Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 1 Peter 5:6 ESV
In the book of Esther, we meet Haman, one of the princes of Persia who had been elevated to high status by King Ahasuerus. Per the king’s edict, everyone was to bow down before him.
Mordecai, a Jew, refused to bow before Haman and incurred his wrath against all the Jews. Haman came up with a plot to destroy the Jews and got the king to agree to it.
But the destruction of the Jews was not enough for Haman, he wanted Mordecai to be hung on a gallows that he built in his yard. Early one morning, Haman went to the palace intending to ask the king for permission to kill Mordecai.
What Haman had not known was that the king had been unable to sleep the night before and had asked to be read from the book of records. He had listened as they recalled how Mordecai had uncovered a plot to kill the king and had told the queen about it.
King Xerxes now wanted a way to repay the debt that he felt was owed to Mordecai for saving his life. He wanted advice from one of his princes. When he heard that Haman was in the courtyard, Xerxes invited Haman into his inner chambers to seek his advice.
The king asked Haman what should be done for someone whom he wanted to honor. Look at Haman’s response,
“Whom would the king delight to honor more than me?” Esther 6:6 NKJV
A popular phrase in Jamaica is “Humble yourself”. This is usually said to someone whom the speaker believes is acting above his station or forgetting who he is in relation to the speaker.
What does it mean to humble yourself?
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “humble” as having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance. It means that you don’t think of yourself more highly than you do others.
In Haman’s opinion, there was only one person who the king could be thinking to honor. He didn’t think any of the other princes, nobles, or thousands of people in the kingdom deserved praise.
My friend, is that you? Do you need to humble yourself? Do you think you’re the only person deserving of praise? Do you think you’re the only person who should receive the honor? It’s important for you to humble yourself.
Jesus addressed this same mindset in the parable of the wedding feast,
When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.
If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.
But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:8-11 NIV
We are not to exalt ourselves above others. Instead, we’re supposed to humble ourselves which will provide opportunities for us to be honored. Let us not be like Haman whose pride led to his downfall. Let us esteem others as better than ourselves.
Lord, forgive me for exalting myself above others. Help me to be humble in my dealings with others. In Your name, I pray, Amen.
Pause for Reflection
- Do you have a tendency to exalt yourself above others?
- Have you ever been in a situation where you had been humbled after you had exalted yourself?
- What lessons can you learn from Haman?
- What lessons can you learn from the parable of the wedding?
Other actions you can take: