Vol. 38, No. 1 January, 2014
“BUT QUEEN VASHTI REFUSED”
By Pastor George Mills
I have never preached through the Book of Esther.
From time to time I will study some in Esther, make a few notes, then lay that Book aside to study another. I published a message from the Book of Esther about 3 or 4 years ago. In that message I tried to bring out the bravery of Esther as she went before the King to intercede for her people, the Jews. In this message, I want to look at another person in this Book. While we admire Esther’s courage as she went before the King. Her mind was made up. “If I perish, I perish.” She put her life on the line as she went before the king on behalf of her people. We admire her bravery. But I want to point out someone whom I also admire. This person is also a female, a very beautiful female mentioned only in the Book of Esther. But before we get to her, let’s take a few moments to mention some of the characters and circumstances of the Book Of Esther.
The Name of God is not mentioned but we can see Him working with His people.
The Jewish feast of Pur (Purim) began in Esther,
(ch. 3:7, 9:26-31). This was to be the day when all Jews were to be put to death.
The hatred of Haman for the Jews pictures the hatred of Satan against the Jews, and also pictures the Antichrist who is yet to come on the scene.
God hears the cry of His people. Sometimes we think not, but He hears, and He has a purpose.
Ahasuerus mentioned in v1, is a title. His name was Xerxes. He reigned from 488-465 BC. He was not a good ruler. He tried to conquer Greece but failed. He listened to his advisers without a careful check before making any decision.
He prepared a feast, (Ch.1) that lasted 180 days, (1:4-8). My, what a feast that must have been. “Royal wine was in abundance.”
After the 180 day feast, there was another seven day feast and conference. After everyone was drunk with wine, the king commanded to bring in Queen Vashti that everyone may gaze on her beauty, “She was fair to look on,”(v11) but Vashti would not display herself before that bunch of drunks. I have to admire her. She thought more of herself than to be lusted after before this crowd. I know nothing about Vashti. She is mentioned only in this Book. I have no assurance that she ever met God. I admire her convictions. Just think about it. To be the Queen was the desire of every young girl in the kingdom. Young women prepared themselves to be a part of the king’s harem, (ch 2:1-4). “But Queen Vashti refused.” (1:12) Again, to me, she is one of the heroins of the Bible. I wish that I had some knowledge that she knew our God, but I do not. But I appreciate her modesty. This is something that has been missing from our society for quite awhile. Modesty, is a thing of the past. The female society begins at an early age learning about the displaying of her body. Again, this begins very early in her life. For a long time, modesty was taught in the Home and in the Church. This has almost vanished from the scene. Thank God that some do teach and preach about modesty. When God said through the Apostle Paul, “In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel,” (1Tim 2:9), He was thinking about a woman’s safety. Today, when the female body is so much on display, everywhere you look, and man’s hormones are so affected by what he sees, no wonder there are so many sexual sins today! Allow me to share a few things about Vashti as seen in our text.
HER BOUNTY. (v9).
By Bounty, I mean her substance, her yield, her allowance. No doubt she lived in luxury.“Vashti the Queen made a feast for the women.” (v9). As Queen she had great influence with the King, and with the people. No doubt the King was very fond of her. I believe that Ch. 2:1 shows us that he missed her. Her influence in the kingdom was great. After Vashti was deposed from her position the King’s advisers stated that Vashti had not only done the King wrong, but also to all the princes, and all the people that are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus.” (1:16-22). No doubt she had great influence along with great income. But right is right even in a heathen environment.
HER BEAUTY. (Ch. 1:7-11) .
“On the seventh day when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, and Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, the seven chamberlains that served in the presence of Ahasuerus the king to bring Vashti the Queen before the King with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty, for she was fair to look on.” (Ch, 1:10-11). The King wanted to display her beauty, but she refused! This cost her everything, but she refused! Again I say that the exposure of the female anatomy begins very early in life. Young girls begin to plan for various “beauty contests” etc. “Miss America, Miss Universe,” etc. There are programs in many communities today where young girls dress, or undress, like adults and are judged by their imitation of adults. Thousands of perverts, child molesters, pedophiles, watch and lust, and their mind begins. Maybe the little girl he saw on stage did not get hurt, but her exposure caused some other little innocent girl to suffer. Shame on mothers who teach young girls this style. This scene is at every swimming pool, the lakes, the beaches, and the Bikini is not for swimming, it is for showing! MODESTY is not outdated! Modesty begins in the home!
There is a BEAUTY that does not come from make-up, or clothing not worn. There is a BEAUTY that comes from the inner-person. A beauty that is on display does not last very long!
HER BRAVERY. (v10-12),
Vashti refused to be on display before a bunch of drunks. I admire her courage, her bravery. She is an unsung hero. This act cost her everything. But what an example she is. It is not always easy to go against the grain, but some do.
HER BANISHMENT. (v19).
“If it please the King, let there go a royal commandment from him, and let it be written among the laws or the Persians and the Medes, that it be not altered, that Vashti come no more before King Ahasuerus, and let the King give her royal estate unto another that is better than she.”
She lost everything, her income, her position. But she did not lose her character. She knew right from wrong and went for the right.
Let me today challenge all parents of children, especially little girls, that modesty begins at home! The protection for little children begins at home. Healthy teaching about the human anatomy begins at home. Don’t depend upon society, but teach them with your own words and by your example before them. And the Mini-skirt, well, what can I say? The mystery is all over! (Isa. 47:2). The greatest thing a female has is her mystery! When the Bible (KJB) teaches us about our acts, our deeds, our obedience, the clothing we wear, He has our safety in mind.
I have to admire Vashti today. I have never heard her mentioned in a sermon, but I sure do like her example!
GOD, IN THE UPSETS OF LIFE
Dr. George Mills
“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. And above it stood the seraphims; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is filled with His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the alter. And he laid it upon my mouth and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me.”
I wish that I could tell you that when you get saved, nothing else will ever go wrong! But that would be untrue. I have learned through personal experiences that we do have upsets in life and that GOD WORKS IN THE UPSETS OF LIFE! In our text, Isaiah’s life was upset. His life was suddenly changed. As he kneels in prayer, God teaches Him some things. Life is not always filled with good. Life can be changed instantly. A loved one is taken away suddenly. A move to another city, a loss of a job, a sickness, and suddenly, life changes.
GOD UPSETS OUR LIFE TO MAKE US MORE AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE.
Isaiah dates his experience from the death of King Uzziah. Isaiah must have relied heavily upon Uzziah. In ages past, folks used to date things in relation to some great happening; “Oh, it was in the year that Mama died.” or, “It was in the year of the great storm.”etc. God upsets his life. “Here I am, Isaiah, trust me.” Sometimes this is His only way to gain our attention. He taps you on the shoulder and says, “I’m right here.” As He said to Moses,“I have seen, I have heard, I know.” (Ex. 3:7). God wants us to trust Him. He is always near. I like a popular Gospel song that says, “HE WAS THERE ALL THE TIME.”
GOD UPSETS OUR LIFE THAT HE MIGHT SHOW US THE NEEDS.
The seraphim took a coal from the alter and touched Isaiah’s tongue and said, “Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged.”(v7). Isaiah was a great statesman and prophet. What his sin was, his iniquity was, I am not sure. Iniquity has to do with our offenses against fellow man. Sin is a transgression against the Law of God. (See Psalm 51:2-4). Isaiah saw God as God is; Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is filled with His Glory.” I am afraid that we see only self sufficiency until we see His sufficiency. Isaiah saw God then he saw himself. He needed to be cleansed from all sin. That was his need.
If we read the first chapters of the Book of Isaiah we see the great needs of the land. They were very religious, but very lost. God pleads with them, “Come now and let us reason together saith the LORD; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow,though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (1:18).
GOD UPSETS OUR LIFE TO REMIND US THAT WE ARE USEFUL TO HIM.
“Who will go for us? Whom shall we send?” I am useful to God, you are useful to God. Our hands are His only hands. Our feet, His only feet. Our voice, His only voice. “Isaiah, if you don’t go for us, who will?” “I need you.” In His great plan, God does not need seraphim, He has many. God does not need angels, He has many. He uses people. People like you and me. Not the high and the proud, He uses simple people. People like Isaiah who will see God as He is. Does that touch your heart in some small way? Of all the billions of people on the earth, you are useful to Him.
GOD UPSETS OUR LIFE IN ORDER TO EXPAND OUR VISION.
Before this scene in the Temple, Isaiah’s life was quite small. Now he says, “I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Needy people were everywhere. If you read the fifth chapter of Isaiah you will see the needs of the nation; GREED, MATERIALISM, PRIDE, ALCOHOLISM, REVERSING THE STANDARD OF MORALITY, CORRUPTION.
GOD UPSETS OUR LIFE THAT WE MIGHT HEAR AND ANSWER HIS CALL.
Whom shall I send and who will go for us?”
God’s call still goes out. The world still needs to hear the Glorious Gospel of Christ. We live in the midst of a needy nation, and world. We do not have to look very far to see the need. Laborers are few. Not many today are willing to say, “Here am I, send me.” God told Isaiah that the job would be rough, that not many would listen to him. I wonder, do you think that if God could have found a few more “Isaiahs” in the land that maybe the nation would have repented at their preaching? Just maybe if you and I will join the ranks with the few who are willing to say, “Here am I, send me,” I wonder if we would see revival in our time? I wonder. Who knows what God will do with the few who see Him in His Holiness.
Isaiah asked the question, “How long?” How long do you want me to preach? God answered, “Until the cities and the land be utterly desolate,” (v9-11). There is no quitting, and no stopping, Isaiah has seen the Lord, He can’t stop! Nor can we, until God calls us out of here.
Before I close this, I must ask you that all important question, “Are you saved? Saved from the Penalty and Power of sin?” If not, if you do not know, if you are not sure, Why not today, NOW, answer His call as He speaks to your heart. “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” Just tell Christ in your owns words that you receive Him, that you believe that He died and arose from the dead in full payment for your sin. He is there, where you are. He will hear the cry of the penitent heart.
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS..It is no friend. The world offers the fake, the phoney, And empty promises. A promise is no better than the one who makes the promise. “Faithful is He that promised.” ( Heb. 10:23).
THE HOLINESS OF GOD
By Pastor George Mills
(Adapted from Isaiah 6:1-11)
I saw the Holiness of God,
Revealed so clear to me.
While Seraphim did hide their face,
I saw God’s Purity.
I saw myself as I really am,
Unclean, my lips, my all,
There, clothed in my righteousness,
Alas, I seemed so small.
I saw the world about me then,
Unclean, as well as I,
With none to give them warning,
And time was passing by.
My lips were touched with coals of fire,
My attitude was changed.
I saw God in His Holiness,
My life, He rearranged.
I heard Him ask in tender words,
“Is there one for us to send?”
Can I refuse His urgent call,
Or can I, His will offend?
I said, “Oh Lord send me today,
Let me, Thy message bear.
And spend my days to tell Thy Truth,
That everyone may hear.
To lose my life will be my gain,
Just to publish God’s Great Name.
For I saw God in His Holiness,
I will never be the same.
(From the WILDERNESS, June, 2008)
THINK ABOUT IT…The world crucified the only perfect One who ever lived, And the world seeks to crucify us. Trusting the world’s wisdom will lead to defeat. Trusting God’s Word will cause us to be more than conquerors through Him that loves us. (Ro. 8:37).
To all of our readers everywhere, to those along the world wide web, we wish for each of you a Christ Centered, HAPPY NEW YEAR! May this New Year find us all busy in our Lord’s Service. “Even so, Come Lord Jesus.”
REDEEMING THE TIME
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time because the days are evil.”
To Redeem the TIME is to take advantage of every opportunity, to use every second very wisely. TIME, very rapidly, slips away. We must learn to use what TIME we have very wisely. Here are some of the ways we can Redeem The TIME…
WE MUST REALIZE THE VALUE OF TIME.
The most priceless possession we have is TIME. More valuable than our career, our savings, our retirement, our plans, our home, and any other possession we may claim. Everything we have depends upon the TIME we have. We will not have TIME very long. TIME is priceless. Think of the millions who would give up vast fortunes for just one more hour. Let us not spend our TIME in idleness, let us spend each moment investing in eternal things. We waste TIME on the temporal and overlook the eternal. Consider the value of TIME.
WE MUST RECOGNIZE OUR BRIEF PORTION OF TIME.
“The days of our years are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is there strength, labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off and we fly away.” (Psa. 90:10). THINK ABOUT IT…seventy to eighty years is our allotment of TIME. Very brief. Some do not get to see all of these years. Then consider that at least 1/3 of those years are spent sleeping. And if God does allow the full eighty years, there is labor and sorrow…strength is gone. When we total everything, we see that we have but a brief portion of TIME. Use it wisely!!
WE MUST REALIZE THE RIGHT USE OF OUR TIME.
We are prone to spend most of our TIME on the temporal, on frivolous things, on things that will not matter in just a short TIME. The Bible says that Noah spent his TIME in preparing an ark for the saving of his house, (Heb 11:7). That’s the most important use of TIME. Let us spend our TIME in bringing our family to Christ. Let us spend TIME in bringing others to Christ. As judgment was threatening in Noah’s day, (Gen. 6:1-22) so judgment is just ahead. We cannot “Boast of tomorrow, because we do not know what a day may bring forth. (Pr. 27:1).
WE MUST REALIZE THAT THE DAYS ARE EVIL.
The days were evil when Paul wrote the words in our text some 2000 years ago. The moral standard was very low. I think that Paul would be amazed at the standard of morality of these days. Paul wrote that the days will become more evil as TIME passes. As you carefully read the scriptures, (KJB) you will not find a world-wide revival at the END TIME. Quite the contrary; “Men will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears.” (2Tim. 4:1-5) The airways are filled with “teachers” today. Sound doctrine is a thing of the past. “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power of God, from such turn away.” (2Tim 3:1-4, v13;“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
The days were evil and evil will continue to worsen as TIME passes. There will be more crime, more drugs, more immorality, more terrorism, more anti-Christs, more false religion. On the positive side, I believe that these last days are days of opportunity. More ways to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ than ever before. Let us take advantage of our TIME!
OUR TIME MAY WELL BE INTERRUPTED BY ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING.
ACCIDENT. You know, you are traveling down the highway, driving at the right speed, minding your own business and suddenly some idiot crosses into your lane, and you know the rest. Days, weeks, even months in the hospital. This happens to Christians. This has happened to me.
SICKNESS. Christians get sick. If you listen to some of these charismatic preachers and “faith healers” they will tell you that Christians do not get sick, and, if sickness should come, all you have to do is to speak to that that sickness and it will leave you. But they get sick just like everybody else gets sick. Some of us will have to spend time in a sick bed this year.
DEATH. We cannot escape the fact that some of us who read this will not be around when this New Year will have ended. Death will come to some. Unexpected, unprepared, but death will interrupt the days of some of us. SO, since TIME is our most priceless possession, let us use every second wisely. Let us be about our Lord’s business. Let’s reach out together and win as many as we can. TIME is swiftly running out. All the money we have will not buy another hour. TIME…use it wisely!
FOR THIS NEW YEAR…May the God of Heaven Bless our nation. We are a needy people. We are prone to wander from the place of Blessing. Today, we are reaping a harvest of crime and corruption, in government, society, school, and homes.. Grant to us a great awakening throughout the land. May there be a great hunger in the hearts of the people for the Blessings of God.
THINK ABOUT IT…When TIME is no more, we will still be. But where will we be? Do we have that TIME, that while we were in TIME, we took TIME to receive the Giver of TIME? If not, TODAY is your TIME!
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
A CLOSER WALK
Our Heavenly Father has allowed us to see the beginning of a brand new year and we thank Him for His goodness and mercy to us in the years past. But now we have to forget last year and dwell on this brand new year that God has given us. Do you have plans for the next twelve months? Have you thought about all the tasks you would like to accomplish? Just remember tomorrow may bring sunshine or rain, good times and not so good times. There will be trials and there will be victories so be ready for the rain along with the sunny days. The way we, as Christians can be ready to face tomorrow, (the new year) is to “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you.”(James 4:8). Snuggle up close to Him and find safety in the times of trouble. Let Him cover you with His wings. “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” (Psa.17:8). Walk close to Him and let Him protect us from evil in the year ahead. “He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shalt thou trust.” (Psa. 91:4). Whatever this new year might bring our way, let us face it knowing that our Saviour and Lord is right there with us to see us through the bad times and to rejoice with us in the good times. “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: My God; in Him will I trust.” (Psa. 91:2).
We wish you a Happy New Year with lots and lots of sunshine and a closer walk with Him!
If someone is reading this and you have never started your walk with Jesus, just tell Him that you are a sinner on your way to hell and want to be saved today and start your walk with Him. Ask Him to come into your heart and He will. What a glorious way to start the New Year!
THINK ABOUT IT…Our goal here at the WILDERNESS is to place a Gospel witness in the hands of at least one million people in the days we have here. This is being done by broadcast, this Publication. and the world wide web. PRAY!
TEEN TALKS THAT MATTER
By Ashley Stevens
I have recently been thinking a lot about Christians and social media sites. As Christians, do we think about everything we share or post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Have you ever taken a second to think…Is this pleasing to God?Should I really put that harsh comment on my friend’s page?
As Christians, everything we do reflects on God. Your online behavior reflects your offline attitudes. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
So, before you write something on Facebook, imagine how others might respond to what you are saying. Think about Philippians 4:8. Think about what you are posting. How would it reflect on you? How do you think others would feel about your post? Good? Bad? Sad? Disappointed? If you think there’s a chance they will take it negatively, maybe you shouldn’t post it.
We can use this technology to set a Christian example and witness to others. By your actions in your life and by your posting on social media, make sure that others can tell a difference in your life. That difference is because you have Christ living inside of you, and through Him you are now a different person. Take every chance you can, and use every tool you can get your hands on to win others to Christ.
May God Bless you each and every day.
Until next time, Ashley Stevens
THINK ABOUT IT…In speaking about the Law of God, the Psalmist said, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10).
LOST AND FOUND
There had been a rapid spiral downward in the land of Israel. Heathen altars had been set up in the Temple and the land was polluted with idolatry. The Word of God had been covered up with debris from all of that idol worship. THINK ABOUT IT…the Word of God had been lost in the House of God. That sounds familiar. It doesn’t seem possible, but it happened. I believe that history has repeated itself in these last days. The Word of God has become lost in so many ways.
Of course, the Word of God had become lost due to the decrees of the kings to set up idols in the land. Like today, the courts have ruled the Word of God out of much of society today. The Word of God has become lost to this generation.
SOMETIMES THE WORD GETS LOST THROUGH NEGLECT.
You know, the Bible becomes just an ornament to place on a table. It is never picked up to be read. It’s wisdom and guidance is never sought. It’s just there, NEGLECTED! How about you? Is your Bible (KJB) as much of your daily diet as your regular meals? “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Don’t lose your Bible.
SOMETIMES THE WORD GETS LOST THROUGH FAMILIARITY.
Here, the Word is not neglected, it has become a textbook. We study it, looking for sermons, or lessons. We do not read it as a message from God. We do not allow God to speak. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! Not much time today! The Psalmist said, “In His Law doth he meditate.” He thinks, he ponders, he digests the Word. Don’t read your Bible just to prepare your Sunday School lesson. Don’t let the Word of God become “Familiar.” Our knowledge of the Word should be ever increasing.
THE WORD OF GOD HAS BECOME LOST THROUGH TRANSLATIONS.
There are dozens of translations, “versions” on the market today, and many more are coming. Each one claiming to be the word of God. None of them agree with each other. Recently I was in a Christian Book Store. One section was dedicated for “bibles.” Thousands of “bibles” of every size, color, and contained any and everything man may want. God is NOT in all of this confusion! One church wants this “version” another church wants another “version” and so on. Pulpits today are filled with “Greek and Hebrew” scholars who refer to the “originals” when there are no originals. There has been no Revival in the land since these new “versions” have hit our pulpits. There has been growth, numerically, but no Revival and there will be no Revival until we FIND and return to the Word Of God, (KJB). The King James, Authorized version does not need to be up-dated. As it was in Josiah’s day, the Word has become lost in so many ways. Pulpits, Bible Colleges, Seminaries, liberal professors where young preachers have been taught and re-educated concerning the Inspiration and preservation of the Word of God. All of this is supported by church members who give their tithes to pay salaries for unsaved professors to teach young preachers. God said in His Word that in the last days many would turn from the Truth to fables, (2Tim. 4:1-4). HERE WE ARE! Jesus said “Thy Word is Truth.” Absolute Truth! I do not question the Word, (KJB). Let us stay with the Book. It has brought us this far, and it will take us all the way home!
THINK ABOUT IT…A man once tried to change horses in the middle of a stream, fell from his horse and drowned. This is no time to try to change horses, The one we come on has proved himself to be strong enough to take us on home.
STAY WITH THE BOOK!