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Vashti And Esther

Purim is a great Biblical event and an excellent time in which we can explore again the various characters in the Book of Esther. Our boundaries are challenged as we examine whom we like or dislike, and who we are or have become.

As I read through the book of Esther this Purim, I first encountered Queen Vashti. Shockingly she was almost like the bride of Christ today. She was beautiful but proud and headstrong. She loved partying and not having rest even on the seventh day. She was summoned before the king’s presence but she refused to obey his order. She did her own thing, not submitting to her husband and king. Her disobedience caused her to lose her queen status and crown, incurring the king’s wrath and banishment from the king’s presence. 

Similarly, the church today is into show business and entertainment – partying and enjoying ourselves. Too self-conscious and not God-conscious! When our King calls us into His court, we do not bother about His request and we disobey Him. We simply stay in the outer courts, playing our own religious games and having our own programs and agendas. We do not rest even on the seventh day – a day God called us to seek His face and find rest in Him. We forget that Jesus is the King and we are His bride!

Ephesians 5:22-24
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of His body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

Then I encountered Queen Esther or Hadassah. She was almost the exact opposite of Queen Vashti. Vashti was arrogant and wilful and insubmissive to her husband but Esther was humble, obedient and submissive to her husband. When Mordecai, her cousin and foster father, told her not to reveal her true identity, she did accordingly. She requested nothing when placed under the care of Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women. She accepted whatever Hegai chose to give her. She submitted herself to whatever authority placed above her. In doing so, she pleased Hegai, and obtained his favour. He in turn readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women.

Esther also willingly went through and completed twelve months’ preparation prior to her appearance before the king. According to the regulations for the women, it meant six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women. She submitted herself to be purified and changed.

Even after she was crowned as queen, Esther continued to obey the commands of Mordecai as she had done before under his care. It was no wonder that King Ahasuerus chose and loved Esther. She was the model of a great queen and an obedient wife, an exact antidote to Queen Vashti.

Esther understood her role as a Persian queen. When Mordecai asked her to appear before the king and plead on behalf of the Jews, Esther told him that coming before the king without being summoned was against the law and might incur a death penalty. She knew that even Queen Vashti could come before the king if only the king had called for her.

Now Esther was in a crisis. Her people faced possible annihilation and it was her responsibility to plead for her nation at this critical hour. However that might also mean death for her if the king did not wish to see her! In fact, Esther had not been called to go in to the king for the past thirty days. Had the king forgotten about her or had the king have enough of her?

Queen Vashti was summoned before the king but she refused to do so. Queen Esther was not summoned to come before the king but she had to do so even if that meant death sentence for her! Queen Vashti continued to party away for seven days but Queen Esther requested all the Jews to fast with her and her maids for three days and nights before she made her appearance before the king.

Because she waited on the LORD, her heart became strong as God gave her wisdom and strategy. She was courageous to throw two parties on two consecutive days to Haman, an evil man and the most powerful official in the king’s palace who plotted to kill all the Jews throughout the Persian Empire! She knew what to do and was able to carry them out. She didn’t turn back on her mission and purpose! She was born for such a time like this! She had already surrendered herself and her life to God. If I perish, I perish!

Ephesians 5:25-27
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Esther represents the church that our LORD Jesus Christ loved and gave Himself for her. She will be sanctified and cleansed by the LORD with the washing of water by the Word. She will be presented before Him as a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, She will be holy and without blemish.

I believe the true church of Christ is now entering a period of purification and cleansing. The Holy Spirit is hovering and searching the hearts and souls of men and women. The Refiner's Fire is on! Anything that is not of Him will be stripped away and removed. Anything that remains will be pure and holy.

It is time for the Vashtis to be removed and the Esthers to arise in our churches! It is time to come before the King’s presence. It is time to be holy and ascend into His courts. It is time to seek His face and do His will. It is time to put away anything that causes us to fall, and also every weight that slows us down, especially the sins that so easily ensnare us. It is time to run with patience and endurance the race God has set before us. It is time to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith! It is time not to become weary of doing good and give up. It is time to fast and pray and intercede on behalf of the nations that are hurting and suffering. It is time for self to decrease and Christ to increase in our lives. It is time to become less self-conscious and more God-conscious! It is time to submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us. It is time to trust and obey Him!

This is the finest hour of the true church of Christ!

Written on 11 March 2012