Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite.
The LORD supports the afflicted;
He brings down the wicked to the ground.
Psalm 147:5-6 (NASB)
Hymn: "He Ransomed Me" Julia H. Johnston, J. W. Henderson
The book of Esther largely centers around a very personal series of events that revolve around four people. Because of this, it can be easy to forget just how large of a problem the book actually records. We understand, conceptually, that Haman was trying to wipe out an entire people, but if we never look beyond Mordecai and Esther, we may have trouble remembering that the lives of many thousands, if not more, of people spread across the middle east were on the line. And when we we lose sight of that, we can miss how massive Haman's pride actually is.
Listen, God protects His people, He always has, at least so far as to ensure that there is never a time since Abraham when He was lacking a people. There is a whole lesson that can be drawn about God's faithfulness to Israel from the book of Esther, and it is rightfully drawn frequently; but for right now, consider that there is also a lesson about how deeply God hates selfish pride.
This goes all the way back. In pride, Adam and Eve sought to take for themselves the power to be like God on their own terms, and the world still reverberates with the condemnation of that action. When the people sought to built their own path to God and rise up to the heavens under their own power, they were struck and scattered and cursed to never fully understand each other. In the end, those who were too proud to recognize their need of Christ will be laid low for all eternity. God is serious about breaking our pride. Paul recognized this when he said:
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NASB)
We may think that pride is a personal matter, a problem that should be handled, sure, but is ultimately between us and God. It's not like one of those other sins, like murder or theft, that hurt people, after all. But Haman's blood testifies against us on this delusion. Haman's pride caused him to grow so hateful toward Mordecai that he sought to eradicate an entire race of people. The folly of his pride was shown when it was turned around on him, when it forced him to show Mordecai an honor that he coveted for himself. His pride drove him to not only build a gallows for a man who had done him no wrong, but to build it fifty cubits high, so everyone could see the glory of his victory over the man who stood at the gate of the king; and it was his pride that hung him there in disgrace, instead.
Oh, let us never forget the lesson from Haman about our pride. God will not tolerate it, and the higher we strive to be, the lower He will surely bring us down. Like Jesus, who laid aside His great riches and glory to save a world that did not deserve Him, let us ever esteem others over ourselves and seek to glorify the God who works in us rather than ourselves.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation