When we begin reading the book of Esther we hear of a king powerful beyond comparison. The supreme ruler of the known world! His kingdom: Legendary. And, to top it all off, he's well aware of that fact. King Ahasuerus was so proud that he conducted a one hundred and eighty day feast, that's right, six months of feasting, just so he could fluff his feathers for all to see.
The Status Trap
We're living in an a society full of greed, where materialism is the religion of choice. Instant gratification is the drug of our society. I want it and I want it now. During our current "financial crisis" most Americans still enjoy a standard of living that most others in the world wouldn't dare to dream. One of the side effects of our greed driven lust for posessions is the need to exhibit for others, and to make them feel inferior by our superiority!
Sometimes this pride is based on fact, on achievements we have legitimately accomplished like Ahasuerus, but if we allow pride to be planted in our brains it often grows into a redwood, and perhaps when we're atop a tree with a height akin to a mountain our achievements begin to appear out of proportion?
When we've pride in our lives others will desire to see our redwoods felled. Ahasuerus' own defeater came in the form of his own wife. Not only his wife, but his queen.
You see, I imagine that Ahasuerus had grown into a difficult man with which to live and reign, and this was not just a feast that Ahasuerus was throwing, Vashti was hosting a feast as well. Alright ladies, you know that when you're throwing a Pampered Chef or Mary Kay party you get just a little bit harried, come on admit it. Can you imagine, Vashti had been hosting a six month long Tupperware party?! When you're stressed and your husband throws one more log onto the fire that is your to do list, how often do you find yourself, through gritted teeth, saying, "That is it!"
I firmly believe when the chamberlains came to request Vashti's presence before the king, she said these exact words, at least in her head. I know I would have. Not only was he asking more of her than he already had, when his pride had made him impossible, but he was asking her to become an ornament, something to further inflate his pride. Her self-worth had been reduced to that of an object. And, how many of us, when we're angry with our husbands sit, arms crossed and refused to acknowledge him? He hears the famous, curt "Nothing!" to his inquiry as to what is troubling us!
In essence, Vashit's "I'll show him" attitude was the same one enjoyed by many wives throughout the centuries, but Vashti, was not one of those many wives, and her husband not one of the many! She was queen to the largest kingdom on earth and wife to the ruler of it. She humiliated the most powerful man on earth in front of, literally, the whole world.
Every one said it was unsinkable. That it was the most magnificent ship to sail the seven seas, but on it's maiden voyage the Titanic sunk to it's grave beneath the Atlantic. And that's we're the unsinkable vessel has slept for ninety-nine years.
Pride can weave it's way into any heart, and, in many ways, we are not that different from this ancient couple. Pride will always precede a fall. You see, humans are so fallible that we have nothing about which to boast. For every success there are multiple failures.