“12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.” Esther 1:12
King Ahasuerus, ruler from India to Ethiopia (some say he was Xerxes of Persia), was throwing a party. The celebration lasted 180 days. The main feast was a 7 day affair. The whole idea was to show the princes and sub-rulers just how great a kingdom he had. His queen, Vashti, was having her own party for the ladies. She was gorgeous to boot; arm candy for the king.
Toward the end of the banquet, he called for her to come so everyone could see how beautiful she was. Was it a matter of being proud of her and wanting her to make an appearance? Was it something along the lines of the high school quarterback bragging about landing the head cheerleader? Locker room comments included? Probably a mix. Let’s not get too judgmental, as the times, they were-a-different.
Whatever their respective motivations, she told him to pound salt. Or sand. Or whatever they pound in the desert. He was not a satisfied sultan. No, he was mightily honked off.
With some prompting of the court, he decided that, yes, it would be a good idea to retire the ol’ girl and give her place to someone a bit more tractable. And he wasn’t overly picky, in a manner. He sent to all the provinces to have the most beautiful virgins sent to the palace for a one-year course in being queen. They would then audition for the job. He wasn’t going for royalty. He was being equal opportunity.
“But, Sire! She’s a peasant!”
“Is she drop-dead gorgeous?”
“Is she a virgin?”
“Bring ‘er in.”
Esther won this lottery. How? Well, she was a friendly, humble, get-along kind of girl. The head eunuch liked her attitude and did all he could to help her make the grade. For her part, Esther had the run of assets and could choose her accoutrements. Free will, if you wish. But she suborned whatever desires she might have had in favor of the eunuch’s council on what to wear and how to present herself.
And, before you could say “Achmed’s your uncle,” she was a queen. That’s just the beginning of the book of Esther in the Old Testament.
Here’s what I take from this opening. Queen Vashti was doing her own thing and brushed off her husband, the king, when he asks her to make an appearance. She should have gone. Why? First, the culture of the day says the queen comes when the king calls. If for no other than selfish reasons, she should have gone in as his arm candy in simple self-interest. The more he’s elevated in the eyes of his guests, the better his position as king as well as her own as queen.
She isn’t that smart. What happened to her? Well, the book is named after Esther, so who cares? We can be sure her quality of life declined.
What do we do when our King calls? Do we leave our own party and obey His Word? Do we follow the advice of the Holy Spirit in how we present ourselves to Him? We, the church, are His bride. Even though we are peasants, He finds us beautiful and wants us. If we decline His invitation long and often enough, guess what happens. The quality of the life of our soul declines. Eternally.
As the Persian king gave all comers a year to get the hang of what being a good queen means, so our King gives us a lifetime with the guidance of the Bible and His Spirit to be His eternal bride. If we decline His invitation, it is not good for us. If we accept, well, I hear eternity with God is a pretty good gig.
What do you think? I and other readers want to know!