January 15, 2017

A Time to Honor and a Time to Grieve

Esther 5:9-6:12; Romans 12:3

Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief.

—  Esther 6:12

It is wise, the apostle Paul reminds us, not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. But people like Haman overrate their importance: Whom would the king rather honor than me? Fools invest only in “me.”

We are familiar with such folly: “My body is mine; I can do with it—intellectually, sexually, matrimonially, gastronomically—as I please. I am ruler over my body.”

What truly matters, though, is not what you think you deserve, or what you think of yourself, but what the King thinks of you. If we concern ourselves with the righteousness of the King, says Jesus, all the other good things we need will be given to us as well (Matthew 6:33).

Mordecai, a good citizen of the kingdom of heaven, had saved the king of Persia from an attempt on his life. Because the smile of a king is like rain on a thirsty field (see Proverbs 16:15), King Xerxes honored Haman’s enemy. Even worse, he ordered Haman to honor Mordecai in the exact way Haman had expected to be honored himself.

A fool and his honor soon come to grief.

May we act wisely, not thinking too highly of ourselves, and acknowledge that all our gifts and talents come from the Lord.

We thank you, God, for honoring your Son, Jesus, above all other powers by raising him from the dead. Glory be to you, Lord, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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