“Power Corrupts ...”

Categories: Character Study, Esther, Haman, Jesus Christ, Judgment, King, Mordecai, Old Testament, Power

Haman was chosen to serve as “second-in-command” under Ahasuerus (Est. 3:1-2). This was a position of honor and respect, but Haman allowed this power to go to his head. When surrounded by the servants and others who bowed (3:2), he seemed content. However, to witness just one man at the gate who refused to bow, he became “full of wrath” (3:5). His wrath set off a “chain reaction” of events that would finally end with his death (7:10). (Ironically, his death satisfied another’s wrath, but this will be covered in a future writing.)

Why did this occur? When Haman had so many that bowed to him, why did it bother him that only one didn’t? It seems that the presence of the servants and “yes-men” served as too much of a temptation for Haman. He would have 100% allegiance from the people, or he was going to know why not! Mordecai’s reasons for refusing to bow are not stated here, though. Regardless, Haman demanded obeisance from every person, and to refuse would be met with harsh punishment. In this case, Mordecai’s refusal to bow was Haman’s excuse to commit genocide! This attitude exists in the man who has allowed his power to corrupt him.

Contrast Haman’s attitude with the attitude of men like Joseph, Daniel, even King David! These, and many more, did not allow earthly power to corrupt them. They knew they were serving a God who was higher than them. In contrast, Haman acted as if he were his own god!

Let us remember that regardless of what position we hold on earth, we are just servants of God. We are still God’s creation (Gen. 1:26-27; Jas. 3:9b). We still have a Master to please (I Thess. 4:1; Col. 1:10). We will all fit in the same six-foot hole, and we will all stand before the same Judge (Heb. 9:27; II Cor. 5:10)! Don’t let power, position, or prestige on earth go to your head! Stay humble (I Pet. 5:5-6; Jas. 4:6)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs