Guard Against Pride

9.26.23 Devo Image

“Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace of King Xerxes. On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas—to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger. Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times and were closest to the king—Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom. ‘According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?’ he asked. ‘She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.’ Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, ‘Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, “King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.” This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.’”—Esther 1:9–18 (NIV) 

The Book of Esther actually sets the stage with King Xerxes essentially inviting all the Persian princes, officials, and various important men to come and see his vast wealth. Yesterday’s devo covers this and makes it very clear that at the king’s seven-day long banquet, he kept the wine abundant and flowing for anyone and everyone at the party. 

In today’s Scripture, we see that Vashti had her own banquet for the women which meant she wasn’t around the king or at his party. In verse 10, we see that King Xerxes being “in high spirits from wine” wanted Vashti to come with her royal crown for all the men to see her beauty. Because of what we know about the state of the king at this time and what his party could have looked like, it seems as though his intention was to show her off as an object of his possession just like he had been showing off the rest of his wealth. Vashti refused to appear because she probably knew she would be humiliated in some way and viewed as entertainment. Besides setting the stage for Esther’s story and helping us understand the gravity of her position as the queen later on, this story offers us a great reminder of the destruction that pride brings. 

Many people look at Vashti in this story as an example of a woman who refused to be exploited even if it meant being outcasted or even killed. Vashti represents strength and conviction which we can all learn from. Nonetheless, this story isn’t just about her. We can actually learn a lot from the behavior of King Xerxes. Not only is Xerxes consumed with his power, possessions, and wealth, but he also loves to flaunt it for others to see. When Vashti refused his rude and selfish request, he was embarrassed and his ego got hurt. This is why he reacted so terribly to her, plus his most trusted men only fueled his ego and entertained every opinion he had.

It’s easy to look at this story and immediately condemn Xerxes, but we struggle with very similar tendencies ourselves! It’s so easy to allow pride to build up internally within ourselves. Perhaps it’s within our jobs, our education, our faith or knowledge of the Bible, our service, you name it! A lot of the time, the things we love and define ourselves by can become easy traps to growing in pride. If we don’t keep our hearts in check, ask God to keep us humble, and surround ourselves with God-fearing friends, then this pride can lead to disrespectful or even irrational behavior like seen in Xerxes. So, how do we guard against this pride building up, even in the good things in our lives?

I like to look at Philippians 2 as a guide. In Philippians 2:1–18, Paul gives a beautiful encouragement to the believers in Philippi about doing nothing out of selfish ambition and looking out for others interests above their own. He then continues to talk about humility by using Jesus as the perfect example of it. In short, the fight against pride requires a constant choice to humble ourselves at the feet of Jesus, learn from Him, worship Him, and serve others in the same way He served us. Will you commit to fighting against pride in this way?

Pause: Take an honest look at your heart. Is there any area where you may be walking in pride? How can you guard your heart better from becoming prideful in something?

Practice: Read through Philippians 2:1–18. Contemplate what humility looks like according to Paul and the example of Jesus. How can you implement humility in your daily life and how can you start today?

Pray: Father God, thank You for being so gracious with me when I can easily think I can do it better on my own. Forgive me for allowing pride to grow in certain areas of my life. I want to walk in humility as I keep You at the center of it all. Help me to consider others before myself and to place myself at the foot of the cross daily. I love You Lord. Amen.

About the Author

Samantha Rodriguez

Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.