The Value Series
The banquet scene escalates as King Xerxes summons his wife, Vashti, into the hall so he could show off his beautiful bride. Vashti refuses, and for good reason. This type of showing off was for concubines or prostitutes – not for women of honor, and certainly not for a queen. If Vashti had not valued herself and required others to respect her then I’m sure this story would have looked a bit different.
If Vashti had just obeyed then Xerses would have not declared an edict requiring every woman to bow down to their husband no matter what they requested. Perhaps the rest of the women in the kingdom would have not been pulled from their homes to fulfill the king's desire for a new wife. What about Esther who was separated from her family and placed in a palace that was full of people, food, traditions & a lifestyle contrary to her heritage.
Esther's heroism and trust in the Lord are what saved an entire nation from the hands of the evil Haman. We often hear about Esther and her bold stand before the king. A book in the bible was even named after her. She is a pillar of courage that women for centuries have modeled in the face of persecution. She has been a heroin for me in hard seasons.
Today, we are going to talk about the other queen, Vashti. Without her boldness to stand for integrity, respect, and righteousness, there may not have been the opportunity for Esther to step up.
We've all been in those moments, where we have to choose to be brave when it's not popular. Lisa Bevere describes it best in her book, Girls with Swords, " There are times when being ‘braver 5 mins longer’ actually means being quiet when you are attacked which allows God to have the final word. At other times ‘braver 5 mins longer’ means standing your ground & being constant. Being ‘braver 5 mins longer’ is never yielding voice or ground when the defenseless are under attack. Often battles are won, lies are exposed, and enemies are conquered because you are the last one standing on the field.”
Perhaps you have witnessed a clerk at the store who wouldn't serve a minority customer...
...Or watched as a guy at the fraternity mixer hurl derogatory comments towards a girl while others stood by laughing.
...Or listened to a bully at school hurling hateful words at your classmate.
...Or stood in awe at a parent screaming at their child for not being good enough.
It's not the popular choice to be brave and stand for what is right. It's not the easy choice to risk our comfort zone. However, it's the right choice to stand when everyone else kneels to conformity.
Vashti found herself standing in the midst of the most elite in the entire Persia kingdom....her husband, the King, wise men, government elite, young and old, all with wealth and pomp.
Vashti had a choice to make.
She chose to be brave.
She chose integrity.
She chose respect.
Vashti like most heroes of the faith paved the way for the salvation of the people of God. If Vashti had not stood for honor in the face of persecution, then Esther may have not been placed in the position of queen for God to use to save His people. Vashti also set a standard of honor as a queen. Surely the king felt the weight of his absurd decision once he became sober from his 6-month party. Surely when Esther approached the throne uninvited, risking death, Xerses thought of his beloved Vashti and showed mercy towards Esther.
Whether you are an Esther, a Vashti, or another woman at the party, always remember God created you with far more value than rubies. Anyone, man or woman, who fails to respect that value in which God has given you should be reminded.
God values you.
Value yourself. Value others.