"On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king, To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him." (Esther 1:10-12)
I've known the story of Esther very well all of my life. Esther, with her bravery and beauty, was made queen because of Queen Vashti's rebellion to the king. Often, though, I jump right into the story of Esther, skimming over the vital role of Vashti.
At Vashti's rebellion, King Ahasuerus was counseled, "Vashti the queen hath not done wrong to the king only, but also to all the princes, and to all the people that are in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus. For this deed of the queen shall come abroad unto all women, so that they shall despise their husbands in their eyes, when it shall be reported, The king Ahasuerus commanded Vashti the queen to be brought in before him, but she came not. Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen. Thus shall there arise too much contempt and wrath." (Esther 1:16-18) These pagan rulers and wise men realized the powerful example of Queen Vashti and its dangerous consequences. To save the King from the shame that his wife could cause, she was banished from the kingdom and replaced.
As I read through this chapter, the Lord brought an interesting thought to my mind, "Am I ever a Vashti?" I am not queen to an earthly king - I am the child of the One True King! But how well does my life reflect it? When He gives a command, do I respond in humble obedience? or, like queen Vashti, do I sift His commands through my selfishness and reasoning? Like Vashti, I have others watching my life who, through my example, could be encouraged to obey or disobey. When I disobey God, I am not only sinning against Him, but also influencing others to rebel against Him as well. For this reason, God might punish me for my disobedience (Hebrews 12:6-10) - and justly so, for to disobey Him, I am bringing a reproach to His Holy Name.
Oh, may the Lord help me to put off the selfish tendencies of a Vashti!
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)