Study from God’s Word… Esther, Chapters 1 – 4 … Passage for Reflection: Esther 1: 12 … NIV But when the attendants delivered the King’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the King became furious and burned with anger.
My Journal for Today: I would expect that others reading along with me, like myself, have read the intriguing story of Esther before in your Bible studies. It is a wonderful story of political intrigue and personal spiritual character on the part of the main heroine of the story, the Jewess, Esther. But there is another precursor to Esther’s story, another courageous sub-heroine, whose story should not be lost in the focus on our Hebrew heroine; and that is the story of the King Xerxes’ bride, Vashti.
Here was a Queen who was obviously a beautiful lady and a highly respected queen in the court of King Xerxes. And she receives a summons from the King to appear before the court in the midst of drunken revelry where the king wants to show off the beauty of his queen; and she flat refuses to be degraded in this way. Well, the rest is history; and though the kind displays a bit of a soft side banishing his queen instead of having her beheaded or killed in some public execution, she still loses all access to the finery of being the queen because of her integrity. And we shouldn’t lose sight of the character lesson of this fine woman; and who knows [?], … perhaps her model might have influenced our heroine, Esther, who later would be called on to confront the king for the glory of God.
The application question from Dr. Smith in this morning’s devotional highlight is this: ”Am I sufficiently courageous to do the right thing even when the consequences are potentially disastrous?” And here we all have to do our own 2nd Cor. 13: 5 [linked for study] inventory of faith. And I don’t know what our individual confrontations of character might be. Perhaps you might be called to do the “right thing” at work by refusing to buckle to corporate pressures when your job might be on the line for such an action. Perhaps there are friends at work or in your social circles who mock God openly; and you might be called on to stand in the gap for your faith and confront your “friends” about their disbelief. Maybe there are those who are declaring that abortion is okay or “gay marriage” should be allowed; and you can’t stand back in the shadows any longer and let such opinions go unchallenged … even though the results may be being socially ostracized.
The lessons of Queen Vashti in today’s text, and later Queen Esther, tell us that character matters, especially when the prevailing politically correct forces are spitting in the face of Godly values. When – and how – we might be called on to stand up for our faith, I don’t know. But I do know we certainly have ample biblical examples; and two of them are being brought to our attention by studying the book of Esther. Had it not been for the courage of Queen Vashti, the later courage of Esther to save her people from a holocaust of horror would have not taken place; and so we get a two-for-one lesson in female courage and Godly honor by seeing how these two women stood up to the male dominant powers of the day.
Hooray for Queen Vashti; and hooray for those who stand in the gap for Godly values today!
My Prayer for Today: Lord, give me the courage to be like Queen Vashti or Esther when I’m confronted by ungodliness in my life. Amen