“When Haman entered, the king asked him, ‘What should be done for the man the king delights to honour?’Now Haman thought to himself, ‘Who is there that the king would rather honour than me?’ So he answered the king, ‘For the man the king delights to honour, let them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honour, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honour!”’10 ‘Go at once,’ the king commanded Haman. ‘Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.’11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honour!’NIV

‘’God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’’ (James 4:6 – quoting Proverbs 3:34)

This story amply illustrates the Bible principle that pride precedes a fall.

‘Haman hated Mordecai so much that he got up very early to ask for his enemy’s death. And Haman loved Haman so much that he could not imagine the king honouring anyone but himself! The proud man has a mirror in which he sees himself; the humble man has a window through which he sees others (Rom.12:10; Phil.2:3-4). Haman’s pride destroyed him (Prov.16:18; 18:12)…What a humiliating experience! Haman had to dress Mordecai in robes he wanted to wear, put him on the horse he wanted to ride, and then led him-a Jew-through the busiest part of the city!’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’,pp.275,276.

The Bible holds humility before our gaze as a virtue to be cultivated. It is called for in many passages. For example:

‘’Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up’’ (James 4:10). In a similar vein:

‘’Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time’’ (1 Peter 5:6).

In the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as the great example of humility (Philippians 2:1-11), and we are called to emulate Him. That means it must be possible in the power of the Spirit, even if we find it difficult – and we certainly do!

Marlena Graves’ book, ‘The way up is down’, was in Christianity Today’s list of the top books of 2020. It is a heart-searching book, and is ruthless in extending and applying the Biblical call to humble service. Here is a quote from the first chapter:

‘Hearing the call to renounce our wills in each new circumstance so God’s will can be done in and through every part of us is the call to selflessness. It’s not a one-time deal. It requires daily repentance and conversion to the ways of God. We’ll constantly have to examine ourselves and decide whether we really want to go Jesus’ way and surrender all control of the outcomes to God.’

As Marlena emphasises, the battle for humility is constant, but it’s one worth fighting. Who wants to end up being a Haman?

Someone once pointed out that In God’s orchard, the branches which bear the most fruit hang lowest.