My wife recently reminded me of an old television commercial where the tagline was: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” The point of the ad was that if people came to Las Vegas, they could be free to do what they wanted without any guilt. It is as if the people were saying that God isn’t in Las Vegas (Ps. 139:7-12), or He cannot see what we are doing there (Prov. 15:3)! Las Vegas was giving people a “license to sin!”
It concerns me when I hear about Christians who think that taking a vacation means taking a vacation from being a Christian as well. Some Christians have been known to go to another county or another state to engage in sin. They think they are “safe” from “prying eyes” if they go somewhere that no one knows them. Of course, they are just fooling themselves because, as we noted above, there is nowhere they can go that God is not there and sees them!
It is for this reason that people like Joseph and Daniel, as well as women like Vashti and Esther, stand out to me. They stand out because Vashti and Esther lived in the King’s palace. They could justify any behavior they wanted by referring to where they lived, or by saying, “The King made me do it. I had no choice!” Yet, these two ladies, just as the others named, did not use their location as an occasion for sin!
When Vashti was called into the King’s presence, she did not yield to her husband’s drunken demands (Est. 1:10-12). She could have easily justified sin by saying, “The King has called me,” but she didn’t. We do not know Vashti’s origin, but we know she had morals and was not going to compromise them for anyone. Where she lived made no difference to her! Right was right, and wrong was wrong.
Esther did not allow fear to overcome her (Est. 4:16-7:10). We know she was raised well under the guidance of her cousin, Mordecai (Est. 2:5-7). Yet, when she was brought into the King’s palace, she did not allow her location to hold her back from speaking when she needed to speak up for her people! She had the opposite issue from Vashti, in that the King had not called for her for a month (4:11). She might have justified her silence by saying, “I can’t go until he calls me, and so there is no point in trying. No one will know if I spoke to the King or not, anyway.” These ladies knew they had responsibilities. The God of Heaven is in Shushan, just like He is in Jerusalem, and He must be respected!
What excuses do we make to justify our sins? Do we justify our sins based upon where we are and who saw or didn’t see us? Remember, God sees all of humanity and knows our hearts (Heb. 4:12-13). We are not going to get away with sin just because we did it out of town! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that godliness only applies at home! Take a lesson from Vashti, Esther, Daniel, Joseph, and so many others who served God faithfully even when they were away from home.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
One quality that shines through as I read the book of Esther is her respect for those who are older. First, we see a young lady who respected the wishes of her cousin, Mordecai. When the women were called to be potential mates for Ahasuerus, Mordecai told her not to tell anyone that she was a Jew just yet. She heeded his advice (2:10, 20).
When in the king’s court, the text says she could have had anything she wished by way of preparation when meeting the king (2:13). Yet, when the time came, she heeded the advice of Hegai, the king’s chamberlain (2:15). She listened to his suggestions.
Both men had Esther’s best interests in mind, and both gave advice that would serve her well. By the end of chapter two, she is “made … queen instead of Vashti” (2:17). How did she get here? Yes, by God’s providence, but also because she respected the men giving her advice. Perhaps what these men told her was not what she would have done initially, but when they spoke, she listened, and she was blessed.
Young people, take a lesson from Esther and respect the advice of those who are older than you, specifically, your parents! Children are called to obey their parents, and told to “honor” them that they may “live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:1-2)! Your parents love you and want the best for you (Matt. 7:8-11). They want you to succeed! Listen to their advice and respect what they say and then, like Esther, watch the blessings that come as a result.
1/5/20 - Mistreated For Doing The Right Thing
Esther 1:12-22 records an event where a person doing the right thing (Vashti) was mistreated by those around her. Vashti did the right thing by not submitting to her husband’s drunken demands (Est. 1:10-12). Instead of receiving praise for standing, or at least her husband acknowledging that wrong was done, however, she was mistreated by her husband and his advisors.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon response. Joseph was mistreated and imprisoned when he obeyed God and refused his mistress’ advances (Gen. 39:7-20). Elijah’s life was threatened when he obeyed God and withstood (and killed) the wicked prophets of Baal (I Kings 19:2). When we read the New Testament, we also see times when God’s people were persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed when they were faithful to God (II Cor. 11:23-28; II Tim. 3:12; Acts 12:1-3; Rev. 6:9-10).
Do we have the strength of heart to do what is right when others we know, and love oppose us? Will we stand for what is right at school, at work, and anywhere else? Jesus said that when we act like Him, the world will mistreat us the way they mistreated Him (Jn. 15:18-20). How are you being treated by the world? If you are a Christian (Acts 2:38, 11:26), does anyone know it?
One thing that stands out to me about the book of Esther is God's depiction of bravery. Vashti and Esther showed bravery in their own way. Vashti refused to submit to the drunken demands of a king, her husband (1:11-12). Esther addressed a king uninvited and revealed her lineage/race when both actions meant certain death (4:16, 5:1, 7:1-6). Their bravery to stand and speak when needed changed the course of their lives and also teaches us how to act. (Rom. 15:4).
Think about your life. When you have been called to be brave in the past for the Lord and spiritual truth, what did you do and why? Were you brave like these two? Did you shrink away and allow fear to take over? What consequences did you face? How did you feel later when you cowered in fear? One never regrets being brave even when they see that others don't appreciate it. One will always regret giving in to fear.
Make 2020 a year of bravery for you as you serve God (Prov. 28:1; I Thess. 2:2; Acts 4:13; Phil. 1:20; Heb. 4:16, 13:6).