Here is one of the Bible’s great jaw-dropping moments.
Haman was a proud and presumptuous man, and this led him to make a huge miscalculation. His assumption, upon hearing that there was a “man whom the king delights to honor,” was to assume that he must be that man. So he outlined a plan for exaltation involving royal robes, a royal horse, a crown, and public praise with no one in mind other than himself (Esther 6:8-9). We can imagine Haman’s heart swelling as he heard the king say to him, “Hurry, take the robes and the horse, as you have said…” And then he heard… “And do so to Mordecai the Jew.”
How that name must have struck Haman’s heart when he heard it!
Haman had set out that day to hang Mordecai (Esther 6:4). And now he was being told to parade the man through the public square, announcing the king’s generous reward for the one person Haman most despised. What a picture! What a performance!
By contrast, the humility and normality of Mordecai’s existence is established in just a single sentence: “Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate” (Esther 6:12). Mordecai didn’t blow his trumpet as Haman had done when he came from Queen Esther’s first banquet (5:11-12). Though he was paraded through the town—an unsought exaltation, an unsought ride on the king’s horse—he just went back and sat down where he had always sat.
There’s something compelling about humble faithfulness—doing what we do, day in and day out, not in hope of praise but because it is the right thing to do. It doesn’t seem like much at the time. Yet often when children and grandchildren reflect on the lives of their faithful parents and grandparents, they say things like “She always did this,” “He always sat there,” “This is when she always prayed,” or “This is where his Bible always was.”
Mordecai did what was right because it was right, not because he wanted to be recognized and exalted. Today, let it be enough that you do what is right in God’s eyes, whether you’re honored by those around you, as Mordecai was, or you’re quickly forgotten like so many faithful believers throughout history. One day, all the scales will be reset, and honor will be given where honor is due. In the meantime, set aside any prideful endeavor for distinction, and continue in the normality of your daily routine with faithfulness and humility.
The King Honors Mordecai
1On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. 2And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana1 and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 3And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king's young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” 4And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king's palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows2 that he had prepared for him. 5And the king's young men told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” 6So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” And Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” 7And Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, 8let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and the horse that the king has ridden, and on whose head a royal crown3 is set. 9And let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king's most noble officials. Let them dress the man whom the king delights to honor, and let them lead him on the horse through the square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.’” 10Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry; take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king's gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” 11So Haman took the robes and the horse, and he dressed Mordecai and led him through the square of the city, proclaiming before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”
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