The dangers of misinterpretation of the Word of God by mankind are real. In my sixteen years of studying the Scriptures I have learned to hold fast to the simplicity of the direct commands and precepts of God in His Word and take lightly any interpretations by man given on passages that are not directly, “Thus sayeth the LORD.” There are things in scripture that are quite clear and then there are things that anyone can twist and distort to make them say what they want them to say in order to prove their own point and grant themselves authority and power over the hearts and minds of others.
Some mis-interpretations may seem like a little thing, and I do believe that there are many times that they are, because they don’t change the big picture all that much. However, some can be life altering. Some can be chain breaking and freedom delivering, or they can be chain binding and freedom stealing.
I once sat before a young girl who was sitting in front of me in tears nursing a newborn. She had been abandoned by her husband because he had decided this marriage and baby thing really wasn’t for him. As I asked her about her relationship with the Lord, she shared with me that she believed in Jesus and wanted to be saved but her pastor said she wasn’t accepted by God until she had spoken in tongues… and so far she hadn’t and couldn’t. At that moment I wanted to throat punch a so called pastor. Instead, I took her to 1 Corinthians 12 – 13 and Ephesians 2:8-9 and prayed that God Himself would teach her truth as I prayed with her that day.
I was reminded of this as I watched a sermon from the book of Esther on my computer not long ago. Now I have studied the book of Esther and have taught from this book countless times. I learned this book from trusted teachers who also had learned it from trusted teachers. However, the other day as I went to JD Greer’s church website, pulled up a sermon to listen to, I chose the one from the book of Esther because this book has always been a place of strength and encouragement for me as it reminds me of God’s sovereignty. I listened to Greer share from this beautiful book of Scripture. I listened as he brought attention to Queen Vashti as he introduced the background of the story and I heard something I had never heard before.
I have always been taught to compare Vashti to Esther in this book in every study that I have seen on it. Vashti was always depicted as a rebellious, stubborn, and arrogant woman and Esther as an obedient, respectful, and humble woman. In these studies I was encouraged to be an Esther and not a Vashti. Yet, I had never been taught that King Ahasuerus was not simply asking Vashti to leave her own party and step in and wave at those in the king’s banquet, but according to JD Greer was ACTUALLY being asked to walk into a room filled with her drunken king and all his drunk buddies wearing nothing but her crown. If this is the correct interpretation of this moment in history… then Vashti should be celebrated along with Esther in this story, not used as her antithesis in comparison.
If she is compared to Esther, then her comparison should be taught as the woman who said “I will NOT go to the king and if I perish, I perish.” This is how from this day forward that I will teach this book. No longer will Vashti be taught from me as a woman not to imitate, but she will indeed be heralded as the woman of courage that she proved herself to be. A woman who in her willingness to say, “NO, I will not go” made the way for Esther to be a woman who could say, “YES, I will go…” We need more Vashti’s in this day.
We need more Vashti’s to say NO and when they are removed, when they do suffer the consequences of that NO, then let their be Esther’s there ready to come in behind them and fill those royal shoes with as much backbone and dignity and power and strength in the Lord as she who made the way for her to be there. In this world our No’s can be just as powerful as our Yes’s. Our No I won’t can mean we perish just as much as our Yes I will.
We need Vashti’s who are willing to say I don’t care if I lose my career. I don’t care if I get mocked. I don’t care if this means I become a one passage story that is buried. I don’t do this for my own well being, but for every woman, every girl, every single person that didn’t get the opportunity to say NO. If I perish, I perish, but I will not come at your bidding and be commanded to walk before you wearing nothing but a crown.
You see I know a Man who would never ask that of me or any other woman. I know a Man that instead said I, I will be lifted up in front of the entire world for you wearing nothing but a broken bloody crown of thorns so that you, YOU, can be FULLY clothed in robes of righteousness.
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
This is why we must never stop learning. This is why as people who profess to know God we must never take one man’s interpretation of the Scriptures as the only interpretation. I believe with all my heart that God’s Word is infallible. It is indeed absolute truth. However, when it begins to be filtered through the fingers of fallible mankind it can be misconstrued, misused, and even abused. This is why we must never turn our brains off when we listen to or read man’s opinions and interpretations of God’s Word. We must never stop learning the Word, never stop reasoning the Word, and never stop applying the Sword of the Spirit to the word of any person, especially any who proclaim the Word of God.
Yes, Esther was born for such a time as this… but so was Vashti, and beloved of God, so were you.
and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation