The Queen’s Refusal

Leah DiPascal

Day: 6 | Plan: Covenant

Today’s Reading: Esther 1

Esther 1:12 (NIV) “But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.

Have you ever acted on a decision that you thought was an honorable one, but the results unexpectedly backfired on you? I know I have, and it prompted a conversation with God where I was asking a lot of questions. When answers don't come right away and I don't see God moving in ways I had hoped, I can start to question His overall plan. Does that ever happen to you?

As we flip the first page in the book of Esther we meet a woman who could have easily answered “yes” to that first question. Her name was Queen Vashti and her story will unfold in today’s reading of Esther 1.

Queen Vashti was married to the most powerful man in the Persian Empire. Her husband, King Xerxes (also referred to as King Ahasuerus), had enormous wealth, fame and authority that he loved to display for anyone to see. Because she was queen, Vashti would have worn the most exquisite clothes, eaten the most delectable foods and was pampered by the finest staff available in the Persian palace. But all that changed when Vashti refused to say yes to a demeaning command by her husband, the king.

You see, after hosting a 180-day banquet for his officials and military leaders, King Xerxes threw a second banquet for the entire city of Susa. For seven days, elaborate feasts were accompanied by an endless flow of royal wine in the lavished gardens of the king’s palace. 

After a week of self-indulgence and intoxication, the king decided to put Vashti on display, like some sort of royal Barbie doll, so that all the men could ooh and aah over her … while stroking his pride in the process. Vashti refused to comply with her husband's request, which infuriated him. So after consulting with his noble advisors, King Xerxes had Vashti dethroned. The king made it very clear that no one would disobey him, not even his wife. 

Scripture doesn't tell us what happened to Vashti, but we know that God didn't return her to the palace. In fact, God's name is never mentioned in the book of Esther. We'll find no direct instructions or words spoken from Him. No overt miracles displayed in nature revealing His power. No prophets sent by God giving divine instruction. And, yet, through a string of major events that some would dare to call coincidental, we will see God's fingerprints and providential handiwork clearly displayed as He orchestrates history and saves the Jewish people of Esther's day from genocide.

God doesn't have to be mentioned by name, in order to be present. His providence is lining up every chapter and season of our lives, even when we can't clearly see it. Although there may be times when God seems silent, let's not interpret that to mean He's not involved or doesn't care about what's happening to us. God cares deeply and He is very present, actively working out every detail to bring forth His best plans for you and me.

Our lives are not teetering on the waves of luck or happenstance. They are divinely directed and securely held in the hands of God the Father, who loves us and wants the very best for us. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, sometimes it's hard to see how You are actively working in my circumstances. Honestly, it doesn't always appear to be good. There are times when I need You most and I sense silence instead of guidance. Help me to trust You completely, especially in times of uncertainty. To believe that You have my best interest in mind. To remember that Your love for me wraps around every situation I’m wrestling with. And to trust that because I am Your child and I'm desiring to seek Your will, my life is securely positioned in Your providential plan. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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