His Kingdom never ends
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
(8/11) Part 2 - This morning as we continue our series in the book of Esther and we look at this great book of the Bible, we find that the first chapter is really dedicated to this man, Xerxes the Great. And the big picture we get here is that he is one who sits on a throne and rules. So the themes of king and kingdom are to awaken our imagination and
to cause us to wonder, "Is this the best the people can get for their money… is this the best king… is this the best kingdom that there is?"
So, today we’ll be in Esther 1:10; and we’re going to examine this great kingdom and this quote unquote "great king."
We read together in chapter 1, at verse 10, "On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him — Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Carcas — 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was
lovely to look at. 12 But when the attendants delivered the king's command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
13 Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times 14 and were closest to the king — Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memucan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom.
15 "According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?" he asked. "She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her."
16 Then Memucan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, "Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 For the queen's conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, 'King Xerxes commanded Queen
Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.' 18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen's conduct will respond to all the king's nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord.
19 "Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she. 20 Then when the king's edict is proclaimed throughout all
his vast realm, all the women will respect their husbands, from the least to the greatest."
21 The king and his nobles were pleased with this advice, so the king did as Memucan proposed. 22 He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, proclaiming in each people's tongue that every man should be ruler over his own household. NIV
I. Vashti’s Decision
On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine. That’s the politically correct way of saying he had too much to drink. How many of you know that drinking doesn’t make you smarter? You see, when you’re drinking, you feel smarter, and then you wake up… you wake up and you can’t find your car keys, your pants, your bail money, and you
realize, "I wasn’t that smart." Right?
So what happens is Xerxes has been partying for six months… he’s seated upon his throne, and here at the conclusion of this enormous party… here’s the grand finale… he’s going to make a request. He commanded the seven eunuchs who served him "to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and
nobles, for she was lovely to look at."
Now how many of you women know that doesn’t sound like a good day? The guys have been drunk for six months. Your husband is hammered and wants you to come and strut your stuff in front of a bunch of drunken soldiers. Right? That’s not a good day.
Now, some of you single guys are thinking, "That sounds like a great idea." But let me tell you… that’s a bad idea… once you become a dad, you begin to see things from God’s fatherly perspective. You do and everything looks different. Amen?
So if you’re a single guy, what you’re thinking is wrong… most everything you think about the opposite sex is probably wrong.
You see once you become a dad and you have a daughter, all bets are off, you’re like, "Where’s my gun? You know… it’s like these guys at this party should get part-time jobs as crash test dummies. We’ll just run them into walls and see what happens. Right? Dad’s you know what I am saying?
So, what’s Queen Vashti to do? Well, let’s read what she does. "But when the attendants delivered the king's command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger." (Esther 1:12)
So the king becomes angry... he’s humiliated… drunk and angry. That’s what we need right, more drunk angry guys? That’s always a bad idea. So the king burned with anger.
Now, the debate is this… did Vashti do a good thing or a bad thing? Now we don’t know if she’s a believer or if she even has any religious convictions… but she probably doesn’t worship the God of the Bible. One thing we can say with certainty is that she made a very brave decision.
Now commentators have kicked this around for centuries. Some say, "That wasn’t a good idea. Wives are supposed to submit to their husbands." Meaning that they obey and respect their husbands, but what happened here was that Queen Vashti publicly humiliated and shamed her husband. Even the great Martin Luther used her as an example of how a woman should
But how many of you would say, "No way. What she did was a good thing, a godly thing, and a moral thing because what he asked her to do was wrong. And if your husband is drunk and stupid and asks you to do something and you do it, you’re just joining him in his foolishness." How many of you would take that perspective?
Now the Bible does say that a woman should love, respect, honor, and obey her husband. It actually uses those words, but here’s what I believe. I believe that Vashti made a good, daring, courageous moral decision. She stood up to a guy who’s never been stood up to… who’s never been told no… who thought he was a god… and Vashti says, "No. You’re just
drunk and crude. You’re nasty." And I believe she made a good decision… the right decision… a God honoring decision.
II. Xerxes Response
So what does the king do? Look at verse 13: "Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times"
This is his cabinet… his advisors… so these are big shots. Xerxes sits on a huge throne and they sit on little thrones alongside of him. All experts in the law… wise men… overseeing a six-month drunken party. Wise men… at least that’s what it says on their resume, but I don’t know that there’s evidence. To me, these are not the wisest of men… these are
like Larry, Curly, and Moe. Right?
So now it’s turned into an international crisis. Verse 15 says, "She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes". Here we have the most powerful man in the known world. A man who rules over 3 million square miles and he can’t handle his wife. And it’s all confirmed. There are witnesses. It’s very serious. It’s all very legitimate.
This is a crisis. When she told Xerxes "no" all of a sudden a lot of women realized that was a good word. A little word but a powerful word. ‘No.’ And so Larry, Curly, and Moe tell the king that now women all over the kingdom are going to be practicing it all day at home. They’re waiting for their husband to get home from work. And then it’s gonna be
like ‘No. No. No!’ It’s an outbreak they warn. "This is an epidemic. Next thing you know, we won’t get our way. What must be done to Queen Vashti?"
Can you imagine this? These are very powerful men and it’s a comedy actually. Such powerful men yet so insecure… fearful that if the king’s wife tells him to stuff it, that their wives are going to tell them to stuff it. This is their crisis. Can you see the comedy? This is what happens when rulers, kings, those in power, those in authority, those who
are rich and famous, take themselves so seriously. It’s just silly.
And I’ve got to say this. Any time a man has to command respect of a woman it just goes to show that that man isn’t worthy of respect. You see respect is earned. And if at your house, you have to keep quoting all the "Obey me," verses, maybe she just doesn’t respect you because you’re not respectable. There are much better ways to deal with these sorts
of situations. Like loving your wife like the Bible says… treating her as a precious jewel… a partner…
So what do you think is going to happen here? Is Vashti going to back down or is she going to stick to her guns? Yes she does!
It is a standoff, because here’s something that Xerxes never does… repent. It’s a stalemate… nobody wins… nobody backs down…
But let me ask you this: is Xerxes right or wrong? Let me make this easy… to demand that his wife parade in front of thousands of drunk guys… Do you think that was a good or a bad request? It was a bad right?
So what should he do? Apologize right? "Sweetheart, I’m sorry. I was drunk. I was with the guys. I was wrong. Please forgive me."
It would have been over then, right? Probably so… but instead he remains unrepentant… it’s a standoff… but Jesus has a better way. Jesus is better… he’s a better king… and he’s got a better kingdom. You see Jesus began his ministry on earth proclaiming: "The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15)
III. Another Throne
You know, I wonder as we read this passage if we too cannot learn from King Xerxes? As we read this story we need to consider, "In what ways am I like Xerxes? How am I self-righteous? How am I stubborn? In what ways do I expect the world to rotate around me? Where am I trying to put my throne? What kingdom am I trying to build? In what ways have I mad
foolish decisions and where in my life am I unrepentant?"
You see here’s what we need to learn and take home. Here’s what we need to take out of our tool box… out of the kitchen drawer… and let me just toss this out for you. When we’re wrong, we should repent. It doesn’t matter if you’re more powerful, you should repent. It doesn’t matter if you’re the boss, you should repent to your employees. It doesn’t
matter if you’re the husband, you should repent to your wife. It doesn’t matter if you’re the parent, you should repent to your kids. It doesn’t matter if you’re the pastor, you should repent to the church. It just doesn’t matter. If you’re the president, you should repent to the voters. If you’re in charge, it doesn’t mean you’re always right, and good leadership
demonstrates humility with repentance.
You see repentance is where we acknowledge, "I was just wrong. I could make a lot of excuses… I could come up with ten thousand reasons… but at the end of the day, I just wrong."
Is that where you are today?
I’ll tell you, so many times in my life, that’s been me. I’ve been King Xerxes over my wife, my children, and my circumstances. And you know what? Everything gets really difficult and complicated when people in positions of authority remain unrepentant. And the bottom line is this… we all have some place that we are in authority.
So what do you need to repent of? What do you need to own up to and say, "I was wrong. I’m sorry"? Xerxes would have had a totally different kingdom if he was a humble king like Jesus. But he’s not a humble king, he’s a proud king.
So what’s going to happen? Well here’s what it says in verse 19: "Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than
Now, is it just me, or does that seem funny? Vashti says, "I don’t want to see him." And the king says, "She can never see me again." Do you see the humor in this? It’s like, "You did what? Well here have some ice cream!" What a punishment.
And so what has happened is now the door is open for Esther. Vashti exits stage right, leaving the door open for Esther to make her entrance. And we know that we’re going to get there eventually… we know there is a better kingdom coming… but this just leaves us longing for more doesn’t it?
And maybe today you are thinking that if you were to sit on the throne you would do better… that you would have a glorious kingdom… but you and I would do the same thing as Xerxes given that opportunity. We would… we’d pursue fame, fortune, glory, and comfort. We wouldn’t pursue the glory of God and the good of others. No one in all of humanity is fit
to sit upon that throne.
And even today, at this point in history, there is a great aching need for one to sit on the throne with justice. Is there another king? Is there another kingdom? Is there hope? And for God’s people here in Esther chapter one, there are four hundred silent years as God’s people are crying out, "Where is the king? Where is the promised kingdom?"
And all the while our King Jesus is high and exalted… he’s ruling, seated on a throne… and he does something that Xerxes never did. He got off his throne and he came down to this hurting, confused, and fallen world. He came not to take, but to give. He came not to enslave us, not to control us, but to free us. And so the story of Esther points us to
Jesus, because Jesus is better, and it’s all about Jesus.
And so the heart’s cry here is, "There has got to be a better kingdom." And there is a better kingdom… because Jesus is better. Our King got down off his throne to forgive sin… he came to give us a new nature… and he alone can give his people what they need.
You see our King Jesus sits high and exalted… he’s risen from the dead, he’s ascended into glory, and he’s forever upon his throne. And just as our King rose, his people will rise to be with him forever.
Our King Jesus, at the end of time, will parade us, his wife, his bride, the Church… spotless, pure, and gloriously before a watching world. His’ kingdom will never end. Amen? Let’s honor our king this morning!
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