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A Single Act of Courage

Words of Faith Final

A Single Act of Courage

Words of Faith 5-25-2021

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2008, 2021

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Esther 1

         [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pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes.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.


      It is remarkable that so much fear can be struck in the hearts of the unjust by a single act of protest.  All that Vashti did was refuse to appear before the drunken guests of her husband wearing nothing but the crown jewels.  Most would understand.  But that refusal wounded the king's ego and created a national incident.  Wisemen were called in.  Pundits were consulted and the spin doctors went to work. 

     What will this refusal, this act of insolence, mean?  The answer: The destruction of the nation!  The breakdown of the family!  "There will be no end of the disrespect and discord!"  If the Queen refuses to dance naked-- what will the kingdom come to!?

       The truth is that injustice dies hard and is always terrified by a single act of courage.  Just ask Rosa Parks, the little lady who terrified a bus full of people who needed their hearts opened.  Or ask Dietrich Bonhoeffer the Christian minister and theologian who refused to side with the Nazis and write a paper to justify their actions.  Or ask Corrie Ten Boom who broke the law to hide Jewish families in Amsterdam.  Cowards are always terrified by a single courageous act.  And terrified cowards can be especially dangerous.

       The cost was high for Vashti and her act of protest.  She would never be allowed in the presence of the King again.  I'll bet she was terribly grieved. No more invitations to his parties?  Hmmm-- some would call that "freedom." Actually, the fact that she was not immediately executed may indicate that she had at least some sympathy in the kingdom. 

        We do see the terrified response of the status quo.   The king and nobles put out a "dispatch"-- a sort of decree in all languages-- settling once and for all that every man should be the "ruler" of his own household.  It is a good thing that they settled this issue 2600 years ago so we would never have to debate it again!  It never is that simple, is it?  The truth is that we can't control people with dispatches and we cannot win the day with inflammatory rhetoric.

         So whatever happened to Vashti? She was free from dance duty.  Jewish tradition teaches that she was eventually executed, but from Scripture, we do not know that to be true.  It is not impossible that she became one of those Gentiles known as "God-fearers" because they recognized the power of the God of Israel. We don't know. The book of Esther does not give all the answers so we are left to wonder.


         And whatever will happen to us?  In those situations where matters are plainly wrong?  Is there someone near you who has taken a tough stand?  An unpopular position?  They could probably use your encouragement.  More importantly, is there something that God has put on your heart?  Something you need to do?  Something you need to say?  A single courageous act for God that will make a difference?  Even a simple refusal to take part in that which is not right.  Now, remember, such action is not without a price-- but you know that God is with you.


           Lord, give me the courage to be obedient in the face of injustice.  Give me the courage to take Your stand.  Give me the peace I need to be Your man or Your woman today.  In Jesus' name.


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2008, 2021

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.