Have you ever wished for something to have it backfire on you when you got it?

When our boys were younger, we visited a local park for a family outing. We took our dogs – both large – with us. The two younger boys begged to hold their leashes and walk them. We finally gave in and gave each son a dog to walk. A few moments in, the dogs saw a squirrel and bolted, dragging both boys through the woods.

I can still see it in my mind playing out in slow motion. In hindsight, it was quite comical. . . something you’d see in an old western movie with a spooked horse on the run dragging some poor soul.

We caught up to them and rescued the boys with, thankfully, no serious injuries!

The simple desire on their part took them much quicker than they wanted to go and down a path they never intended.

Game day guidance

On another occasion, while playing football in elementary school, my oldest son’s coaches encouraged him on several occasions to step it up and be more aggressive.

He was a big boy, so coaches naturally thought he’d be aggressive. He was not.

They had that same talk while warming up before a game one Saturday morning. As they ran plays, my son Connor did what they asked. The downside? He nailed our own quarterback!

That blow during warmup kept the quarterback out the entire game. The coach got more than he bargained for that day.

From honor to disgrace

In the book of Esther, Mordecai, Esther’s cousin and also a court official sat faithfully at the king’s gate.

One day, King Xerxes realized Mordecai had never been thanked for uncovering a conspiracy to assassinate the king. He asked his second-in-command, Haman, to tell him what to do for the man the king delights to honor. (Esther 6:6)

Haman assumed the king was referring to himself. His answer included all the things he wished for.

The tables turned

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.” (Esther 6:10)

Let’s review the events that led to this. Haman devised the plan to annihilate the Jews—all because Mordecai wouldn’t bow to him. This filled Haman with rage, so one day he went home and built gallows to hang Mordecai. That next morning, he showed up at the same time the king sought advice.

Haman got more than he bargained for that day. Instead of hanging Mordecai, he was the person responsible for parading Mordecai throughout the city in a position of honor. Verse 11 tells us that Haman recited “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”

Haman wished for a hanging on the gallows he built, confident his enemy’s life would end there. He just didn’t know it would be his own life that would eventually hang.

A God-Guided Life

Haman’s passion and hatred for Mordecai set in motion the event to destroy the Jews. His self-guided life and pride cost him his own life.

Esther’s passion and sense of purpose exposed Haman’s evil plan. She didn’t let anything hinder her from helping her people. She allowed God to guide her life.

Mordecai also followed God’s lead. Because of his strong faith, his leadership, his submission to the Lord and his unwavering convictions, the Jews were rescued from Haman’s evil plan. He didn’t allow circumstances or self-preservation to dictate his value system.

Mordecai went from camping outside the king’s gate in sackcloth and ashes, wailing loudly and bitterly, to being second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among the Jews. He worked for the good of his people, speaking up for the welfare of all the Jews.

What about us?

While we may not take pride and selfishness to Haman’s level, we also run the risk of letting pride inch into our lives and take us on a downward spiral.

Are there some things in your life that you haven’t released to God?

When we embark on our own without God’s guidance, we may travel down an out-of-control path leading to destruction. Or our pride could hinder the very goal we are trying to accomplish.

Think of a time when you followed God’s guidance. How was that experience different from when you let your pride control the outcome?

Let’s commit today to live with God as our guide. Let our passion and purpose shed light in the darkness, let our convictions be unwavering, and our submission to God lead others to His rescue plan.


There is so much more we can learn from Esther and Mordecai. For the full story, read the book of Esther in the Holy Bible.