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August 9, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”—Esther 2:17 (NKJV)
Esther was a woman of beauty and strength. But have you ever considered Vashti? It was believed by the Jews that Belshazzar was Vashti’s father. The story is told that the night Darius the Great killed Belshazzar and overthrew the Persian empire that Vashti, a little girl at the time, came running out in the confusion. She approached her father’s throne for protection but instead found Darius. He had compassion on her and raised her in the palace along with his son Xerxes. Eventually she became Xerxes’ queen. This puts a slightly different light on the story of Xerxes demanding her to present herself to his drunken friends so he may show her off. She knew this man well. She knew his foolish ways and how easily he could be tricked by the evil men he had surrounded himself with.
Women in the Bible tend to have complicated lives. Nothing ever seems black or white. Was Vashti a woman of integrity or vanity? Was she brave or foolish? The amazing thing about the Bible is how God tells us the stories of all the men and women with their faults and their fame. God sees the beauty in all of us and that includes our humanity as well as our mistakes. I recently heard a speaker, Vanessa Petit-Frere, say that there is a difference between conviction and condemnation. Condemnation is anything that is an attack on your identity, and it is not from God. For He sees the person He created you to be. He only sees you through the forgiveness of His Son. Conviction, on the other hand, is His drawing you to be the person that He sees in you. It is His spirit pulling the beauty out of you that He knows is there because He placed it there.
Vashti standing up to the King was part of God’s plan. Because she refused to obey the King, her position was given to Esther. And through Esther, the Jewish people were saved. And through the salvation of the Jewish nation, the Savior of the World came to save us. He saw the beauty and strength in both of these women and made their story a part of His story. And that is exactly what He wants to do in you. Your story is a part of His story. And though you may not feel like royalty, God has adopted you in his family so you are exactly that. You are a child of the King. And your story is more beautiful than you can possibly imagine.
DIG: What lies of condemnation you are believing about yourself? Ask God to reveal them to you so you may see them as a lie and not what God sees in you.
DISCOVER: What convictions do you feel God may be using to pull out your beauty?
DO: Believe that God wants to make your story one of beauty and strength.