An Invitation You Can’t Refuse

by | Mar 14, 2012 | Spirit-Led Living

weddings rings and invitationWhat will your response be when the Lord calls you? We can learn a lesson from the story of Vashti and Esther.

What will you do when Jesus,
your King, calls? As believers, each of us has a call on our lives.
Each of us can expect to hear the voice of our Lord inviting us not only
to enter His inner court but also to go and bless others in Jesus’
name.

What will you do?
The lives of Vashti and Esther—two women in Old Testament times who were
a lot like us—illustrate the two choices we can make: We can refuse to
respond when He invites us to come to Him, or we can answer, “I will.”
As we look at their stories, let’s ask ourselves: When the King calls,
will we choose not to respond and justify our decision with excuses, or
will we rise to the occasion, obey His command and be the catalyst for
great blessing toward others?

Summoned Into His Presence
The book of Esther tells us that King Ahasuerus and Queen Vashti were the crème de la crème
of the land, and they were throwing a party—a royal banquet, to be
exact. Everybody who was anybody was there. They were eating, drinking
and making merry. It was a loud and raucous political bash!

The festivities were
taking place in two quarters: The king was upon his throne with his
servants all around while Queen Vashti and her court were being
entertained in another part of the palace. In the middle of the
celebration, however, the king’s machismo apparently got the best of
him, and he decided that his wife would be the next “dish” to be served!
He sent his servants scurrying with the command, “Tell Vashti that I,
her king, require her immediate presence” and then sat down with great
expectancy.

When the servants reached the
chamber where the women were gathered—no doubt giggling and acting like
silly, young girls, chatting about their children and their
husbands—they relayed the king’s message. Imagine their surprise when
Queen Vashti, in front of everyone, said no to the king’s command! The
queen telling the king no? A wife telling her husband no? It was unheard
of!

We could question the king’s
motives and the “political correctness” of his method. But what he
wanted and why didn’t matter. What mattered was that he called Vashti
and she refused to come. He was crushed at her disobedience—then
angered.

How many of us have refused
the Lord when He has summoned us into His presence? He’s called us over
and over and over again, and we’ve told him no just as many times in
just as many ways. Certainly, just as King Ahasuerus called Queen
Vashti, the King of Kings has called you and me.

What does He want? What does it matter? He has called!

How God’s heart must be
crushed when we walk away from Him, when we ignore His call! Queen
Vashti lost her crown and was banished because she refused her king.
Fortunately for us, our King is the God of the second chance. The
Scriptures say that God is “married” to the backslider (see Jer. 3:14,),
and even though we may refuse to appear before Him, His mind is still
set on us. We must not think for one minute that because we’ve told Him
no He has forgotten us! We can still repent. We can still say, “I will,”
and He will draw us to Himself.

Hand-Picked by the King
But Vashti was dismissed, and the king’s servants began to look for a replacement for the queen. They looked everywhere.

They went to the high-rent
district, where the top echelon of the community lived, and hand-picked
some women for the king’s “tryout.” They went into the colleges and
universities and gathered some women there. And they went down to the
homeless shelter and the soup kitchen and selected some women there,
too. They gave even those who were the least likely to succeed an
opportunity to participate.

Where did the servants of the Lord have to look to find you? Do you remember where you were when the Holy Spirit came and tapped you on the shoulder?

Did He walk into a nightclub?
Into an executive meeting? Perhaps into the middle of an illicit
affair? Maybe the servants found you in the midst of some deadly habit,
or lying sick in bed, or injured by the side of the road. Maybe you were
even sitting in church. Where were you when the servants found you and
said, “The King has need of you”?

The Scriptures are full of
people like you and I. Abraham, the Arabic sheikh, became the father of
many nations when he answered the call of God. Joseph, the boy who was
sold into slavery by his own brothers, became the prime minister of a
great state when he responded. David, the shepherd boy, became the king
of Israel when he answered the call.

Esther was an unknown orphan
when she chose to answer a call she did not yet fully understand. She
became queen to King Ahasuerus, just as if she were the heroine in a
fairy tale.

No doubt Esther did not come
into the king’s presence offering a list of excuses. She didn’t go in
there the way I did when my preacher-husband, T.D. Jakes, and I first
began to get serious. I told him, “I don’t play, I don’t sing, and I
can’t preach!”

He responded, “Well, what can you do?” Don’t make the mistake of responding to the call of God by telling Him who you’re not and what you can’t do. He knows you. He knows—and He calls you anyway.

In the days of Esther and
Vashti, it was customary to direct all the young virgins who were
paraded before the king to one of three places. The women that the king
inspected but chose not to become involved with were summarily dismissed
and sent to the first chamber, which I liken to the “outer court.” Just
about anyone might dwell there. These women had a shallow, one-time
experience with the king that led them nowhere.

The second chamber was
reserved for those women the king thought had “potential.” He entered
into a pseudo-relationship with them, short of making a covenant. This
area I liken to the “middle court.”

I’m reminded of those of us
who “brush up” against the glory of God, getting just close enough to
know that it’s real, but who stop there. The Bible calls those women of
the second chamber “concubines”; today we would call them “live-ins.”

The third chamber was
designated for the queen. It was the place reserved for intimacy, for
the one who entered into a covenant relationship. Once you’ve been
there, you can never be satisfied in any other place!

That’s where they put
Esther—in the queen’s chamber. They didn’t even bother to move her first
to one of the superficial outer courts, but placed her right in the
“Holy of Holies”—in the presence of the king himself.

As the women were paraded
before King Ahasuerus—the haves and the have-nots, the beautiful and the
not-so-beautiful, the talented and the talentless—the king’s eyes
rested on Esther, and the Bible says he favored her above every other
woman in the room. Do you ever wonder why, out of all the people in the
world, God chose you?

Out of all of the people He
could have selected—some more beautiful, more talented, more articulate,
more intelligent, richer, thinner, taller—He chose you. In His infinite wisdom He sees not what we are, but what we will become. And just as the king favored Esther, God favors you and me!

Plucked From the Fire
When the king called Esther, she responded, “I will.” Later when she
asked to see him, he extended his royal scepter to her and declared,
“Whatever you request is yours, Queen Esther.” Rising to the occasion,
she asked that her people, the nation of Israel living in captivity, be
saved from annihilation. Her wish was granted, and she became known
throughout history as a great deliverer.

Today, God is calling you
“queen.” You may not feel like a queen; you may not look like a queen;
you may not deserve to be a queen. But the scepter is still extended to
you. God is saying, “If you but answer My call, you can ask whatever you
want, and it shall be done for you.”

Sure, we could make excuses.
We could pull out our negative resume. But why not respond “I will”
instead? The third chapter of Zechariah tells how Joshua the high priest
stood before the angel of the Lord, with Satan standing at his side to
accuse him. That’s how it is for each of us—Satan stands ready to accuse
us, to tell us what we’re not, to remind us of what we’ve done wrong.
But when Satan pointed out to the angel that Joshua was wearing filthy
garments—just as he loves to point out our sin—the angel replied, “The
Lord rebuke you, Satan! Isn’t this man a burning stick that I plucked
out of the fire?” (see Zech. 3:1-2.)

You’ve been plucked
out, too! Don’t concern yourself over Satan’s accusations. God is able
to take away your filthy garments. Joshua the high priest, Esther the
orphan—all of us who the enemy said would never amount to anything have
been plucked out of the fire. Satan is a liar. God has called us.

You’ve been summoned to the
King’s chamber, to the inner court. Will you go? Can He count on you?
Will you be there for Him like He’s been there for you? Respond to His
invitation today. Say, “I will.”

Serita Jakes is
the first lady of The Potter’s House church in Dallas, which is
pastored by her husband, Bishop T.D. Jakes. She ministers frequently to
her local congregation and to women’s organizations across the country.

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