A few days ago an associate came to me with what seemed to be a rather simple and straightforward question. She asked me why Queen Vashti (The Book of Esther) did not obey the king’s command to enter into his presence while he was entertaining guests. The answer to this question was quite simple: The king’s request was quite an unusual request for a Persian or any oriental king to make of his queen. The queen understood that to be exposed before a company of drunken men was not becoming of her position and status as queen; furthermore she was summoned by household servants instead of the noblemen the king should have sent. According to Persian customs, the queen, more than the wives of other men, was to be secluded from public gaze. So, basically, the queen was being disrespected in the worse way. If the king had been in his sober mind he would have seen the potential dishonor this would have brought on his queen, himself, and his kingdom.

 

How often do we as men dishonor our women with the slightest consideration; however, this is not what I am here to discuss today. In answering my associates question, I was opened to a powerful revelation within this passage that is in direct correlation to what we have been studying concerning Love & Respect in the marriage; man’s greatest fear.

In the book of Esther chapter 1 we have a powerful truth that sort of moves under the radar of all that is going on, but it is powerful in helping us understand the motives and actions of the husband within the marriage.

Once Queen Vashti disobeys the command of the king, the concern or fear is immediately revealed.

12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.

13 Since it was customary for the king to consult experts in matters of law and justice, he spoke with the wise men who understood the times… 15 “According to law, what must be done to Queen Vashti?” he asked. “She has not obeyed the command of King Xerxes that the eunuchs have taken to her.”

16 Then Memukan replied in the presence of the king and the nobles, “Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. 17 For the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, ‘King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.’ 18 This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord. (Esther 1:12-13; 16-18, NIV)

It does not take long to get at the heart of the matter here. According to Persian custom King Xerxes immediately consults his advisors. Memucan responded to the king in a manner that most would say was over the top; but it further exposes the magnitude of this fear. Memucan says that Queen Vashti has not only disrespected or wronged the king, but every nobleman in the entire province. The key to understanding this passage is to find out what they felt her act would ultimately cause. To them it was not a simple single act of rebellion. They felt it would ignite a female revolt in which all Persian wives would hear of this act and despise their husbands in their eyes and disrespect their husbands in the same way. A man’s greatest fear in his marriage is being disrespected.

Understanding this truth does not excuse the man’s irrational fear, but it reveals that a man fears being disrespecting in the same way and with the same gravity as the woman fears being unloved. The greatest yearning and need of husbands is that their wives give them respect. Now the ultimate truth in the story of King Xerxes and Queen Vashti is that God’s Divine Providence is in view here and all of this had to happen in order to place Esther is a place to fulfill her destiny. Yet, it still reveals the husband’s yearning for respect.

Wives, most husbands or men in general will not want me to reveal this, but its intrinsic value in understanding your husband is invaluable. We men are not nearly as big, strong and impervious to the pulls of life as you might believe. In fact, we are extremely vulnerable when it comes to our wives.

“A woman may envision herself as a sweet little dewdrop and her man as a big, strong bear who should be able to absorb any kind of punishment. One huge fellow was stunned by his beloved’s attack and said to her, ‘You hate me.’ Frustrated, she replied, ‘When I scream ‘I hate you’ you should know I don’t mean it. You are 6’9” and weigh 260 pounds, for goodness sake. I do that because you can take it.” (Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs, Love & Respect0

The truth is most men cannot take it. They may respond in a tough or unresponsive manner, but it has an extremely powerful impact on them. No matter how big and strong your husband may seem physically, he is still very vulnerable to what he perceives as contempt or disrespect. Why is this important to you as the wife; it important because your husband’s response to this contempt will be the exact opposite result of what you are hoping for. He will shut down and become unresponsive. So, in your venting what have you accomplished is resolving the issue? Absolutely nothing; except creating another one.

No, I am not excusing the husband’s behavior, in responding to his wife’s contemptuous behavior, he has failed to honor his command to love. What I am doing is pointing to the fact that negative behavior begets a negative response. If you notice in all of the analogies that I have presented I have never wasted the time to determine who was right in the ordeal. Why? It’s irrelevant in the sense that it does not have any bearing on the command of Ephesians 5:33. The husband is called to love irregardless to what the wife is doing and the wife is called to respect irregardless to what the husband is doing.

We will delve into this further as we move forward. I promise you when you begin to grasp the truth revealed in this and begin to apply the principle of unconditional love and respect (respectively) in your marriage, you will see the difference.

Bishop Rick Wallace

Rick Wallace Ministries

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