Wednesday, June 8, 2011

SOAP Devotion: Esther 1

When God said read the first chapter of Esther, I thought I knew where He was going. I know the story of Queen Esther and how she saved her people by entreating the king. But that’s not the queen God was speaking to me about today at all. There’s another queen in that story…Queen Vashti. And she wasn’t nearly as noble as Esther…

Today’s Reading is Esther 1

Scripture: because this act of the queen's will become known to all the women, who will then start showing disrespect toward their own husbands…Esther 1:17a

Observation: What women do we, knowingly or unknowingly, idolize on TV? How do they influence our behavior as wives and the queens of our homes? Are we aware of how our own behavior influences our daughters, friends or neighbors?

ApplicationQueen Vashti dis’ed her husband, the king, when he commanded her to come and she refused. This, of course, really made the king mad and he consulted with his sages on how to deal with this impertinent queen. The sages wisely reasoned that the queen’s public display of disrespect and willful disobedience to the authority of the king would influence the women of the kingdom to also disrespect their husbands.

As I read this chapter today, that verse just really grabbed my attention. It reminded me of a show I used to watch fairly regularly just a few years ago – King of Queens. I always thought it was pretty funny, what with that spunky Carrie Heffernan and her goofy husband Doug and all. I don’t know why, but I quit watching it regularly. But the next time I watched an episode, I was really shocked by how disrespectful and nasty the character of Carrie was…and that I didn’t notice it before when I watched it all the time.

How often do we idolize the women we see on TV, who are nearly always portrayed as smart, sexy, funny, ambitious and successful (while their male counterparts are typecast as bumbling idiots)? There is nothing wrong, of course, with being smart, sexy, funny, ambitious and successful…but these women also are never, or rarely if ever, shown to be respectful to their husbands…and certainly never submissive. Are we influenced by these women? How does their influence on the young and impressionable minds of our daughters shape the women they will become?

My husband told me he never liked that show, though we used to watch it often. He also told me he didn’t like Everyone Loves Raymond, another show I used to like watching…until my eyes were opened to the subtle way the entertainment industry is helping to destroy the sacred institutions of marriage and family. Our daughters are growing up believing that men are stupid, incapable morons. Our sons are growing up believing they are stupid, incapable morons who can’t do anything right, so why bother trying to be a father, to lead a family? Besides, it’s the women who wear the pants in the family, because they are the ones who are smart and capable. It is so easy to become immersed and immune to the influence of what comes out of that stupid box…it took not watching it for me to see what I was unable to see before.

As queens of our homes, we wield powerful influence in the lives of our children. Our behavior is often noticed more than our words. Biblical submission to authority and to our husbands is not being a doormat, but rather respecting the authority God has placed over us. It is not never having a say in an issue, but allowing our husbands to make the final decision, because that is the responsibility God has given him as the leader of his home and family. Our daughters learn how to be wives and mothers from us. Our sons learn what a wife and mother should be from us. As followers of Christ, then, we should strive to submit to our husbands and model for our children God’s perfect plan for the family.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping me to understand what submission really means. I can see, as I have learned to be more submissive to my husband, that there is peace and freedom in that submission that is not there when I try to wear my husband’s pants. Help me always to remember how I influence my children’s view of marriage and family by my own behavior and help me be the perfect example of a godly wife and mother. Forgive me for the times that I have been disrespectful or not submissive to my husband’s authority, which you have given him over me. Help me also to remember that how I conduct myself as a wife is seen by my friends and others…let me not sow discord by my behavior or by grumbling and complaining about my husband. Let all of my words about my husband be loving and respectful.

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