Vashti’s Failure

How NOT to Manage Stubborn Husbands

Esther 1


June 14, 2015 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (Romans 15:4)


A.    The Book of Esther is one of the neglected books of the Bible.


1.      Most people have never heard a sermon, or a series of sermons, on the book of Esther.

2.      We have spent an entire week at Victory Youth Camp back in 2008 studying the amazing life of this wonderful young lady and her uncle Mordecai

3.      And we have studied it verse by verse on Wednesday evenings 2 years ago


B.     It is a different kind of Book… from anything you will find in the New Testament, and also from much that you will discover in the Old Testament;

C.    It is mainly about a woman – named ESTHER


1.      There are three books in the Bible about women,

2.      The book of Esther, the book of Ruth, and the Song of Solomon

3.      All are mainly about women.

4.      They are all amazing stories, with amazing life principles to learn from.

5.      If you have read this book of Esther, then you already know it is an intriguing and fascinating story of human love and palace-intrigue. It covers a time of Israel’s history when they were spiritually away from God, and physically away from their land. The Jewish people so ignored and rejected God’s ways of living that they had harshly reaped the consequences of their choices and watched their entire country burned to the ground, and Jerusalem reduced to a pile of burnt rubble, as they and all their children were taken away as slaves and captives to a far away empire called Babylon!


D.    But as you know, Esther isn’t the last Book of the Bible  


1.      God hadn’t finished the last chapter yet. There was more to happen in the lives of these people called Israel.

2.      And that is where this Book picks up the story – with the people of Israel in captivity, away from God and from their land, and about to be utterly destroyed by an enemy named Haman, that you would think was Adolf Hitler’s twin brother!


E.     The Apostle Paul, in Romans 15:4 reminds us that all the things that happened to Israel happened as examples for us. They teach us about Israel, but they also very clearly teach us about OURSELVES!


1.      The people and events of the Bible are more than just history, they are mirrors of what WE all are like!

2.      Illustration: Some of you ladies may be working in the kitchen some, busy cooking, and while you are working away, you hear a knock at the door. You go into immediate panic because you are afraid that you are not presentable, so you run into the bathroom and look into the mirror and in that mirror you see yourself. That mirror reveals to you what you look like at the moment. So, you hastily grab a towel and wipe off the smudge of flour that's on your nose and straighten your hair and then run to the door.


F.     This morning, and next week, let the mirror of God’s word show you what YOU are like.


II.    Background (Esther 1:1-9)


A.    Meet, Ahasuerus the King


1.      Ahasuerus is a title, like Pharaoh, Caesar, and Taoiseach

2.      His real name was Xerxes – lived about 500 years before the birth of Jesus

3.      Pretty ruthless man


B.     The Kingdom of Media and Persia


1.      His grandfather and then father had conquered and merged the Persian Empire with the Median Empire

2.      Vast - 127 provinces under the dominion of one empire (Ireland only has 4 provinces, Munster, Leinster, Ulster and Connacht). 3,000 miles from Egypt to India!

3.      When the Book of Esther begins, Ahasuerus wasn’t finished expanding his empire

4.      He set his sights on Greece and Europe itself!

5.      And the great feast of Esther chapter 1 was a part of the preparation for the organization of his upcoming campaign against Greece

6.      He will miserably fail

7.      That’s where chapter 2 comes in. But that is for next week!


C.    Meet, Vashti the Queen


1.      Queen Vashti of Media ruled this empire along-side her husband, Ahasuerus

2.      A descendent of Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, and related to Cyrus the Great

3.      She takes her place as the first official feminist in history, as you will see


D.    They are having a Huge Celebration


1.      180 days (1/2 a year) of partying and revelling in preparation for their invasion of Greece


a.       The empire was getting ready to go to war, so they were living it up before they potentially died!

b.      The Persians of that day were known for being soft, and pleasure seekers


2.      At the end of the 180 days, a special one week feast is held for everyone great and small


E.     Well, let’s pick up the story, as that week of feasting comes to an end, with a major marital spat, and let’s see what we can learn about the wrong way to handle a hard husband!


III. Message


A.    Ahasuerus’ Command (Esther 1:10,11)


1.      Not a very good husband


a.       Drunkard

b.      Partier

c.       Megalomaniac


2.      In a mood of showing off


a.       Shows off his riches

b.      Shows off with the best wine

c.       Shows off with the best gold cups

d.      Wants now to show off his wife


3.      Commands his wife


a.       Off to a bad start

b.      Commands that she be brought before him and that she present herself before the whole city as another one of his beautiful possessions

c.       This was a slam to Vashti – a public embarrassment for her

d.      Rude, disrespectful, demeaning, controlling, uncaring, and the list goes on and on


4.      How do you handle a man like that?


B.     Vashti’s Response (Esther 1:12)


1.      How do you handle a man like that? Only three choices


a.       Ignore him

b.      Fight him

c.       Divorce him


2.      She is no saint


a.       Also a partier (1:9)

b.      Drinking going on amongst them – they were no tea-totallers

c.       She loved attention

d.      She is spoiled with wealth – everything she ever have wanted


3.      She knew his command/request was wrong


a.       That was a men’s only party she was being invited to – these are pagans!

b.      They were all drunk (187 days of drinking!!!)

c.       Any woman there would have been seen only as call girl, harlot, bimbo, slut

d.      It would have brought great dishonour to herself


4.      Vashti chooses to fight him – head to head, toe to toe, eye to eye


a.       Plainly REFUSED his command – publically hurt him

b.      There. They were now even.

c.       Ahasuerus should just get over it, and get on with life

d.      He will just have to learn that he cannot just boss her around

e.       And then she went back to her own party


5.      That should have been the end of it.

6.      But, oh no! This was a fight she didn’t think would go as far as it did


C.    What Was At Stake (Esther 1:13-18)


1.      Her marriage was at stake


a.       Vashti has not simply disagreed with her husband, she has…

b.      Dishonoured her husband – publically, painfully


1)      That means she disgraced, brought down people’s view of him

2)      She publically shamed him

3)      How many of you like that being done to YOU?


c.       Slammed his manhood

d.      Slammed his authority – because he was wrong, she felt justified to reject all his authority

e.       Made him look stupid – which he was!

f.       Publically made herself the boss in their home


2.      Her Position as Queen was at stake


a.       She dishonoured the king

b.      She dishonoured herself


1)      Vashti was a role model

2)      All powerful people are

3)      And God says all older Christian women are


c.       This will be the talk of the entire kingdom – remember how large it was?


1)      Everyone across all 127 provinces

2)      It will be decades before anyone forgets about this blatant, in-your-face refusal

3)      Marriages all over the kingdom will be affected


3.      The very fabric of society was at stake – how men and women in marriages act and work together was now in question


a.       Funny that it has been this way for the past 50 years here in Europe


4.      So now you know why the feminist movement claims Vashti as their hero! They love her


a.       Feminists don’t really care about any of those things

b.      She stood up to the most powerful of men

c.       She rejected his and all authority over her life

d.      She easily mocked her role as wife

e.       She had no fear


D.    The Consequences of Vashti’s Actions (Esther 1:12, 19-22)


1.      Everyone can do anything they want – absolute free will!

2.      But absolutely NO ONE can choose the consequences. And believe me, there ARE consequences for doing wrong!

3.      She brought out fierce and dangerous anger in Ahasuerus


a.       She has stirred up anger in her ungodly husband

b.      Drunken anger – one of the worst kinds

c.       As is the case when people drink – they are fine until upset, and then they are set to kill


4.      Ahasuerus quickly divorces his queen. Vashti could not have stopped it!

5.      Vashti loses everything

6.      And Ahasuerus just went on with life

7.      And the kingdom learned its lesson – that men will win every time! Might will make right

8.      Again, I don’t believe Vashti thought this would go as far as it did. But it did! Whew!


E.     I am glad this is just chapter 1!


1.      As Paul said in 1Cor 12:31, there is a more excellent way! A better way to deal with hard-headed, hard-hearted husbands.

2.      And Esther will show that way in Chapter 2-7


IV. Marriage Saving Principles


A.    Every husband is different


1.      Let your husband be who he is – you married him, not a ideal

2.      No husband will ever be exactly what you want, or even need, ladies

3.      GOD reserves the right to meet ALL your needs! (Isa 45:22, “look unto me and be ye saved)

4.      When God gave you your husband, he was not intended to replace God

5.      God needs you to HELP your husband, but not change him!


B.     GOD changes people – allow God to change them!


1.      People don’t change people

2.      You can force them, push them, provoke them, but you cannot change them

3.      THAT is a work of God! God made them, and God can fix them! Claim these verses!


a.       Neh 2:4

b.      Ezra 1:1

c.       Ezra 7:27

d.      Prov 21:1

e.       Ezek 36:26,27

f.       Act 16:14

g.      Philp 2:13

h.      Now, none of it is automatic, or magic

i.        God is always working in and on everyone – whether they know it or not

j.        But it cannot finish, it cannot accomplish its purpose until that person responds to that work, humbly in faith, yielding and accepting God’s pressure and direction!

k.      Just trust that God is working harder and better than you ever will!!!


C.    Love your husband, in spite of his sinfulness


1.      Neither one of you are perfect saints – at your best, you and he will fail miserably!

2.      Show affection towards him – that is what you vowed to do when you got married

3.      Give attention to him and his needs, as much as you do the children, and visitors


D.    Stay connected with your husband – Vashti and Ahasuerus were disconnected


1.      Spend time with him

2.      Listen to him. He probably doesn’t talk much. But maybe it is because he thinks you don’t care what he thinks or is saying

3.      Do what he likes to do as much as you ask him to do what you like to do


E.     Work WITH Authority


1.      God has ordained authorities over people


a.       There is no getting around it (1Tim 2:1,2; Matt 23:2,3)

b.      Governments (good and bad) are ordained by God

c.       Parents – are also ordained by God

d.      AND… husbands have authority, as ordained by God

e.       All the talk about personal freedoms and rights and liberties is about to go down the toilet, with riot police being beefed up in every major city


2.      God expects authorities to command, not to just ask nicely


a.       Governments make laws, commandments that must be obeyed

b.      Pastors are to direct their flocks (1Tim 3:4,5)

c.       Abraham commanded his home (Gen 18:19)

d.      Eli did NOT command his children (1Sam 3:13) – restrained them not

e.       Jesus commanded! He didn’t just walk around all day cowering and timid. Men followed Him because He actually LED the way, and fixed things, and was masculine!

f.       Don’t be upset that God expects men fathers husbands to lead homes & make commands


1)      Men should bare rule in their home – that is not wrong!

2)      According to God, men are lords in their home – their commands are to be obeyed

3)      Now, not everything needs to be a command!!!

4)      But when there is a fight, or a battle, Dad is supposed to be obeyed – unless there is a very good reason not to


3.      Stop fighting authority, and start working with it. God expects every one of us to work with our authorities, and not dishonour them, or mock them.


a.       That means, Usually obey

b.      But sometimes, we have to disagree – like Vashti needed to disagree

c.       It is not wrong to disagree


4.      There are ways to respectfully disagree, and respectfully deny a command – Esther will show this next week!


a.       The wrong way – Vashti fighting head to head against her husband

b.      The right way – the Disciples (Acts 5:29). Did not threaten, or attack. Just said they can’t do what they are being commanded to do (or not to do)

c.       God expects husbands and wives to disagree – but expects them to do it privately, and respectfully! (Ephesians 5:33). Not publicly in front of children or visitors, or neighbours


5.      I imagine MOST of Us will have a problem with this Biblical principle!


a.       Please take a good long look at how YOU are affected by ALL the stupid TV and movies that not only YOU and your wife/husband watch, but also that your children watch that constantly influence their ideal of what boys and girls are for, and what marriage is all about! I cannot watch TV with all the STUPIDITY just pouring out of every channel!!!

b.      It has probably been a very long time since you were encouraged to handle arguments and fights in the home the right way

c.       Most people only know how to fight head to head, and toe to toe – they will not allow themselves to do anything lovingly, humbly, respectfully anymore!


F.     Stay under God’s control in an argument, even when your husband is not under control


1.      Hey! A good example is like if you two were in two cars driving down a road

2.      One starts to speed and drive crazy – through red lights, and without signals

3.      Well, you just keep to the rules of the road – don’t stoop to his stupidity!

4.      The same is true in the home! Keep to God’s way of living!


G.    Honour and praise your husband (Prov 27:21)


1.      Plant seeds of love and praise for who he is, all the time

2.      Men need praise from their wives, just as much as they need correction!

3.      Make sure you give your man BOTH!

4.      And, disagree respectfully when you have to

5.      Easily be first to back down – ask him to don the same!


a.       When you back down, you are not losing the fight – you are still right

b.      But you are allowing God to fight for you

c.       And you are making sure the devil is being kept OUT of your marriage by staying humble (James 4:6)


H.    Pray for your husband – really pray for him…


1.      To know God – not just about God, but to know His heart, and His ways of doing things

2.      To love God – more than he loves you and the children

3.      For God to open his eyes to how stupid he is being

4.      To be more than just changed, but be transformed – to become only like Jesus


I.       Let God sanctify you and him through whatever you go through – don’t let anything separate you and him (1Cor 6:11; 7:14)


V.    Conclusion


A.    The most important help in your home will not be rules – although they will make it a safe place

B.     But it will be the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in your home


1.      As you invite Him to lead and change and sanctify all of you (Cf Rev 3:20)

2.      Have you yet humbled yourself before God and admitted you are a stubborn sinful man or woman, just like Ahasuerus or Vashti, and begged God to save a wretch like you?

3.      Do it today, BEFORE you lose your family!