One of my favorite attributes of God is His providence. I could read and talk about it all day, because I don’t have to look far to see how little control I hold over my life. The fact that my lack of wisdom sometimes causes me to make poor decisions makes the truth that my God not only holds all power, but uses it to orchestrate all things for His glory and my good, calming, peace-inducing, and freeing.
The providence of God is the unceasing activity of the Creator whereby, in overflowing bounty and goodwill, He upholds His creatures in ordered existence, guides and governs all events, circumstances, and free acts of angels and men, and directs everything to its appointed goal, for His own glory.
In our studies this week we are already coming across the providence of God beginning with King Xerxes extravagant party.
King Xerxes was a very proud man. He was especially proud of his kingdom and decided to show off just how great he was. He started by displaying his wealth for 180 days and then ended by partying hard for a week with an enormously elaborate dinner.
The author points out that wine flowed freely and everyone was allowed to drink as much as they wanted (vs. 7-8). It was in this context that the King decides to show off one last thing, his Queen. But she refuses to come. We are not told why she so blatantly disregards his wishes. The reason doesn’t really matter. The point is she refuses to come and the king is furious (vs. 12).
He is so angered by her stubborn refusal to obey his summons that she is stripped of her position and title of queen and an edict is given to all the land that women must respect their husbands (vs. 20).
It is difficult to figure out whether or not Vashti was at fault. Some speculate that she would have had to parade in the nude, others think she may have had some disfigurement, and some believe she didn’t want to be heckled and gawked at by hundreds of men in various degrees of inebriation. Whatever the reason, her decision was viewed as disrespect.
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33 says that wives are to respect their husbands, but what does this look like and to what degree should a wife respect her man? Is it disrespect to refuse to follow his ungodly counsel and command? Of course not. A woman who refuses to follow the sin of her husband is honoring the Lord and respecting her husband by at least potentially leading him out of more sin and trouble. But none of this is the point of the text.
Esther is a historical account of God’s deep love and sovereign protection of his people. The Jews will find themselves in great peril, but before that happens God is already at work, orchestrating events to work together for his glory and his people’s safety. The fact that Vashti disregarded the summons of the king was a part of God’s providential plan which was to make way for Esther to the crown.
You can rest assured that whatever is happening in your life, God is already at work putting the pieces together.
You do not know how your story will unfold, but come what may, God has a plan and you can know this: those who hope in Christ alone will be preserved in faith by God’s Spirit, and one day will be saved completely from sin and death, will inherit a kingdom and a crown, and will see their Savior face to face for all of eternity.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Looking to Jesus,
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