October 15, 2014
READ: Esther 1:10-21
But when they conveyed the king’s order to Queen Vashti, she refused to come. This made the king furious, and he burned with anger (v.12).
Although Dubai has some of the most lenient social codes in the Persian Gulf, authorities occasionally make examples of those who blatantly flout the law. During our 2 year stay in the metropolis, there were reports of Westerners who’d been sentenced to jail for kissing in public or exchanging steamy text messages.
King Xerxes, who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to the upper Nile region (Esther 1:1), made an example of his wife Queen Vashti when she refused to honour his request to appear before him (v.19).
For 6 months the king had put on a show of his kingdom (vv.3-4), after which he held an elaborate 7 day feast for all his subjects, from the least to the greatest (vv.5-8). On the final day of festivities, King Xerxes instructed the eunuchs to bring Queen Vashti before him to display her stunning beauty to the attendees (vv.10-11).
When she refused, the king was furious and made an example of her so that wives across the kingdom would never respond to their husbands in the same way (vv.16-18). Queen Vashti was instantly banished from the presence of the king, a proclamation was decreed throughout the realm stating that all women should obey their husbands (vv.20-22), and a new queen was to be chosen to replace Queen Vashti (v.19).
The shameful consequences of our disobedience of God’s commands may also be seen by others—providing a stark warning for them. God, however, will never shame us; “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). We may experience godly sorrows that “lead us away from sin and results in salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). But God promises to “never again remember [our] sins” (Hebrews 8:12). —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
365-day plan› Acts 6:1-15
In John 8:1-11, how did Jesus treat the woman caught in adultery?
When have you seen someone’s sin serve as a warning to others? How does it encourage you to know that God can take even our mistakes and use them for His glory?