“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Rom. 13:13, 14 KJV).
“Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Rom. 13:13, 14 NIV).
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God has a message for all Christians in general, and for young people in particular by way of application.
The Bible is filled with stories of young men and young women who had the courage to say no to sin, not to the flesh, and no to the devil at the right time. Because of their stand for righteousness and God, they changed lives, and nations. One such person was a lady named Vashti. Her story is told against the backdrop of Persian empire.
The monarch of Persia was Xerxes, one of the greatest rulers in the ancient world. He reigned from 486 – 465 BC. Xerxes had conquered the mighty Babylonians led by King Nebuchadnezzar. His name means “Ruling over heroes”. Xerxes reigned from India to Ethiopia over a great empire. He was one of the richest men in the entire world.
Because of his wealth and power, because of his ability to rule over a vast domain, because he was married to a beautiful woman, Xerxes believed he could tell people what to do and they would obey, no matter how immoral the action might be. Xerxes was wrong and soon discovered that righteousness rules the hearts of some.
The time came when Xerxes decided to give a banquet that would last for six months. He invited the nobility of the land to come to the lavish royal banquet. He wanted to display the vast wealth of his kingdom. He wanted everyone to see the glory of his majesty.
One night, for the pleasure of the people attending the banquet, Xerxes ordered his beautiful wife to come and perform a sensual and vulgar dance in entertainment. But Vashti would not obey the king. She sent word to the king she would not come. Vashti said “No” to inappropriate sensuality. She said “No” to an evil command even when it was given by the king himself.
The Bible warns against sensual sins of debauchery and wantonness. James said, “You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter” (James 5:5, 6 NIV).
While Xerxes and the nobility of the land fattened themselves for the day of Divine judgment, Vashti refused to participate in the drunken party. She said “No” to inappropriate behavior, which took a lot of courage.
The women who attended Vashti might have been alarmed for her and said something. “Your Majesty, you will lose your throne.” “Your Majesty, you will lose your riches.” Your Majesty, you know the king is a man not to be denied. He will be furious with you.” Still, Vashti said, “I will not go.”
That “No”, changed history for it triggered a series of events that eventually brought another queen to the throne named Esther who was able to stand up for her people and preserve them. If Vashti had not said “No”, the Jewish people would have been eliminated for Xerxes had in his court a counselor named Haman that hated the Jews and sought for the liquidation of the Hebrew people. His nefarious plans would have proceeded without impediment. But the plans of Haman were destined to be interrupted the day Vashti said no to sin. So many events in the universe are interconnected without our knowledge or understanding.
As anticipated, when Vashti said no to Xerxes, she lost her position, she lost her power, and she lost her riches. However, she did not lose her virtue. She did not squander her integrity. She kept her honor and her dignity before God.
Young person, one day you will be challenged to do something that is inappropriate. One day you will be faced with peer pressure. In that hour of temptation, remember Vashti who said no to sin and yes to God. That is God’s message to you today. Say no to sin. Though the stars fall from the heavens, do what is right.