DISOBEDIENCE to GOD & KING has GRAVE CONSEQUENCES: "On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded…seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him." (Esther 1:10-12)
The above passage is a snippet of the grand celebratory events that occurred during the third year of the reign of Ahasuerus, king of Persia, who ruled over 127 provinces extending from India to Ethiopia. The occasion for this celebration was due to their overthrowing of the mighty Babylonian Empire, and these events occurred in a fortified palace located in Shushan, their capital city. During this celebration, the king wanted to show off the greatness of his kingdom and majesty to his people, and these events lasted for about six months.
At the end of this celebration, the king hosted a specific feast that lasted for another seven days. On the seventh day of the feast, the intoxicated king commanded his seven eunuchs to bring his wife and queen, Vashti, for a royal display so that he could show off her beauty to all the people and officials of his kingdom. However, Queen Vashti disobeyed the king’s command to parade herself before everyone due to her own reasons. This infuriated the king greatly, and this subsequently led to Vashti being deposed as the queen of the land.
The scriptures do not reveal the real reasons that led to Queen Vashti disobeying her husband the king. This was clearly a foolhardy and rebellious act on her part for the consequences and punishment to her were swift and painful. Since we do not know the specific reasoning behind the queen’s decision not to appear before the king, we do not need to decide whether she was right or wrong. One thing we do know is that Queen Vashti was deposed because of her disobedience to her husband. She also disobeyed God’s express command that a woman should submit to her own husbands unless she is asked by him to sin against God (see Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; 1 Cor. 11:3; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:5-6). On the other hand, she may be justified in refusing the king’s command if he required her to become immodest in front of all the drunken men as a showpiece of travesty.
Let’s pay attention to what the wisest king, Solomon, had to say about this matter: "I say, 'Keep the king's commandment for the sake of your oath to God. Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him’. Where the word of a king is, there is power; and who may say to him, 'What are you doing?' He who keeps his command will experience nothing harmful; and a wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment, because for every matter there is a time and judgment, though the misery of man increases greatly. For he does not know what will happen; so who can tell him when it will occur?" (Eccl. 8:2-7)
One thing is evident from this episode: disobedience to God and king has grave consequences. In the case of Vashti, she lost the privilege of being the queen of the land, and ever having an audience with the king for the rest of her life. How much graver consequences we will face when we deliberately disobey God who has spoken in the past through His prophets, but is speaking to us in these last days through His Son Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1).
Let us be clear that obeying is better than saying, “I’m sorry” (1 Samuel 15:22). We, as God's children, should obey all forms of authority that God has instituted over us (see Romans 13:1-4). People who obey God’s Word will truly be blessed (Luke 11:28), so let’s sincerely obey God every day of our lives.