Day 1

Vashti Angers the King

from the Esther reading plan

Esther 1:1-22, Psalm 32:7, Daniel 6:8, Daniel 6:13-18

I’m always surprised when I find someone who has never seen The Princess Bride. I’m almost embarrassed for them. And I always feel a certain responsibility to make sure they remedy this oversight in their lives. Why? Because The Princess Bride is a perfect story—one where nothing is wasted. It has everything: pirates, sword fighting, giants, power struggles, true love, and rodents of unusual size. Everything.

I don’t know if you know this or not, but the Old Testament book of Esther is also a perfect story. It, too, has everything. A proud king. A defiant queen. An assassination plot. An ambitious, venomous second-in-command. And a seventy-five foot tall gallows going up in the heart of town, built especially for the sage-like guardian of the beautiful orphan girl who would become queen of the land. The book of Esther tells quite a tale.

This historical book tells the story of a king and a kingdom. On its surface, we see a kingdom of this world as we read about Ahasuerus and his rule over Persia. But the true story runs much deeper and higher. Even though God is not mentioned by name in this book, He is the supreme king and hero of this story. His providential hand leads His people from certain destruction to the kind of safety found only in being the object of a king’s affection.

Today’s reading sets the stage by casting an ominous shadow over a seemingly happy time of feasting and abundance. The king throws a party meant to last for 180 days, but when he summons his queen so that he might show off her beauty to his guests, she refuses to come to him. The queen’s refusal to obey her king reverberates throughout the kingdom and the old saying, “As it goes for the king, so it goes for the kingdom,” comes into play. The king’s embarrassment becomes a moment of weakness the power-hungry seek to exploit, kicking the rest of the story into motion.

As you read Esther, enjoy the twists and turns. Appreciate the irony laced throughout. Feel the fear and trembling Mordecai, Esther, and their people must have known as Haman’s gallows took shape. The story itself deserves our appreciation for its complexity, drama, romance, and outcome.

But remember that a story like this points to an even bigger truth. The Apostle Paul describes this truth as God’s ability to use what is seemingly insignificant and despised in the world to shame that which the world exalts over God (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).  

The book of Esther is a double-edged sword. It is a rebuke to those who are tempted to scheme and plot their way to greatness. But it is also a story of reassurance that no matter how powerful the schemes of man may appear, God can topple them in a moment with ease. May that sword cut you both ways for the glory of God.

Written by Russ Ramsey

Post Comments (9)

9 thoughts on "Vashti Angers the King"

  1. Mark Wetters says:

    King has a party for 180 day
    Orders everyone to drink
    Orders the queen presence
    She refuses. Why?
    Counselors fear women and keeping control so they want the King to remove the queen

    Control by fear is of man

  2. Lukas Fortunato says:

    What I’ve often missed when reading Esther is the sheer defiance of Queen Vashti to refuse her king knowing that the consequences would probably be brutal. She stood by her convictions and refused to obey a wrongful order even if it was from her king. Let us also be willing to hold to convictions and express sheer defiance when we find ourselves in a situation that would call for it.

  3. Paul Lee says:

    What does it mean to strive for greatness but also to be humble in the same process? The king could’ve been humble in all of this but his strive for greatness and power won the battle for this one. How do we learn to overcome our thirst for greatness and turn to God in humility to seek greatness in Him?

  4. Joel Ladd says:

    God makes kingdoms and leaders rise and fall. He alone gives ppl power and authority, it is not by their own doing that they have their position.

    This is a warning and a reassurance. A warning to the proud who think they can do whatever without being held accountable and a reassurance to those who don’t have authority or who fear it.

  5. Jon says:

    If all of your worth is based on your possessions and accomplishments , it takes very little to bring your whole world crashing down. The things that support vanity and power are fleeting. Control is lost, looks fade, directions change. However, God is constant. He is the same now as he has always been. Point your focus on HIM and your confidence has insurance.

    This way, the inevitable change in the world’s values does not have to affect the value you see in yourself because nothing is worth more that that which is owned by the King.

  6. Andy Laing says:

    This is a fantastic story, in the sense that it has suspense, intrigue, plotting and surprise; but I find it hard to consider that this happened in history.

    I’ve known the story for a long time and it doesn’t sit easily with my heart or mindset.

    There is a harem. Whether or not this was normal back then, it’s still shocking to me now. The fact that a King held as much power as Xerxes makes me feel sick, perhaps due to my leftist, socialist leanings. No one should hold that much power. At the sceptre of this power is a drunk king, bragging about his wife to his drunk friends and associates. It’s distasteful and downright appalling. Vashti rightly refuses. At this king’s right hand is a corrupt official, bent on persecuting the Jews.

    This is also horrible.

    And yet it’s here that God is present. Working all things together for good of his people. The opulent feast, the vile harem, the drunkenness, the corruption, the scheming… all are used by God to bring around His purposes.

    Too much power? Trump
    Corrupt officials who persecute people groups? Toby Young/Trump
    Opulence? Football players wages/bankers

    God can use it all to bring about His purposes, through His people who are willing to be obedient.

  7. Jeff says:

    When I read this…I think about how we are foreigners in this land. Even being in the great United States, this is not our home. And you are not in the best interest of the people running this country. We cannot put our hope in them, or really anything other than you. When it comes to obeying you, we are to do that first and foremost. When our time on this earth comes to an end we will face you and have to answer for the choices we made. If the US passes a law (degree), our allegiance is to you and you will pull us through. Just like “Daniel and the Lion’s Den.”

  8. Kevin says:

    Day 1: I’m excited to start this reading and see how we can see the Lord working without his name being mentioned. I think it’s cool especially in our lives to notice God working in the small things. Look around you this week and try to see God in the small things.

  9. Drew says:

    I’m a little curious as to why the queen refused to attend when called by the king. Regardless, this is a very interesting start to the story. I really like Brother Ramsey’s observation that ‘…it is also a story of reassurance that no matter how powerful the schemes of man may appear, God can topple them in a moment with ease.’

    May God start by toppling my own sinful, vain, selfish intentions, and replacing them with a desire and heart for Him. May I love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12.30), and may He increase, but I decrease (John 3.30). May it be so Lord!

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