1. WE SHOULD REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN EVIL, EVEN AT THE KING'S COMMAND.
Esther 1:10-12 - "On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded...seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him."
It appears that Vashti refused the king's command because of her own virtue. She was a beautiful woman but was unwilling to show off her body as if she was just some other treasure of the kingdom to be lusted after (cf. 1:4). Based on the king's intoxicated state and his reputation, it is difficult to know in what state of attire she was being asked to parade herself. The text mentions her wearing her crown but nothing else is stated. Did he want her to come out naked with just her crown on or did he want her to put on something immodest that would stir up the passions of the men who laid eyes on her? Though we cannot know for sure, we can know that it does matter how we dress (cf. I Tim. 2:9,10)! Sadly, many women today will show-off their bodies without needing any command from a king. Many do not have the virtue of Vashti. May we strive to do what is right before God, despite what earthly authorities may command to the contrary (cf. Acts 5:29)!
2. TOO MUCH FOCUS TODAY IS PLACED ON OUTER BEAUTY TO THE NEGLECT OF INNER BEAUTY.
Esther 2:7 - "And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter."
Esther had both: she was lovely and beautiful! Outer beauty is a focus of our culture, but it does not last (cf. Prov. 31:30). It is much more beneficial to concentrate on inner beauty. Although one cannot control certain aspects of physical appearance, everyone does have the ability to control personal behaviors and attitudes. Any woman can be "lovely" if she decides to be.
3. THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD IS REAL.
Esther 4:14 - "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
Mordecai indicated that he believed it was possible Esther had been elevated to the position of queen so that she might be able to use her influence for the good of the Jews at this crucial moment. The fact that this book was inspired of God and is a part of the canon of Scripture leads me to convey this possibility in even stronger terms. It seems to me there is little doubt Esther had become queen for this very moment! Friends, if we are willing, God will use us. His unseen hand is amazing - "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28).