A Study in the Book of Esther : Lesson #1
Comparing Esther and Vashti (Chapters 1&2)
In this study of the book of Esther we are going to look at many different practical and spiritual applications that can be applied to us in the day and age which we live. The book of Esther is a wonderful book both to read and also to study. There are many types in the book of Esther concerning the tribulation, the antichrist, the restoration of the Jews, and several others. In this study we are going to stick with the more spiritual and practical application for the saved person today, although from time to time we may make mention of something that is a type.
In the first two chapters of the book of Esther we see that King Ahasuerus holds a feast in Shushan the palace and request Vashti the queen to be presented before the people. Vashti refuses to come when the king commands it and as a result we see that she is removed from being queen. The search for a new queen begins and Esther who is a Jew is chosen as one of the young virgins to be considered for being the new queen.
Esther has been raised by her cousin Mordecai and he has instructed her to not let anyone know that she is a Jew. Esther obeys Mordecai as is stated several times in the chapter and by the providence of God see is chosen to be the new queen.
In this lesson we are going to study the subject of Authority and being under Authority by comparing Esther and Vashti. The main difference that can be seen between Esther and Vashti is that even though both are under authority of some kind, Vashti disobeys the authority and Esther obeys her authority. As a result Vashti is dishonored and punished and Esther is rewarded and given a great honor.
This shows us a very simple lesson. We are all under authority of some kind and when we obey and honor the authority we will be honored and rewarded and when we disobey the authority we will be punished.
Who is the Supreme Authority?
The ultimate authority over everything is God. In Daniel 2:21 God is said to change the times and the seasons, he is also said to appoint kings and remove them. I know the Satan is said to be the god of this world and in control of things but as we see in the book of Job he can only do what God will allows him to do.
If God is the ultimate authority and he is then there are three things that we learn from this.
1) God is in control of everything and eventually everyone will answer to him.
2) This is why man hates God and this is why mankind has a problem with authority.
3) When we rebel against any authority in our lives we are actually rebelling against God.
The very first sin was a sin of rebellion and just about all sin today can be traced to a problem with authority. Whether it is a saved person rebelling against God’s word, a wife rebelling against her husband, children rebelling against parents or teachers, man rebelling against the police, workers rebelling against their boss, it is a problem with authority. Now I will admit that if your authority is demanding that you do something contrary to the word of God then you should obey God (Acts 5:29), but you had better be sure that it is contrary to the word of God directly affecting you personally and not go off half-cocked and get in to trouble with both man and God.
This is one of the great questions that you will always want to get straight in life. Who is in charge? Whether it is at home, at school, at work, at church, in public, there is always going to be someone in authority and you need to know who it is and both honor and respect the authority that God has placed you under.
With the above things in mind let us look at some of the other authorities that God has placed in our lives.
Authorities that God has Placed in our Lives :
1) The Powers that Be (Romans 13:1-7)
- This would consist of the Government and its laws all the way down to local police and traffic laws. Note that the above verses said that these were placed by God. Therefore God himself has placed us under their authority and we should obey them.
- Note that even though we may not like taxes we are to pay them (verses 6-7)
2) Our Bosses or Masters (Ephesians 6:5 ; Titus 2:9 ; 1 Peter 2:18)
- I realize that in these verses the subjects is servants and masters. Today we could apply this to our Jobs and our Bosses.
- Many today do as little as possible at work or they find ways to cheat or take advantage of the company and people they work for. This is going against the authority that God has placed you under at work and really it is going against God.
- We should give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay and stop disrespecting the authority that we are under.
3) Husbands and Parents (1 Corinthians 11:3 ; Ephesians 6:1-4)
- In these verse we see that in the home God has established a system of authority. Jesus is the head of the man, the man is the head of the woman, and children are to obey and honor their parents. It is that simple.
- Most problems in the home are a result of someone not obeying the authority, or the person in authority not doing what is their responsibility to do.
- Many will say that marriage is 50/50 but that is not scriptural. God put the husband in control and the woman is to submit to his authority but remember the husband is to be submitted to God (Ephesians 5:21-33). When either one of these is out of balance there will be constant turmoil in the home.
- Children are to obey their parents and note that this is connected with a promise of living long on the earth. Therefore if we disobey our parents and dishonor them we could actually have our life cut short here on this earth.
4) Authority in the Church (Hebrews 13:7,17)
- In these verses it says that we are to obey those that have the rule over us. In verse 17 we see that it is speaking directly about the pastor at church.
- This is a very important authority because he is not just looking out for your flesh he is looking out for your soul.
- Now it is interesting that most people will tolerate authority everywhere else in life except for at church and this is one of the places that we need it the most. For example we will tolerate a dress code at work or at school but people get mad if you have a dress code at church.
- God has placed the pastor in authority at the church and he is not to be a Lord over God’s heritage but he is the authority and we should submit to the authority that God has placed over us.
- Also the other that the pastor has placed in authority over certain aspects of the ministry we should respect also because they are just an extension of the pastors authority.
What is our Responsibility to Authority?
Our first responsibility to authority is to obey the authority that God has placed us under. Remember that rebellion toward authority is rebellion toward God. If we are going to obey the authority that God has placed us under then we are going to have to submit to those authorities. Submission is the hard part because every one of us has a certain amount of pride, and pride is what messed up Satan in the beginning. Last of all we need to respect the authority that God has placed us under. Remember we will not always like the person in authority, for example you may not like the attitude of the police officer giving you the ticket, but you should still respect his authority and him.
As we see in the case of Esther and Vashti when we submit and honor the authority God places us under then we will be rewarded and in many places receive honor. But if we reject and dishonor the authority we may be shammed and dishonored or punished.
A Study in the Book of Esther : Lesson #1 Handout
Comparing Esther and Vashti (Chapters 1&2)
1) What is the major difference that we see between Esther and Vashti?
2) Who has the supreme authority over the entire world? Give a reference.
3) What are three things that we see from the above question?
4) List 4 other authorities that we have in our lives. Give scripture for your answers.
5) What is our responsibility to authority in our lives?