Teaching Series
Shaped by Environment
Esther 1-4

Series: Shaped by Environment 
Message: Peripheral
Preacher: Jessyka Albert

Refresh: Open with prayer. Read or listen to Psalm 69:1-6.

Read: Esther 1-4 (NLT). As you read the New Living Translation, note 1-3 insights/questions.

Reflect: Let’s start today by looking at Esther’s predecessor, Queen Vashti. She leaves the story almost as quickly as she enters, but her presence is significant. Her husband King Ahasuerus, known historically as Xerxes I of Persia, is hosting quite the extravagant banquet. Vashti hosts her own banquet for all the women of the palace, but is rudely interrupted when her drunken husband decides that he would like to show her off at his festivities. We are not told her reason; only that she refuses. This not only shocks but enrages the king. All the men begin to worry because if word gets around that Vashti got away with disobeying the king, then all the women in Persia and Media will believe that they also have the right to say, “No!” (1:16-18). How is Xerxes meant to control 127 provinces if he can’t control his own wife?
The king must tend not only to his wounded ego, but set the example for how situations like this should be dealt with all throughout the land. Vashti is banished from the palace and stripped of her crown. And that’s the last we hear of her. We are not told of the reasoning behind her “disobedience” at the king's request that she be paraded around at a banquet like a common concubine, but there is no doubt that she knows the consequences of this refusal won’t be pretty. This brave queen foreshadows the woman who is to take her place. This pagan queen sets the stage for a Jewish orphan to take the crown. Vashti risks her life by refusing to go before the king; later Esther risks her life by insisting on going before the king without permission. This action would change the course of history. 
Although she is a minor character in this story, Vashti is a pivotal character. Without her action, we would be reading a different story entirely. The stage is now set for a new queen. Exit Vashti; enter Esther.

Recalibrate: ​ 

  1. Do you ever feel like your actions are insignificant?
  2. Is not doing something just as important as doing something?

Respond: Pray for wisdom in your daily decisions.

Research: What are some of the historical reasons given for Vashti’s refusal to go before the King?

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