Our looks are such a huge part of our culture today. Actually, it seems that beauty has always been a big part of our culture. I want to be seen as beautiful as I am sure you do as well. Oh, the lengths we will go to obtain a look that is viewed by others as envious. To what shame? How low are we willing to stoop to be noticed and seen? Then, there we are on top of the world. Our beauty is everything we wanted it to be, now what? We are hoping that life is different from here on out and it usually is. Beauty doesn’t end up supplying everything that we had hoped.
I haven’t written a new post of my “People of the Bible” mini-series in awhile because I try not to be hasty about who I am writing about. I have been spending some time in prayer and really seeking who God was placing on my heart. Saturday morning, it came to me. Queen Vashti. I didn’t know why, I didn’t really even know who she was. I had heard her name before but not much else and so I dug in and started studying her. Let me share with you what I learned and how I think her life example applies to us today.
Vashti: A Persian Queen
Vashti was a Persian Queen. She was married to King Xerxes and she was beautiful. In fact, Vashti means beautiful; best. We aren’t positive but there is speculation that Vashti was the Queen’s real name but had been given to her as a nickname when her beauty became apparent. Sorry, that was a little side note.
King Xerxes was hosting a 7-day banquet for all the people in his kingdom, from the least to the greatest. Queen Vashti was holding her own banquet as well for all of the women. Wine was consumed in what was said to be large Quantities.
Esther 1:7-8 …the royal wine was lavished according to the bounty of the king. 8 And drinking was according to this edict: “There is no compulsion.” For the king had given orders to all the staff of his palace to do as each man desired.
When he was merry with wine
On the 7th day when Xerxes was “merry with wine” (1 Esther 1:10) he sent 7 of his servants to bring Queen Vashti before him wearing her crown so that the people and the princes could witness her beauty.
Esther 1: 11…bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at.
Queen Vashti refused the Kings request and humiliated him in front of his Kingdom. King Xerxes then met with his council and they decided that Vashti was never to be in the King’s presence again and they were to be divorced.
Esther 1:12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.
The King and the other Noblemen were afraid that Vashti’s disobedience would trickle down to other wives and women of the court. Therefore her punishment needed to be known, so to be an example. This is the last that we hear of Vashti in the Bible.
Let me explain a little bit of what I think this would have been like
Vashti was a Queen, not only that but she was to have been the most beautiful in the land. She had the life that as little girls most of us dreamed about. She was a beautiful princess turned even more beautiful queen, living in a palace and married to the King. Yet here she was in all of her splendor and for what? To be objectified, paraded around in front of drunk men. Her husband wanting to show off her beauty for selfish reasons was belittling her as not only the queen but as a woman.
She kept her dignity
When she stood up for herself and said, “no”. She lost everything that she had known. No longer was she Queen, she was now without her husband, without a home. She lost her life as she knew it, but she didn’t lose herself. She knew that she was worth more than to be paraded around and oggled. No one would deserve to be humiliated in front of all those people, there was no need. Vashti showing off her beauty would not have gained anyone a better life. And so she gave up everything except what was most important. Her love for herself and her dignity.
Girls, ladies, now is the time to stand up for yourselves. Are there times that we are objectified by the men in our lives? Yes, I am sure there are, but can I tell you the saddest thing that I have noticed recently? We are objectifying ourselves. We (not all of us, but as a whole) are wearing clothes, that say, “hey look at my body”. When sending nudes and intimate bra and panties pics to boys, and men. We are giving away visions of our bodies that should only be seen by our husbands, or our future husbands.
Is it wrong to want to be beautiful?
Do we want to be beautiful? Yes, of course. Do we want to be noticed? Yes. Are those two things wrong? No, in themselves they are not wrong. What is wrong, is the way we are trying to show and share our beauty.
Vashti was a woman who was trying to stand up for women somewhere around 479BC. She was giving us an example of how to be brave and true to ourselves before Jesus had even come. Ladies, this was a long time ago. Women have been fighting being objectified for so many years, we can’t fathom it. Why then, why are we allowing the world to tell us that we are only beautiful if we are willing to show off our bodies to whoever wants to see them, whenever they want?
Your worth is more than you know
Teenagers, please listen. You are worth far more than a catcall and a shout out from a boy. Your worth is beyond compare.
1Peter 1:18 Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you are worthless when you are worth more than gold
The beauty that you possess comes not only from what you look like but from your heart. Guard yourselves, protect yourselves and save the viewing of your body for the man that you fall in love with and call husband! You are he are both worth it. Take a tip from Queen Vashti who could have easily gotten what she wanted if she was willing to compromise her body. Say, “no”.