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My Greatness

Esther  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:27
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Introduction

Chapter 1 serves as a prelude to the Book of Esther. It introduces the motif of feasting, which runs throughout the book;6 it sets the stage for action in the Persian royal courts; and it adds details that explain certain aspects of the story. For example: why Ahasuerus needs to find a new queen (ch. 2); why Esther might fear the king’s anger (ch. 4); the role and significance of royal advisers (chs, 3, 6, 7, and 8); and why the king cannot revoke his decree (ch. 8).

This is the chapter that gets the story rolling.

Esther 1:1-22

Esther 1:4–12 LEB
as he displayed the wealth of the glory of his kingdom and the glorious splendor of his greatness for many days, one hundred and eighty days. And when those days were completed, the king gave for all the people that were present at the citadel of Susa, both great and small, a banquet in the courtyard of the king’s palace garden that lasted seven days. There were curtains of finely woven linen and blue cloth tied with cords of fine white linen and purple cloth to silver curtain rings and pillars of alabaster, and couches of gold and silver on a paved floor of alabaster, precious stone, mother-of-pearl, and costly stones. Drinks were served in goblets of gold and goblets of different kinds, and there was plentiful royal wine according to the bounty of the king. There were no restrictions on the drinking, for the king had instructed every official of his palace to do as each one pleased. Furthermore, Queen Vashti gave a banquet for the women in the palace that belonged to King Ahasuerus. On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he said to Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven of the eunuchs attending King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown to show the people and the officials her beauty, for she was very attractive. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the word of the king that was conveyed by the eunuchs. And the king became very angry, and his anger burned in him.
King Xerxes is threw a 6 month party for all the rich people in his circle.
How many of you could through a 6 month party?
I couldn’t handle it even if I did have the money. But for many it sounds like a great thing. I knew college students that had 4 years of party.
After he that party he invites all the little people in. The common folk. and he lets everyone drink there fill in a golden goblet that is unique to each of them.
Not because he is kind and wants them all to have a cup that they can keep straight in a wold without sharpies. This was a grand jester to say How grate am I.
While He throws this great party Vashti, which literally means desirable and may not be here real name, is having a party of her own. Historians believe that this banquet included all 360 of the king’s concubines.
Jewish tradition holds that Vashti was also the great-grand-daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, the former king of Babylon
Colin D. Jones. Exploring Esther: Serving the Unseen God. Day One Publications, 1978.
On the seventh day when the wine had gone to the king’s head. He was drunk.
Esther A Lascivious Request

So after 180 days of feasting and drinking, Ahasuerus desired to end his banquet not with fireworks, but with lust and envy: he wanted his guests to envy him and regard him as the only man who had the world by the tail.

Esther A Lascivious Request

In other words, King Ahasuerus had shown his splendor, his wealth, and his power for six months, but he decided that wasn’t good enough. He still had one more prized possession to show off … his wife.

So He called her and it is Argued about why she refuses to come. B.W. Jones theorizes that when Persian wives attended banquets with their husbands, they departed when they heavy drinking began leaving behind only the concubines and the Prostitutes. Therefore, Vashti’s appearance at this advanced stage of the party would be an insult to her royal dignity.
Esther A Lascivious Request

Herodotus, the Greek historian who lived just after the Persian kingdom ended, wrote that this was common practice for Persian kings because the Persian people were so promiscuous. They loved parading their wives and concubines unclothed to show them off to one another. It was a competition—a little game of Let’s See Who Has the Prettiest Wife

So in ancient Jewish Tradition it was proposed that Ahasuerus, Xerxes, intended for Vashti to appear only in “her royal crown”
But the text itself does not explain. Jut that she did an the king was furious.

Foolish King

This king is immediately put into the place of a worldly king. Great and Powerful. But Foolish. Instead of taking action with his Queen himself he looks to his advisers. (We will look at them next week).
But Xerxes is shown to be the opposite of what the Bible calls people to be. This is a secular world.
Ecclesiastes 10:16–18 LEB
Woe to you, O land, when your king is a youth and your princes feast in the morning. Blessed are you, O land, when your king is a son of nobility and your princes feast at the proper time— to gain strength and not to get drunk. Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through idleness of hands the house leaks.
Is that not an accurate picture of Ahasuerus, who urged his princes to feast, not only in morning, but for 180 consecutive days!.
Proverbs 31:4–5 LEB
It is not for the kings, O Lemuel; drinking wine is not for the kings, nor is strong drink for rulers. Or else he will drink and forget what has been decreed, and he will pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
A mother advises the unknown King Lemuel. Xerxes needed to hear this advice.
Proverbs 23:31–33 LEB
Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles on the cup, going down smoothly. In the end, it will bite like a serpent, and it will sting like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will speak perverse things.
And in is fury he is identified as a fool
Proverbs 14:17 LEB
He who is short of temper will act foolishly, and the man who schemes will be hated.

This King or The King

As I read about this foolish behavior and a man who has so much Greatness I have to ask are we Like this King or The King
We can focus on the women’s issue. We are quick to jump on the Persian customs as Offensive. Vashti was not respected instead she was put aside. We Grow upset at Xerxes attitude that Vashti was degraded to an object of beauty, a sign of her husband’s prowess and power. She was an object to show off his Greatness.
Yet our culture too, regularly places women in the position of Vashti, a position where they feel demeaned by a society that tends to value their appearance more than their character. I wonder how many here could relate to that. I remember the men of the world in the locker room rating women (I am told Women do it too) as if they are a goal or a property to be judged by their outward appearance. And I have witness Men showing off their wives and wives showing off their husbands as a victory they had won.
Unfortunately, Christians are not immune from the offense of devaluing Women (and others). It isn’t just women people use to show off.
It’s Children, its spouses, Its sports team. Claiming their glory for ourselves.
Instead of Jesus attitude. who had a prostitute washed his feet with her tears, and was criticized because He allowed himself to e touched by a sinner (Luke 7).

Jesus did not see before Him a sinner or a prostitute; He saw a woman who loved, who was forgiven, and who had been saved by her faith (Luke 7:47–50). He did not see an object of lust or scorn, but a person who could give and receive love.

We often lift things up so that we can show off our own greatness. Bragging. Now most of us don’t do it to this extreme of Xerxes. But we do often Brag. But barging about ourselves is the thing of fools.
Psalm 20:7 LEB
Some boast in chariots and others in horses, but we boast in the name of Yahweh, our God.
We often use things or people to lift ourselves up. Sometimes we do like Xerxes did and say Look how great this thing that I support or own or take place in is. Other times we demoralize and bring others down to lift ourselves up. I am better than them. I am better than that. Like the Pharisees did in Luke 7
Some trying to Get their Golden Crowns in heaven. To boast of their Greatness.
Revelation 4:10–11 LEB
the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who is seated on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever, and put down their crowns before the throne, saying, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.”
Jesus calls us to see people as valuable individuals, not as objects. His example reminds us that people do not exist for our pleasure, but, rather, to be loved, to love others, and to give delight to God.

Next Steps

Maybe you are a braggart. Everyone likes to tell stories from the past which is OK. but not to lift you up or to put others down. YHWH lift us up.
Are you objectifying others. Treating them like things not people. Action or thought. Gut reaction will be to say no of course not. Evaluate
Are you believing someone who is objectifying you. You are wonderfully made and God loves you. Wonderful image of the Divine.
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