Synopsis Esther 1:4-17 11/10/2020
King Ahasuerus ruled over a vast empire. In fact, at that time, Persia extended from India to northern Africa into modern Turkey. Consolidating such a vast territory under a single rule was a marvel of administration. So, the king ruled from the centralized city Susa, located in Mesopotamia.
Early in his reign, he decided to throw a large feast for his governors and other leaders. Now, the feast lasted six months. And everything about the feast was lavish. Of course, his intent was to show his leadership his extraordinary wealth, power and wisdom.
In keeping with her role, Ahasuerus’ queen did likewise. She threw extravagant dinners for the governor’s wives who travelled with their husbands for the event.
Happily, everything was going well. But then, in the midst of the feast, King Ahasuerus asked Queen Vashti to come to his court. He wanted to show all the members of his court how beautiful and glamorous his queen was. But Vashti refused to come.
Now the king was troubled. And so was his court. So, Ahasuerus sought counsel from his courtiers on how to respond to Vashti’s slight.
King Ahasuerus objectified his wife. In this case, he intended to use her as a means of impressing his courtiers. But, for some unstated reason, she refused to be used in this way.
Objectifying the Other
I objectify other people. Might as well just say it. And yes, this is sin. More specifically, it is a deformation of my character. In the process of my becoming conformed to the full stature of Christ, this part of me stubbornly refuses to be changed.
In our time and culture, we talk often about the downside of objectifying other people. However, for obvious reasons, the conversation typically focuses on how men objectify women. But, this is really a manifestation of the problem rather than its cause. To objectify simply means to see the other person merely in terms of how I can use them to get what I want – regardless of the manner in which I intend to use them.
So, this is a problem for men and women. And the using can range from slavery and predation to more mundane examples, like taking for granted the food I eat, and the person who prepared it.
The cause is my own self-focus. In itself, this is nothing more than a dimension of original sin. Of course, the way out is salvation and personal formation in Christ. Transformation in Christ.
So, be transformed.
“until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,* to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming” Eph 4:13