And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house…
I. The king of Persia at this time was AHASUERUS. We read in Scripture of four grand earthly empires, of which this was one — and the second in the order of succession. The Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman all passed away as a dream — they crumbled to dust, and their glory is long ago departed! Notwithstanding the strength and celebrity of these ancient kingdoms, they came to nought and "their dominion was taken away." But there is a kingdom which passeth not away. Its King will remain in honour and glory for ever, and its subjects shall be blessed with everlasting happiness.
1. Great as was the extent of these kingdoms, His is inconceivably more extensive.
2. It is also more durable. "His dominion is an everlasting dominion." Let us be anxious to be numbered among the subjects of this kingdom, for they are all "kings and priests" for ever. With Christ on His throne we shall stand before His throne and that of His Father in the celestial city; we shall see His face, and His name shall be in our foreheads; we shall need no candle nor light of the sun, for the Lord God will give us light, and we shall reign for ever and ever!
II. This mighty potentate, Ahasuerus, WISHED TO MAKE A DISPLAY OF HIS GREATNESS. Seldom, alas! is that expression, "Where much is given, much will be required," practically in their remembrance! Oh! let us beware of glorying in anything of our own — of "sacrificing unto our own net, and burning incense to our own drag." Man at his best state is altogether vanity, and possesses nothing of any value but what God has given him. Where providence has bestowed much of earthly wealth and authority, it requires much grace not to be unduly elevated by them, and to keep ever in mind that they are given for usefulness. The weighty responsibilities which they bring with them are seldom considered. Let us beware of pride. "The proud in heart is abomination to the Lord." Crush the first risings of vanity and self-importance. Dread every high thought of yourselves, every towering imagination, every exalted ides of your own moral excellency, remembering that God knoweth the proud afar off, but giveth grace to the humble.
III. At this feast, though a heathen one, THERE WAS ONE THING WHICH CONDEMNED THE PRACTICE OF MANY WHO CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIANS. "and the drinking was according to law; none did compel, for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure." Intemperance is an abomination to God and a degradation to man. Hereby the creature, which is inferior only to the angels, makes himself lower than the beasts of the field! The bounties of providence are continued evidences of God's tender care toward us, His undeserving creatures, and are to be thankfully and humbly received and used piously and in moderation. They are given for the support of our nature, to enable us to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits: let us not, then, render ourselves incapable of doing so by drowning our rational powers in intoxicating liquors, and throwing our bodies out of health and comfort by a worse than beastly abuse of God's mercies.
IV. But though the feast of Ahasuerus was free from the disgrace of compelling the guests to proceed to drunkenness, YET DID VERY EVIL CONSEQUENCES RESULT FROM IT; indeed, it is but seldom that such meetings are free from such consequences. We read of Belshaznar's feast, and that it was not without its grievous impieties. We read likewise of Herod's feast, and of the deed of darkness which gave it its notoriety. Our Lord, too (Luke 14.), teaches us that, though the entertaining of our friends in this way is not entirely prohibited, the money thereby expended would be much better laid out, against the day of reckoning, in consoling the miserable and relieving the distresses of the indigent and needy.
V. Let us consider THE EVIL WHICH WAS OCCASIONED BY THE FEAST.
1. It behoveth us to lead exemplary lives, and the higher we are placed in community the more ought this to be the object of our ambition.
2. It behoveth us to regard the duties which appertain to the relations of life in which we are placed.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the drinking was according to the law; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that they should do according to every man's pleasure.