Whom the King Delights to Honor

Every time I read Esther, I am amazed by God’s providence and protection of His people Israel. For years, I accepted 4:14 as this book’s theme: “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”[1] I still do. But I never saw anything more in Esther until the Holy Spirit said, “Whom the king delights to honor” (6:6). So I opened my Bible and read the chapter. As I did, I was struck by a portrait or foreshadowing of the judgment seat of Christ.

King Ahasuerus cannot sleep one night, so he asks someone to read “the records of the Chronicles” (Esther 6:1). It foreshadows the Lamb’s Book of Life (Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5). The king hears that Mordecai saved his life by warning him of two eunuchs who plotted to kill him (Esther 6:2). What honor has been shown Mordecai for this righteous deed? Nothing (6:3). Likewise, those who do what is right may receive little or no honor here on earth, but they can rest assured that they will be honored at the judgment seat of Christ, as his servants.

Esther MordecaiKing Ahasuerus asks Haman, “What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?” (Esther 6:6) Haman proudly thinks it is he (6:6). So he tells Ahasuerus that the man whom he delights to honor should wear his apparel and crown and ride his horse (6:8). Then he should be led through the city as someone shouts, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor” (6:9). Likewise, at the “marriage supper of the Lamb,” saints will wear “fine linen, clean and bright” (Revelation 19:8). Then, at Christ’s judgment seat, they will wear crowns based on deeds recorded in the “book of life” (1 Corinthians 9:25, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12). At his Second Coming, they will follow Christ on white horses and, in the New Jerusalem, walk on streets of gold (Revelation 19:11-14; 21:21).

Haman wants this great honor for himself, but it is reserved for Mordecai, who has earned it by his righteous deed. Haman, already promoted, has been told that others must bow to him (Esther 3:1-2). What more does he want? One would think he deserved such honor, since it was given by the king. However, chapters 3 and 6 show us Haman’s true character. He uses the king to avenge his selfish hatred for Mordecai by plotting to murder the Jews (3:5-6). Haman fails to learn that “pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18) and “before honor is humility” (15:33, 18:12).

Whom does Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, delight to honor (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, 19:16)? The Mordecais of this world – lovers of God who are humble, despised, and persecuted for righteousness. At His judgment seat, Christ will honor rich and poor, high and low, great and small. He will honor both famous saints and nameless prayer warriors. This world’s Hamans – proud, honor-loving, and self-important – will be humiliated and destroyed. This includes those who call themselves Christians and those who do not. Therefore, only the King’s judgment matters. The world often honors people to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me” (Matthew 7:23).

Let us pray to be one of Christ’s despised few, so that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

[1] New King James Version (NKJV), unless otherwise noted

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