No Recognition (Esther Day 3) Author-Brandon Caudill
For reasons only He knows, God sometimes allows unjust and wicked people to prosper while those attempting to lead righteous lives are overlooked and cast aside. This is the exact scenario we encounter in today’s reading.
After hearing of a potential assassination plot against King Ahasuerus (Est 2:19-23), Mordecai did the right thing and immediately informed Esther, who then informed her husband of the scheme to take his life. One would think that such an act of honesty would bring about the blessing and favor of the king. But, according to Esther 3:1, that was not the case:
“After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him.”
No giving thanks. No recognition. No commendation. Instead, Mordecai’s enemy, wicked Haman, continues to advance in prominence and prestige in the kingdom. And, as Scripture informs us, he begins to hatefully utilize his newfound position to exterminate Mordecai and his people, the Jews.
In light of today’s text, consider with me these three questions:
- What is my motivation for doing the right thing?While we should actively seek to lead lives of righteousness, we should never do so out of selfish gain or selfish ambition. Instead, we should seek righteousness for the glory of God, not ourselves.
- How do I react when others who are seemingly undeserving are recognized before me?Our natural inclination is to become envious and hard-hearted, considering ourselves superior to others. But this is an improper response, even if those who prosper are legitimate enemies. Instead, we must remember the words of Jesus, “Love your enemies. Pray for them. And remember, the last will be first, and the first will be last” (based on Matt 5:44; 19:27-30; 20:16).
- What am I doing with the position God has given me in this season of my life?Sometimes we get so caught up on what we don’t have, or what others have been given, that we fail to realize what we do have: a life transformed by the gospel. If we would only stop to consider the blessings God has given us in Jesus, we would see that He has provided exactly what we need to make Him known in this world. And, unlike Haman, we can utilize the position God has given us in life for His glory and the good of others, no matter if we’re rich or poor.
Father God, Your Word today has awakened my need for deep repentance once again from an old, longstanding struggle in my soul. Although You are fully aware, I admit to you today that I have a pride problem. I love to be recognized for my achievements and rewarded for what I do for others. And I especially struggle with pride when I feel unjust and unrighteous people are blessed and recognized before I am. It sounds stupid, but I’m guilty of thinking my “good” deeds should twist Your arm of blessing. Please forgive me for this, Father. If there is anything good in me, it only comes from You. Please put my pride to death by bringing the gospel to bear heavily upon this sin in my life. Jesus, I pray that you will continue to instill Christ-like humility in me. Remind me that even though You were in the form of God, You did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. Instead, You emptied Yourself by taking the form of a servant. You were born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, You humbled Yourself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil 2:6-8). Teach and empower me to imitate Your model of humility, Jesus. Help me to trust in Your perfect righteousness and in Your perfect plan, even if it doesn’t result in my recognition or advancement. In the words of a song I’ve heard and sang many times, remind me that “if all I ever get out of laying my life down is thorns in the shape of a crown on the brow of a man from Nazareth. And if all I get is what Jesus did and said and put within my heart, then I get it all. I have it all! Everything is mine!”* I pray in Your matchless and mighty name, Jesus. Amen.