“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.”Proverbs 22:4
I have quite a lot of blog topics laid upon my heart as of late, and it took quite awhile before I decided this would be the first of the newest round of writings. For one, I truly enjoy the book of Esther. For two, it is full of many theological applications to women, and even men alike. But, of course, I only write to teach and help women grow in the Word – so that is what we shall do today as we dig into the lovely, God-breathed beauty of the life of Esther and how we, as women today, can walk in such a way by the grace of God also.
Who is Esther in the Bible?
Esther was the lowly, young Jewish orphan girl being raised by her cousin Mordecai who was chosen out of the many virgins of the land put before King Xerxes, a Persian king, also known as King Ahasuerus, to replace the defiant Queen Vashti he was banishing from the kingdom for an embarrassing display of disobedience on the last day of a significant feast in Persian culture. After being chosen to be queen, Esther is well-known by us today for the famous line “and if I perish, I perish” when her people were being plotted against by a wicked man named Haman, who was also the king’s right-hand man, and she was preparing to now fast and then make a plea unto the king to spare the lives of the Jews (Esther 4). For once a king made and signed a royal decree, even he could not break that promise. Just think of how even much more so God keeps His promises to us! The King of kings who never lies or changes! Needless to say, through great bravery, she finds favor in the king’s sight and Haman is dealt with in one of the most beautiful displays of justice and the Jewish people are spared and blessed abundantly. I encourage all reading this blog today to read the Book of Esther in your own time as I cannot compact all the gems of the Holy Spirit within it into this space.
“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”Proverbs 11:2
There are two types of women…
Those who are submitted unto the Lord and those who are not. There are Proverbial 21 women who prefer contentiousness and there are Proverbial 31 women who prefer virtuousness. There are Vashtis and there are Esthers. One of those pride, death, and destruction follows and the other meekness, life, and favor follows.
If one was to read the book of Esther before salvation, most would say that Queen Vashti was justified in her disobedience to her husband. How dare her husband tell her to come before a room full of drunken men with Lord knows what kind of thoughts on their minds and let them gaze upon her beauty! There have been some claims that the king wanted her to come out *only* in her royal crown, but there has been no historical evidence to back that claim. The problem, you see, was not her reservation of wanting to participate – it was her approach. Her husband the king was not a man of God, as Persians often served their own gods in idolatry, but to be fair neither was Vashti ever said to have been a woman of faith. Regardless, God’s Word stands true. A wife should revere her husband and honor his headship whether he be saved or not. Vashti did not handle the situation wisely nor with any meekness. A man dishonored will only bear through it for so long in his flesh and this moment was the last straw from the king and rightfully so. One day, she was helping and making plans for the banquet held for the women, the next stripped of her crown and exiled. Proverbs 25:24 says, “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” She was not a hero. Not a martryed hill for wives everywhere to die on. She was foolish, undiscerning, and tore down her own house at her own hands (Proverbs 14:1). If Vashti would have approached her husband privately and with much reverence, without a doubt after now studying how he endeared Esther in all her femininity and sweetness, she could have appealed to his masculine nature and he would have reconsidered his prior request to flaunt her as his wife before the elders and leading men of his kingdom at that important feast. And even if he did not, obedience is the Lord’s call to all of us even if some are married to unbelievers. Unless, he had truly asked her to expose her nakedness before any other besides her husband which historical and biblical scholars say was not asked of her. For it is written in 1 Corinthians 7:13-14, “And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.” It is also written in Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Then, of course, God also instructs the men in loving their wives as Christ loves the church. Nevertheless, whether our husbands are loving us as we believe to be right biblically, we set the example and “be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear” (1 Peter 3:1-2.)
The approach matters.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”Colossians 3:12
Queen Esther, on the other hand…
She knew exactly in her role as a biblical woman submitted unto the Lord how to approach her new husband. She gained so much favor from him right away even during the twelve months of “cleansing” before he even chose her to be his queen. Even the Bible says all those who were around her favored her (Esther 2:15). There is no doubt in my mind that she had a gentle and quiet spirit – for the Lord does not exalt neither shows favor to pridefulness nor haughtiness of heart. Though both her and Vashti were said to be fair (beautiful in looks), Esther however had a beauty that no amount of adorning of outward apparel could capture. It was her heart towards the Lord that shone bright for all to see with His Spirit upon her. She did not think herself to be anything, yet God exalted her in everything.
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”1 Peter 3:3-4
Many wives today believe nagging her husband will produce any good in their marriage or even life, and they could not be further from the truth. I even have to remind myself of this from time to time. Anytime I am seeing to my husband’s needs and walking uprightly in the Lord, I see such a working of the Lord and I see how my husband in return is more sensitive to my needs and even goes over and beyond to make sure I am loved well. It helps that he is a son of God, but even men who do not know the Lord yet, still respond to the submissiveness and soft, femininity of their wives. Esther trusted the Lord and the Lord moved on her behalf. As I have heard elsewhere: Meekness is not weakness, but strength under control. Real strength does not look like the world’s loud and obnoxious version of what they believe to be strength.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”1 Peter 5:6
We are not responsible for the actions of our husbands, but we are responsible for how we respond. When we stand before the Lord, He will not be asking us of why our husbands did certain things and neither hold us accountable for those things, but He will judge us in did we adhere to His Word despite all the odds. Did we glorify Him in all we did? Did we give it our all? Did we have faith that God’s way is the only way?
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men… (Colossians 3:23)
As always, this does not include if your life is in real danger in your marriage at an action your husband asks you to do. Then you can respectfully decline. For God does not call us to harm ourselves for we are His first. If you ever want to learn a biblical and precious example of approaching your husband and reasoning with him, the book of Esther is it. Even how we can reverently approach the Lord! The approach matters. Emotional outbursts produced in sin will spring forth death and destruction as Vashti learned in the death of her queendom and destruction of her marriage. But prudence and understanding produced from godliness springs forth life and honor as Esther reaped the benefits of.
Last note… Divorce is not advocated by the Bible.
In the book of Esther, King Xerxes, was not a professing believer. So no, this book does not advocate for divorces because a woman does not obey her husband. A man of God and woman of God should always fight with everything they have to cling to one another in Christ – if possible when both are willing to fight. There are few exceptions for divorce in the Word and we will discuss that soon in another blog. But I will say that many divorces today are not biblical recognized divorces and are from selfish hearts and motives. God is a promise-keeper and we as Christians should live that example out to the world wherever we are able – and we are able!
Grace and more grace… until next time, stay steadfast in the Word and in prayer. Walk unwavering in the faith that you profess.
With much love,
The Redeemed Wife
“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”Esther 4:14