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By: Larry Shaffer
A flashback to 2012
The story begins with a pagan king who “appears” to be the main character of the story while the Hebrew writer chooses to not include God in the story. This is a departure from the typical practice in Old Testament narratives but clearly intentional and effective. Effective in that the narrative conveys the way the world views God or should I say doesn’t view God. They get up in the morning and go through the day without considering the purposes of God, the providence of God or the uniqueness of His people. They are consumed with their world, their purposes and the uniqueness of themselves.
So why is Esther in the Bible if it does t even mention God? The story is so brilliantly written (history has repeatedly confirmed it is canonical; it belongs in the Bible) that the work of God, especially His providence, is all over the events described. The king believes he is sovereign but in reality, he is only a puppet.
Chapter 1 set’s up the story. For God to place the right person in the presence of the King to influence a pivotal decision, He chose to have the current queen removed from her position. So, during the extended banquet, “On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded…to bring the Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful,”v10, 11. It doesn’t tell us why, although we can certainly guess, but the Queen sent back word that she is not coming to the drunk-fest of the King. She decides, so it seems, this is no place for a dignified woman such as herself. It could also reasonably be speculated that he wanted her to wear her crown and only her crown. She says no. This sends the king in a rage. A real buzz-kill for the party.
Women rule, men drool
The king gathers his counsel of seven princes and asks them what he should do. The counsel, fearing that their wives will follow Vashti’s example, advise he write a decree declaring that wives should give honor to their husbands, great and small to keep order in the kingdom. Apparently, they feared an uprising of women’s rights from their wives. The king wrote the decree and removed Vashti from her position as Queen.
Mankind feels they can orchestrate their lives to bring about their own desired results without seeking the counsel of God. How foolish. How often do we fall into the same trap? I sense lately the influence of Your Word in my life as I’m turning to You always and often for guidance and wisdom. May I do it more. May my consciousness be filled with You. May I look at every circumstance through Your eyes and from your point of view. Praise You for You are God! Amen!