“King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come” (Est 1:17)
Please read the Book of Esther, chapter one. King Xerxes is married to Queen Vashti whose name means ‘Beautiful’. The king throws a great banquet to entertain and impress his military leaders, princes and nobles. He later invites all the citizens of Susa to come and enjoy the king’s feast. There is no limit to drinking wine and eating the royal special food. The reason for this party was to give glory to himself. Like Nebuchadnezzar, King Xerxes was a proud foolish man! He loves to drink alcohol. He was also a hot tempered man. Suddenly, becoming tired of the entertainment provided, the drunken king orders his Queen to come to him, dressed in her royal robes. He wanted to boast, before all his guests, of his wife’s beauty. Hating to be embarrassed in front of many drunken men, the Queen refuses to obey his orders. What? Imagine that! The great king is publicly rejected by a woman!!! Suddenly the happy party turns into a mourning gathering. The king is angry mostly because he is embarrassed by his wife’s public rejection. Both husband and wife are angry and embarrassed at each other’s actions. Who will win in this foolish emotional manipulation game? Of course the devil who takes pleasure in division, quarrels and divorce!
King Xerxes asks his wise men what to do. They advise him to divorce and disgrace Vashti. In verse 19 she is no longer called Queen Vashti. She is simply called by her name, like any ordinary woman. The poor queen has no credit of grace with anyone. Vashti is sent away from the palace! She loses her marriage, her reputation and her throne! The wise men advise the king to write a new law saying that each man should be ‘the ruler of his household’! It will be on record that all the wives should submit to their husbands. This is a foolish decree for no law can force the wives to submit or the men to love them. Submission and love are spiritual things of the heart!
What are the lessons for us? The first thing I see is that without Christ, fame and riches are useless. Without Christ, there is no peace, no wisdom and no joy! Without Christ, even the best marriages scatter. Without Christ the partying, the happiness of the world will suddenly turn to disgrace and depression. The law cannot change the hearts of men. Only the grace of God found in Christ alone can change hearts and circumstances. Anger, lust, foolishness, pride, rebellion, drinking alcohol, having worldly friends… these are all drops of poison able to kill any relationship.
As a married woman, I am sorry for Queen Vashti. In this story she had to go away. She vacated her throne for Queen Esther who is an ambassador for Christ. In this world, nothing is permanent. Only God never changes! ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever’ (Heb 13:8). If you marry an unbeliever, you will suffer. Money and fame cannot help a broken heart. Only God can do it! Another lesson is this: once you are married to ‘a famous’ man, or you hold a position of authority, if you like it or not, you become a role model. Others will imitate you, for better or for worst! Visibility requires responsibility! Remember that!
My husband and I are married for almost 44 years. Both of us work full time to make our marriage happy and strong. It is a sacrifice made because of love. We are not ignorant of the attacks of the devil which is able, if given the chance, to destroy any marriage. This is the wisdom I have learned from the Book of Esther chapter one: Each time my husband calls me I will answer and immediately come to him! I promised myself that I will not be like Queen Vashti! This is my pledge to God and to my conscience: If my husband needs me, if he calls me, I will answer! It can be morning, afternoon, evening or night time. I may know or I may not know the reason for his call. I have made a covenant with my feet not to be tired to walk up and down the stairs when my husband calls me. I cannot even imagine ignoring his call. I take it as serious as the call of God. For me, rejecting my husband’s call is a luxury I cannot afford. I want our marriage to continue.
If I was Queen Vashti, knowing that I will be embarrassed in a room full of drunken men, I could have still come to see my husband. I will pray in tongues in my heart that before entering that room, my husband (even if he is drunk) will pity me and let me to go back to my room. I believe that God can change the heart of any king! And even if I have to stand there embarrassed, I will ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen me among those foolish drunkards. In difficult times I pray to be able to use my pain for the glory of God! The shame I will experience will bring me closer to Jesus who also suffered shame on the Cross, dying for me. But no matter how, if my husband calls me, if he needs me, I will come at once! So help me, God! Dear Queen Vashti, I am sorry, but you cannot be my friend! I am with Queen Esther, who is my sister and mentor!
Now I have to go for my husband is calling me… “Come with Me from Lebanon, My bride, come with Me … My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me…. (SS 4:8; Jn 10:27)