Mordecai at the palace gate on his way home from a private banquet with the King and Queen upsets him so much that he is unable to enjoy the evening and cannot wait for the appointed day to see this particular Jew dead.

Haman’s rage causes him to plot a new plan that will eventually lead to his own destruction. He erects a tall stake in his backyard to have Mordecai impaled on and plans to ask Xerxes to pronounce the sentence the next day. That night, God reminds Xerxes that Mordecai had saved him from an assassination plot and learns that nothing has been done to honor Mordecai. Xerxes is trying to decide the best way to honor Mordecai at the very moment Haman arrives to ask for Mordecai’s execution. Xerxes asks Haman for advice on how to honor someone he is very pleased with. Haman’s self-assurance is so strong at this point that he assumes the honor is for him and suggests a grand royal parade through the city for the one the king is pleased with. He is horrified to learn that the intended recipient of this honor is Mordecai and Haman would be the one to lead Modecai on this parade. Haman is foiled in his efforts to rid himself of Mordecai and becomes even angrier.

At this point, Haman’s wife and friends make this dire prediction. If he continues to seek Mordecai’s death it will lead to his own destruction. Little did they know how soon this prediction would become a reality. He is taken to a second banquet with the King and Queen where Esther reveals her ethnicity and Haman’s plot begins to unravel. Xerxes is angered by Haman and has him impaled on he same stake Haman had erected for Mordecai. Haman’s self-assurance led to his own destruction.

Long before this, King Solomon wrote:
“Pride goes before destruction,
    and haughtiness before a fall.” (Psalm 16:18)
Haman’s life illustrates this reality. When we become too self-assured, it is easy for us to develop too high an opinion of ourselves and think that the whole world should revolve around our agenda. In that process, though, it is easy for us to get caught into a trap of our own making that eventually brings about our own downfall. There is an appropriate place for godly confidence that inspires us to do things that are driven by Kingdom values. Self-focused confidence, though, can often lead to our own undoing.

Prayer:
God, keep our hearts from too high of an opinion of ourselves and our agenda. Help us to remember that our confidence should come from You and be about advancing the agenda of Your Kingdom, not ours.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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