Scripture reading for May 14th: Esther1-2
Esther lived in Persia during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah when the 50,000 Jews were rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. It is the story of ordinary Jewish people who are trying to be faithful to their God while they live in a foreign land. Although God is not mentioned, He is turning all circumstances to work out for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)
God puts Esther, a beautiful Jewish virgin, in the palace of the king of Persia. The king liked to drink and boast of his wealth and evidently his women, too! He called for his beautiful queen, Vasti, to come and display herself before the nobles who were drinking with him. Queen Vasti refused! The king and his nobles decided that she must be made a public example so that other women would not get the idea that they could disrespect their husbands. Queen Vasti was removed from her royal position and never allowed into the king’s presence again! As a result of this, a search was made for the most beautiful woman to take the queen’s place. God exhalted Esther to this place of honor!
In today’s culture, what Vasti did would have been totally acceptable! She did not want to be eye candy for this group that were already inflamed by wine. She had her principles and stuck by them. She would have been commended by all today, especially Christians!
However, in that culture, women were expected to be totally obedient to their husbands. In the pagan culture, nothing could stop the king from having what he wanted! All the men in power agreed about that and felt threatened by the queen’s action! They felt that they needed to take action to protect themselves and their way of life. (Esther 1:18-20)
God used the culture of that day to accomplish His purposes. He removed the one queen, probably protecting her for her stand of faith. He placed Esther, a godly Jew, in the place of influence and gave her favor in order to bring about the deliverance of all his people! (Esther 2:17) As a godly Jew, Esther learned how to obey the king and still remained loyal to her God. By faith she has become a Christian example of a woman true to her people and to God!