With a quiet confidence, she strolled along the corridor taking in the elaborate beauty of the palace. The golden curtains trimmed in silver and purple hanging along the outer window frames, the long couches that lined the halls. She reached out her hand and ran it along the silk fabric and breathed a sigh of wonder. How had she ever come to be mistress of such elegant, breath-taking splendor? She still shuddered with pure delight at the feel of the silk dresses as her maidservant dressed her every morning. Still closed her eyes and breathed deeply the smells of soap and perfume that surrounded every article of clothing in her dressing room. She still caught her breath at the sight of her hair, lavishly washed and fixed every morning, and still couldn’t help but lose her breath every time she heard the new name: Queen Esther.
It seemed like overnight, she had become someone else completely. She was newly married to the most powerful man in the entire country, and as a result, was adorned in a beauty that defied everything she’d ever wished for herself. She also lived in a palace and there, held an authority she didn’t completely understand. She’d grown up quickly in that year of preparation, from being a young Jewish girl to a lady of mystery and intrigue. She was naturally beautiful, but what Hegai had been able to do in that time to refine her was both wonderful and humbling.
Esther though, had something that Vashti did not. Something that kept her in a place in the King’s heart that Vashti had never been. It wasn’t beauty alone that endeared him to her. After all, Vashti was flaunted in the palace because of her beauty. She was famous in the kingdom for it. Although Esther was also very beautiful, there was something else in her. Something that caught the attention of Hegai, that garnered his special favor and ultimately won the heart of the king. It was her humility. Her ability to show an honest respect toward those around her and to exchange her own immediate comfort and desires to submit to the will of others. She is a beautiful example to us today of a godly wife, as well as the Bride of Christ.
Esther knew her place. She knew she was the queen, and therefore entitled. She knew she had authority in the palace. She also knew the value of respecting those in authority too. She didn’t share the same authority as the King, or even his advisors, and she didn’t mistakenly act like it. When she needed to be heard, she didn’t just rush into the throne room, she spent time in preparation. She dressed to please, and she walked humbly into the presence of the King. She received his welcoming smile because she had given him something Vashti had not: acknowledgement of his kingship.
Today, we are taught that we are equals. I guess that sounds nice if you are a woman, but its not exactly biblical. While I do not believe God intended for us to be subservient in any way, He does acknowledge that we are the weaker sex and that we need the guidance as well as the love of our husband. Our husbands are told to love us as Christ loved the church. Don’t miss the fact that the church is not equal to Christ. He is the head of the church; our husbands are likewise the head of the family. I believe our familial relationships would fare much better if we heeded to this. If we respected our husbands and worked diligently to build them up, we would have their favor as a natural byproduct of that respect.
That being said, it’s only half my point. The other is this: the respect of our Heavenly King. I am very guilty lately of being more like Vashti than Esther. I have humbly and confidently accepted the royal position of daughter, but then acted like a spoiled brat. I have questioned the Lord’s purpose in things, I’ve questioned His goodness and His love. I’ve grumbled against things He’s directed me to do, unhappy with the results. I’ve ridiculed things I do not understand. I’ve been a nagging wife, a sourpuss, and He’s probably been living on the corner of the roof for the past two months. What makes me equal to God that I can disrespect His sovereignty? While we are invited to boldly approach the throne of grace, we should do so more like Esther, who trembled, understanding the authority of the King who could destroy her with the turn of his scepter. And although we know that God is a gracious and loving God, we should not take that as a license to disrespect His authority and Kingship. We should submit to Him out of both love and a reverent fear. He is our Lord! Our King! Our Father! His position of authority in our life deserves our regard and respect. Our gentle, trusting submission. Our willingness to follow without complaining. In short, our respect.