The book of Esther tells a dramatic story of intrigue, danger and deliverance. A beautiful Jewish girl named Esther becomes Queen of Persia and later risks her life on behalf of her people. Esther is the only one of two books in the Bible named for women. The other is the book of Ruth. We don’t know who wrote this true story about the people of Israel while they were living as exiles in Persia. The name of God is not mentioned in the book, but His providential hand can be seen as clearly as in any book of the Bible. The setting is the Persian Empire covering a ten year period from 483-473 b.c. Though in captivity far from the Promised Land, this story shows how God cared for His people in order to keep His promise to bring them back to their homeland. (NIV Audio Bible).
Vs. 1, “This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush…” We are introduced to the Persian King Xerxes (Greek name…his Persian name was Khshayarshan) who reigned for 21 years and was the grandson of King Cyrus the Great. We begin this chapter with much intrigue…it has all the ingredients for a blockbuster movie! The story is compelling from the start…Xerxes is having a lavish banquet in lieu of a coming war with Greece. It is the last banquet of a 180 day feast and Xerxes now wanted to show off his beautiful wife & Queen Vashti (Vs. 11). But Vashit refused to come, perhaps because she knew there was vast amounts of alcohol (not much has changed, huh?)…and was concerned with the rowdiness of the party. Xerxes obviously was stunned by her refusal and his pride was hurt. His close advisors gave him bad advice and instructed him to depose of her (a decisioin he would later regret)…he was a puppet king and was easily influenced.
Regarding application…Alcohol. Vs. 8, “By the king’s command each guest was allowed to drink in his own way, for the king instructed all the wine stewards to serve each man what he wished.” What a foolish thing Alcohol is. It’s suprising how socially acceptable it is within the church these days. Just a few years ago, I would have college students lamenting to me how foolish they were and are when it came to their alcoholic practices in college. Now, it is normal to see Christian college students socially drinking and “buzzing” at any given party or hangout. If we only knew the price of alcohol (not monetarily…but how it literally destroys lives and families.) It is an incredilby foolish slippery slope to walk on and I challenge any student or adult to justify drinking beyond a glass for celebration at a wedding or special event. The moment alcohol enters our system our judgment is impaired (believe me, I know this all to well from my past). Yet, the answer often given is that it’s “social” drinking and I know when to stop. Brothers & sisters…for anyone who knows me…I see many things black & white and this biblical example is another reason why we should not step down the path of Alcohol.