Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. — Esther 1:19
Ouch. Deposed from her position as queen? Banished from the king’s presence forever? And the final parting shot — they will start looking for a queen who is “better than she.” Double ouch.
And all because Vashti refused to obey a demeaning command put forth by her husband, Xerxes, as he partied with his noblemen. The cultural context is important to understand. This Persian queen would have generally lived in seclusion, so this was not a simple request her husband made. He asked her to submit to objectification, and she said no.
- She chose what was right and was utterly rejected for it.
We can hope she had supporters around her who let her know she was loved and valued by them, even if Xerxes had cast her aside. Sadly, as a Persian queen, she probably didn’t know the God of the Jewish people. And that’s a shame. Because when all our earthly relationships fail, when we feel rejected by everyone on Earth, God is always there.
God’s presence in our lives doesn’t depend on how awesome we feel from one day to the next. His presence is guaranteed, no matter what. He has deemed us worthy and accepted through the blood of Jesus. There is no surer, stronger foundation upon which to rest when we feel rejected by others.
Have you ever felt the sharp slap of rejection? How did you handle it, and what are some ways you might handle it in the future?
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’ — Esther 4:15–16
The woman ultimately chosen to replace deposed Queen Vashti was Esther, a Jewish exile living in Persia with her uncle Mordecai. The Jews faced genocide, and Mordecai challenged his niece to step up for her people and approach the king, even though doing so would risk her life.
If Mordecai’s challenge was a powerful one, then Esther’s faithful response was every bit as powerful. Despite her initial reluctance, Esther strapped on her (figurative) sword and got ready for battle.
Mordecai sensed that Esther had the chance to be part of God’s big-picture plan here — and he was right! But Esther had a choice in this moment. She could have backed away and hoped for her own safety and deliverance for her people from some other source. Or she had the opportunity to take a risk, respond in faith, and be part of the plan.
“God moments” happen in our lives, too — those crazy “coincidences” where we’re in the perfect place at the perfect time. But, like Esther, we have to respond to those moments. Let’s pray God will open our eyes — and our hearts — to better see those times when He wants us to be part of His big-picture plan.
Can you think of a time when you felt you were born “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)?
Excerpted with permission from 60 Devotions Inspired by Women of the Bible, copyright Zondervan.
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In rejection, even if we get utterly canceled by those around us, God will never, ever leave our side. Remember that! And, let’s remember that when the Lord puts us in the perfect place at the perfect time, we have the honor of stepping into His plan. Let’s be bold enough to follow! Come share your thoughts on Vashti and Esther. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full