We are four days away from Purim, the day the Jews celebrate the Feast of Purim, a time when Hamaan was hung on the gallows he made for Mordecai. Little did I know when I read Esther 1 this morning, that Purim was on Wednesday, but when I heard it, I knew God was setting us up to say some things to us through the book of Esther. As I was reading Esther 1 this morning in the Septuagint, which is the Greek version of the Old Testament, I found some of the language very insightful and revelation began to break open on the pages of scripture as I read. I believe this chapter is prophetic for where many are right now.
In Esther 1 we read that King Artaxerxes throws a marriage feast for 180 days, then at the end of that 180 days, he throws another party for those who were still in town. For 6 more days he is banqueting with those in his palace, while Vashti is doing the same with the women. On the 7th day…slow down when you read and you will hear the Lord speak…on the 7th day, the king sends his chamberlains to get Vashti. Here is what the Septuagint says as to why he sent for her, “He sent seven of his chamberlain servants to bring in the queen to him, to enthrone her, to crown her with a diadem, to show her to the princes and to show her beauty to the nations, for she was beautiful” (Esther 1:11). Did you catch that, the king was not trying to get her to dress scantily and dance for his drunk guests, no, he wanted to enthrone her, crown her, and show her off to the princes and nations, for she was beautiful.
May I propose to you, that the king was proud of his bride and not some guy who wanted a trophy wife on his arm. May I suggest that he was seeking to honor her before the nations, but she refused to come to him. For you that have ears to hear, you can already tell where we are going. But let me just break this down, based on what I sensed the Lord was saying. Vashti, the bible says, “hearkened not to him to come” (Esther 1:12). The king was inviting her to be enthroned, crowned and shown off to the nations, but she was not interested in coming to see the king, when he called for her. Esther 1:12 goes on to say, “the king was grieved and angry.”
What I sense in this refusal of Vashti to come at the invitation, when her king called, is a prophetic picture of what many Christians have done to the King of kings. He has been inviting His church to come away with him (Song of Solomon 2), to come up here (Revelation 4), to hear him standing at the door and knocking asking to come in (Revelation 3), but the modern-day church has refused His offer. The same thing happened in the book of Acts, when Paul said, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, go to the people and say the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts and return and I would heal them” (Acts 28:25-27). The church, like Vashti has said, no to her king.
Vashti’s refusal grieved and angered the king and lost her position as his queen. Which made room for a new queen to be sought for. I believe this is a prophetic picture in the sense that Yahweh was grieved over Israel as they refused him, so in the words of Paul in Acts 28:28, “Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” But what I see has happened is that the church has done to Jesus what Israel did to Yahweh and they have fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy of having eyes but can’t see and ears but can’t hear and a heart that has become dull, so can’t turn to God and be healed (Isaiah 6:9-10). And because of this refusal of the church to come to Jesus, their King, when He called, He was grieved and angry, just like Artaxerxes was when Vashti refused him.
The king will not be denied a queen though, so Artaxerxes went to find a queen, and I believe Jesus has been looking for a bride. Just as Esther was not in the system of Persia, so the bride is not in the system of the church as we know it. Vashti’s refusal, opened the door for Esther, just as the Jews refusal opened the door for the Gentiles and the church’s refusal has opened the door for the bride (those who have said yes to his invitation to be set apart for Him only). Vashti’s refusal brought grief to the king, just like the Jews refusal brought grief to Yahweh and the church’s refusal has brought grief to Jesus, but the search has went on and we are about to see how Vashti’s refusal gave us Esther and how the church’s refusal is giving us the bride!
Esther was the one who was willing to be set apart so she because queen and God used her to deliver the Jews from Hamaan. I believe those who said yes to God’s invitation in this hour have been set apart to be deliverers, like Esther was, for the people of God, who the enemy has sought to destroy. The Esther’s have been in purification and beautification treatments, they have favor with the king and they are going to be used as deliverers in this hour. Vashti’s refusal, opened the door for Esther’s arrival.