How many of you like to be challenged?
In college, I did almost anything for a dare. One of those questionable requests was to sing the Munchkin’s song from the movie Wizard of Oz. I do a pretty good Munchkin imitation. While eating in the school cafeteria, my friends begged me to belt out the “Lollypop Guild” song and of course, being a ham, I sang so everyone could hear. Heads turned. Conversations stopped. As I look back, I know why I didn’t have many dates in college.
But there are some dares we shouldn’t take. How many times have you taught your kids to not allow peer pressure to force them into unwise decisions? Have you ever uttered that line, “If your friend asked you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?”
In the first chapter of the book of Esther, reigning Queen Vashti became outgoing Queen Vashti because she refused an unreasonable request.
Her husband, King Xerxes, ruler over 127 provinces in the Medo-Persian Empire, invited the princes and dignitaries from those provinces to a whopper of a party at the palace. The drink-‘til-you-drop event lasted 180 days. Alcohol flowed “without restriction.” On the seventh day into the bash, perhaps when the group was running out of entertainment, the inebriated King Xerxes got a wild idea. “My wife is lovely. Let’s ask her to parade around wearing her royal crown, so everyone else can see how beautiful she is.” There was nothing said in Scripture about the Queen being asked to wear her royal robe, or even her royal bikini.
Just the crown.
And Queen Vashti put her royal foot down.
What would be your answer if that happened to you? Would you participate in the equivalent of a pornographic film today? Uh NO!
Queen Vashti refused to do what the King demanded and that made her husband furious, which brings us to an important lesson, learned from Queen Vashti’s life.
Taking a stand for righteousness is not always the popular thing to do.
It’s not always comfortable to take a stand for righteousness but Mark 8:34 says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Luke 9:23 adds, we have to take up our cross “daily.”
What does it mean to take up our cross?
How does it look in our lives to take a stand for righteousness?
Taking up our cross requires discipline.
We have to glue ourselves to God’s Word. Don’t miss a day. We have to gather with a body of believers who will hold us accountable. And we have to understand our own vulnerability. We are not above sinning.
Where do you need to take a stand for righteousness in your life?
We all have a sinful nature in addition to family generational curses we can only overcome through the strength and power of the cross in our lives.
Even the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:15, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”
Do you do what you hate?
It’s a discipline to overcome our bad habits and moral weaknesses. We must be intentional to break free of what we hate about ourselves.
God says when we are tempted, he will provide a way out. But the question is, will we walk through the exit door he’s provided?
Will we choose God over our own desires?
Will we take a stand for righteousness even if it’s not the popular thing to do? Even if it means there will be consequences like the ones Queen Vashti experienced?
The crown was removed from the Queen’s head. She faced isolation. Some Jewish scholars say she was likely executed.
Queen Vashti teaches us how to be brave, whatever the consequences.
In what situation do you need an extra dose of courage?
What do you need to give up for the cross?
Where do you need to take a stand for righteousness?
Some scholars criticize Queen Vashti for not obeying her husband. They say she deserved what she got. But I disagree. I think she took a stand for what was right. She did the unpopular thing, which we are often asked to do as believers. She chose what was pure. What was honorable.
Who knows what would have happened if she agreed to put on a show and paraded before the swarm of drunken men with only her royal headdress on? Nothing left for the imagination. Who’s to say it wouldn’t have backfired on her? When King Xerxes sobered up, he might have been mad she listened to him. He could have flipped the situation on her because he did not want to take responsibility for his foolish decision.
Queen Vashti made the right call to take a stand because it went against God’s plan for marriage. One man; one woman. Her body was for her husband to admire, not a room full of men.
In any situation, if we are asked to disobey God’s laws, then it’s okay to disobey the one doing the asking.
It takes bravery to make a stand for righteousness.
There’s always a bigger picture in situations like this.
There’s a larger plan to consider.
On this side of the scenario we see that Queen Vashti’s resolve opened the door for a new queen who had a large assignment from God.
On Tuesday, we will meet Esther in Part Two of our series and find out what lessons she teaches us.