Meditations on the Book of Esther for the God-fearing Woman
Vashti—the foolish plucketh down her house with her hands.
And Memucan answered before the king and the princes, Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king’s princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath. If it please the king, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws of the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, That Vashti come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal estate unto another that is better than she. And when the king’s decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small. And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan: For he sent letters into all the king’s provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people. Es. 1:16-22
These words were written after an ungodly, fierce, drunken king ordered his queen to be paraded before many other drunken nobles so he could brag about her. Yet the wisdom of Memucan rings the same clear bell as in the New Testament where Paul exhorts Titus regarding the ministry of the aged women:
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Ti. 2:4-5
Here in the letter to Titus it is also spoken of a king, the King of kings, whose honor is affected by our obedience unto our earthly king, the lord of our own house.
Does it make you cringe a bit when these two passages are looked at? Even when thinking of your undeserving, sometimes proud and boastful, sometimes rude and impatient, husband? Have you heard of others doing harm to their wives whom they are to love and cherish and protect? Nevertheless, I know there are some with God-fearing, upright husbands, and yet even there do we as wives sometimes chafe under their rule and command.
It is a sobering thought about who is really blasphemed by our behavior—God brings Himself into the equation. That makes me tremble.
The whole world lies in wickedness awaiting destruction, and we see it clearly in that which is portrayed by the media and the “educated” regarding the position and “rights” of the woman. The enemy has used many different tactics to bring this about. Yea, for many generations, and even still today in some religions and races, women are oppressed and mistreated by countless evil means, and men are used of Satan to bring about destruction to the purpose of God in making them male and female, man and wife. The Christian woman has taken up the reproach caused by fallen man and brought it into her house, whereby she is tearing it down with her own hands.
Let’s look again at our first passage from the book of Esther. They are such sobering words, and hold true even today. Even today when a prominent lady would stand up against her husband, many would be there to write news reports and magazine articles commending her, and many would be influenced. There were certain ones that would also be influenced by Vashti’s doing, as Memucan mentioned.
First is the fact that she caused reproach to the king, her husband. He was ruler, and the one who was supposed to be his crown and glory refused him. He took six months to show all his glory to the people, and after six days of feasting, on the very last day he wanted to bring out his most prized possession, a beautiful wife arrayed in the royal garments and crown jewels.
Was he very loving and considerate? Surely not. Was he worthy to be honored? Definitely! He was the king! If a king does not have rule over one, he is not that one’s king. It’s actually simple. And it is the same with Christ. He is the King of kings and those that do not seek His kingdom first cannot call Him “Lord.” And if His servants do not His will, He is not their Lord. Those whom He doesn’t rule have no part in His kingdom.
In our country, if you are not subject to the law, you are in danger of being thrown into prison. It is very simple. And the heavenly kingship of the Lord over His church points to the husband-wife relationship in definite, certain ways, and to rebel against that authority is to declare that you are no servant of the King. There is only one place for the child of God to not bow the knee, and that is when the human authority goes against God’s commands. Daniel and his friends serve as a good example, and the apostles confirm this again in Acts 5:29:
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
This they said to the high priest. But this is the only reason for excuse. Vashti was not in this position. Her quiet obedience, such as that of Sarah, would have been wisdom. A soft answer could have turned away the wrath. Does not even Peter in his first letter confirm that the husband in disobedience can be won … but by what? By subjection without a word. By seeing your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Not with outward adorning, but the inward ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. And here Sarah is named, giving us the example of obedience not being afraid with amazement.
The next to be influenced by Vashti’s refusal was the princes, and thinking of it again, all the people. But why? The women will hear (and they definitely do) what their queen, their example, did. She also held a feast for the women at the same time, so her favor and influence with them would have been at a high point.
Here I want to add a thought. I have seen the looseness and frivolity when many women come together, where their goal (although they do not realize it) is not to glorify God. They might even say that they are Christian and come together in His name, but at the slightest unction of one, the conversation erupts into discussions about their husbands and church leaders, or fashions and hairstyles. Scripture is so clear:
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Ti. 2:3-5
Many a time I have gone home grieved from a women’s meeting because of foolish talk. The women will be talking in such dishonoring ways about their husbands and men in general. Oh dear woman, young or old, let us not bring shame upon our husbands and ultimately our King. Fear the Lord and serve Him with trembling. Let us be sober-minded and not be drawn into the vain philosophies of our time and culture, brought about by psychology.
Now the rulers saw that the whole kingdom would be influenced by Vashti’s refusal, the men disregarded in their homes, and they, the husbands, rise up in anger and the homes be filled with strife. There, in the home, the next generation will be looking on and learning from their example and the vicious circle continued, possibly even for many generations.
How zealous are you today that there might be a godly seed raised in your house, that will be like trees planted by the River of Life for the Lord’s glory? Are you willing that the queen be dethroned in your heart and the King raise up another after His desire? Herein lies salvation, in the birth into a new life. To put away the old and to be transformed by the renewing that Christ brings about in the heart and the mind.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Jo. 3:3
And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: Ez. 11:19
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Ro. 12:1-2
What has this all brought about? Destruction of a nation? No, but rather the salvation of God’s people. He saved the nation of Israel by raising up unto Himself a new queen with a submissive heart, through whom He could destroy the enemy and vindicate His people, that in the end He might receive the glory.
Esther - A queen of the King’s choosing
Oh, the wisdom of God! He can use our faults to bring His will to past. It is proven that His ways are not like ours. We will see the beauty of the new life in Christ as we take some time to look at the example of Esther. A quick look at their names will reveal some of the deep truths God has hidden, as treasure to be found, in His Word. Vashti means “beautiful,” which she was … from the outside. Scripture tells us:
… beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Pr. 31:30
Esther’s Hebrew name was Hadassah, which means “myrtle.” This is a lowly shrub which bears delicate, purple flowers, of which it is said that they are more fragrant than a rose. This portrays the fragrance brought forth from a humble life, which reflects Esther, even when she entered the harem and her name was changed to Esther meaning “star.” Though it is said that she was “a fair maid,” her life was marked with obedience and submission, which made her to shine brighter than all the rest. Consider these verses:
Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it. Es. 2:10
Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her. Es. 2:15
Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him. Es. 2:20
What was most honorable about her life and testimony? It was not just the favor she found with men and the king, but also that God could use her, through His providence, to deliver the Jews from their enemy. God chose her because she qualified through the obedience and submission she had shown since her youth. He gave her favor because she was as clay in the Potter’s hand. Later in the book she submitted fully unto her uncle, who had brought her up, and took it upon herself to endanger her own life; to go uninvited into the king’s presence to entreat him for her nation. After fasting three days, she went in obedience to the wisdom she received from above, and God in His providence worked out the whole plan of salvation for the Jews.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Pr. 9:10
Were her circumstances so much different than that of Vashti? Was she, Esther, not queen of the same heathen nation and king? She even spread a banquet before the king and his most esteemed Haman; a banquet of wine. I believe God, also by providence to teach us, caused Esther to live such a life in the same circumstances as Vashti found herself. Therefore I am so convinced that God is not as interested in changing our circumstances, as He is to work holiness within us through the new life that He gives to them that believe in the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ. A death to the old that the new might reign.
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Ro. 7:4
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Ro. 6:11-13
Oh how this meditation stirs my heart to seek my Savior King’s rule and reign more in my life, that the King might have His dominion in me; that He might use me as a vessel, weak and lowly in myself, but filled with the fragrance of Christ.
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. 2 Co. 2:14-16
He alone is so worthy of all honor!
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Mt. 6:33 ~