There’s a growing sense of inevitability about this story now. Esther goes before the King and he extends his golden sceptre. We knew it would be this way. We knew that God would not allow any other outcome.
Why does Esther not just come out with her request straight away? Why does she invite Haman to not one, but two banquets with the King? Could it possibly be that the Lord wanted to give Haman enough opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of his pride and self-satisfaction? To literally give him enough rope to hang himself?
The same attitude that we have seen throughout this story is evident in Haman here – immense pride that is far too easily wounded. Notice how, like Xerxes, he gathers people around him so that he could boast about his wealth, his sons, his high position and his seat at the table with the King and Queen.
He seems to have everything, and yet he is not satisfied. It is not enough that he has all these things; he must also have the recognition and praise of every person around him. Mordecai, sitting at the King’s Gate, refusing to honour him, is a constant thorn in his side.
A person whose confidence comes from the Lord, whose identity is in Him, will not rely so heavily on material possessions and flattering words from other people to make them feel good. Paul warns the Philippians to “Have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). If all we have is our high position, then of course we will feel threatened if somebody doesn’t give us the respect we think we deserve.
If our confidence is not in our achievements, but in the Lord, then we can accept both praise and criticism with equal grace.