December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home. Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. ‘And that’s not all,’ Haman added. ‘I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.’ His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‘Have a pole set up, reaching to a height of fifty cubits, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai impaled on it. Then go with the king to the banquet and enjoy yourself.’ This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the pole set up.”—Esther 5:9–14 (NIV)
Here are some dynamic duos that are just infinitely better together:
Can you imagine a world without these pairings? I certainly don’t want to—especially the food ones!
You know what isn’t a dynamic duo? Insecurity and pride. In fact, I’d call that the destructive duo. Today’s passage shows us why. To recap, Haman—an Amalekite, Israel’s sworn enemy for generations—has had it in for Mordecai for a while. Why? Because Mordecai refused to kneel before him. I can imagine Haman’s thoughts:
“How dare he?”
“Does he know who I am?”
“Who does Mordecai think he is?”
So, Haman, rife with the destructive duo of insecurity and pride, decided not only to stick it to Mordecai, but also to all Jewish people, to the enemy of his ancestors. As we see in Esther 3, Haman essentially bribes King Xerxes into issuing this decree while leaving out who it was he was committing genocide against. However, it would be approximately 11 months before the genocide would take place, so Haman would have to continue seeing Mordecai.
Now, even after being one of only two guests to be invited to a special banquet (the other guest being the king himself) hosted by Queen Esther, even after being elevated to essentially the king’s right-hand man, we’re told, “When he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage.” And after being further inflamed by his friend and wife, Haman decides to rid himself of Mordecai and sets up a pole to impale him the next day, if the king approves.
It seems Haman could only find validation if he was worshiped by everyone. And the disapproval of one man who was beneath him in authority and status was enough to ruin his day and his life and cause him to go to extreme lengths of outright evil.
This is how destructive insecurity and pride are—and what happens when you find your identity, security, and validation in anything but God. As believers, our identity and security must be firmly rooted in the truth that we’re children of God, saved by the Son of God, and sealed forever with the Holy Spirit of God. The only approval we need is the approval we receive by the blood of Jesus. The only validation we need is the validation that we “are complete through [our] union with Christ” (Colossians 2:10 NLT) and have been “given the promised Holy Spirit to show [we] belong to God” (Ephesians 1:13 CEV). Anything else will lead to insecurity.
And when we understand, embrace, and walk confidently in this beautiful reality, we’re able to walk in humility, not insecurity and pride, which as Proverbs 16:5, 18 (ESV) tells us, “is an abomination to the Lord” that “will not go unpunished. . . . Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
And believe me, friends, Haman (and anyone else who is consumed by the destructive duo) is headed for a fall soon. My prayer for us today is that we constantly fight against the lies of the enemy who seeks to trap us in insecurity and overcome the temptation of human pride so we don’t end up destroying ourselves.
Pause: What makes insecurity and pride such a destructive duo?
Practice: Do some soul searching today. Spend time in prayer and reflection, examining your life. Ask Him to reveal any areas of insecurity and pride that could be hindering you or have begun to consume you and to help you overcome them by the power of the Spirit in you.
Pray: Heavenly Father, today I pray the words of Psalm 139:23–24 (NIV) and ask you to “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Where is there insecurity in my heart and mind, Lord? Am I constantly seeking the validation of others, the adoration and praise of man? Am I consumed by and constantly faced with compromising myself for the sake of being approved by people? How has pride crept in and impacted the way I see You, myself, and others? Help me, dear Lord, to flee and be free from pride. Help me to walk in humility and at the same time confidence because I am approved by You, loved by You, indwelled by You, and used by You. Help me to find identity and security in Christ alone. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.