READ: Esther 6:1-14, ESV
How I relate to the words ‘could not sleep.’ I’ve had to learn the hard way that my body can no longer take late night caffeine, sugar or any kind of evening snacking that will trigger heartburn. Otherwise, my night of rest and renewal turns into a restless night of regret and remorse. Please tell me you understand my pain.
But this isn’t the kind of sleepless night that King Xerxes is experiencing. Sometimes we can’t sleep at night because our assignment for that day isn’t through. King Xerxes had some unfinished business.
It was extremely common for kings to keep records of their doings and have it read back to them on a regular basis. Maybe it was to learn from and remember the past. Maybe it was because they were comforted by their own success. Either way, God worked in the ordinary to bring forth something extraordinary and His timing is impeccable! As the book of records is being read to him, he learns that Mordecai saved his life…five years prior. Although it wasn’t new news, it was new to him. God keeps no record of wrongs, but He does keep record of rights. He tucks them away to be used as reminders however He see’s fit. Some call it blessings, others call it favor.
Wait. Stop there.
Why had Haman entered to the outer court of the palace? He had been working all night to build a pole to impale Mordecai on. I have a confession: I sometimes lay awake at night plotting revenge against someone who hurt me or imagining how I’m going to put someone in their place for something they said to me. I spend a great deal of time picturing what it would be like to see justice served the way I think it should be.
Here’s the thing: The attitude in which we go into a situation will be the attitude by which we leave. Haman walks into this trying to play both God and King. Driven by selfish gain and ill intent, he enters the king’s court with his man-made plan. The king asks him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”
Now, are these words from someone who desires to be like their king or someone who just desires to be king? Do you notice how effortlessly these words rolled off his tongue? It’s as if he had been thinking this through for a really long time. He answered with such presumption and entitlement, it’s obvious that his heart was at the mercy of his pride.
There’s a difference between self-confidence and self-obsession. Confidence remains intact no matter what. It doesn’t seek to be celebrated or admired. It’s not subject to its circumstances. Obsession is on a mission to be honored and doesn’t rest until it’s recognized and praised. It’s defined by the thoughts and opinions of others and it defined by its accolades.
There’s nothing more beautiful than a foundation built on love.
In the same way, I desire to embrace the courage of Esther, I want nothing more than to flee as far as possible from the pride of Haman. The higher we take ourselves up the ladder of success, the further there is to fall. When we honor God and others, He honors us.
Lord, remind us of your blessings both old and new. Allow us to reflect your love in every situation and honor your name with our actions. Show us the favor your given us and help us extend it to others.
Image: Brooke Cagle