“This is what happened during the time of Xerxes, the Xerxes who ruled over 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush: at that time King Xerxes reigned from his royal throne in the citadel of Susa, and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present.For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty.” NIV

I have to admit a weakness for visiting National Trust properties. There is something appealing, to me at   least, about stepping back into the past and enjoying these national treasures. One thing I’ve come to realise though is that so many of them were built, and then furnished and decorated, to overawe any invited guests with a sense of the power and wealth of the owner. It was about boasting, showing off. ‘I’ve got more than you and I’m a lot more important than you are!’

But what King Xerxes did puts the majority of these property and land owners into the shade. Talk about the ostentatious display of wealth! It seems this man liked to show off what he owned (including his wife! See verse 11.)

We’ll get to Vashti eventually, but for now I just want to make this observation. I was taking part in a funeral recently, and these familiar words, spoken by the vicar, hit me with stark force: ‘We brought nothing into the world, and we take nothing out of it.’ How true.

Two ladies were talking about a rich man who had died. One asked, ‘How much did he leave?’ the other replied, ‘Everything!’ Where is Xerxes now? I don’t know, but wherever he is he hasn’t got his debit card with him.

I was thinking how different is the case with our God who displays the ‘’vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty’’ in Jesus. Here are infinite riches which will never rust or fade. They are eternal, and they are ours in Jesus

PRAYER: Lord God, as we are so eternally enriched in Christ, may we not live as paupers.