“…for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.” Esther 2:20
Esther became the queen of Persia. Hers is a well-known story. She’s a heroine of the Jewish people even today, because she saved the lives of thousands of Jews in her day. Every year the Jews read the book of Esther.
But there’s a seldom-mentioned virtue that Esther possessed that we can use as an example for our lives. It wasn’t her bravery; it wasn’t her beauty or the way she conducted herself among the other palace damsels that won their love and confidence. At least for me, her most noble virtue was her submission. The Bible says, she “did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.” This suggests that she was accustomed to obeying her cousin, Mordecai. So when he sent for her to do something that would ultimately help her people, although perhaps she didn’t understand why, since she was accustomed to obeying him, she did it.
She could have thought, “Who does my cousin think he is, anyway? I’m not a little girl any more like I was when he raised me. I’m the queen of Persia. The king is the only one who can tell me what to do, and if I have my way, one of these days he’ll obey me.” How different this story would be if she would have had that attitude.
The word “submission” comes from the verb “to submit.” The Bible uses that word in Ephesians 5:22: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands,…”
Let me give you my own definition: “To give your will to someone else; to give the reins to someone else; to surrender.”
God has a perfect order in His plan for the home:
When a family lives according to this order, everything is fine. This is the way they live:
1. Husband submits to Christ
2. Wife submits to husband
3. Children submit to parents
It’s when one member of the family changes that order that there are problems; divorce, rebellious children…
If the husband doesn’t submit himself to Christ, there is disorder in the home. Or the husband may follow the Lord completely, but if his wife rebels against the husband, not only is she rebelling against her husband, but she also lives in rebellion toward God. It may be that the parents are submitted to the Lord, and the wife is in subjection to her husband, but if the children are not in subjection to the parents, they are living in rebellion toward God as well as toward their parents.
Needless to say, there is total chaos in a home where all members of the family live in rebellion against their authority.
I believe with all my heart that even though the husband and father is not in submission to God, and even though the children are living in rebellion, if only one member of the family…the wife…will submit herself to her authority…her husband…there is hope for that home…for that marriage.
Jesus Himself gave up His own will to God: “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Ephesians 5:2
Up until here, we’re all in agreement, because I’ve showed you this plan from the Bible.
But the Bible also says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Eph. 5:21
I don’t have a husband. The Bible doesn’t give instructions to widows or single ladies concerning submission. But it’s my opinion that every female should have a male authority in her life. By nature we women are followers. Woman is follower…Man is leader, whether it be in the home, in the church, or in the nation. God has put man in positions of leadership.
Now, I agree that there are women to whom God has given the talent of organizing, planning, and leading. But my personal conviction is that she should develop that gift starting in her home with her children, because according to God’s order, she is their authority.
Also in the church, a lot of times we see ladies with organizational talents, and who are great to motivate others to use their talents. But this gift of leading should be with ladies, single ladies, and with children, not with men, or even young teenage men.
I would like to say something on behalf of pastors’ wives: many times we see her as “co-pastor.” In other words, we expect her to do things that we would never expect of another lady in the church. “She should teach, organize, direct, and plan. She should be the director of Vacation Bible School, and organize picnics for the Christian School. She should counsel young ladies, and sing in the choir, etc., etc., etc.” Hey, where does it say that in the Bible? The only plan for your pastor’s wife is the same plan that God puts in His Word for you…to be wife and mother, and everything involved in being wife and mother. The only time the pastor’s wife should be involved in the activities of the church is when her husband asks her to.
But back to our lesson: every woman should have an authority, a man in her life who…excuse the profanity…commands her.
So, should a 67 year-old widow be under the authority of a man? Yes.
Should a 67 year-old widow follow the command of a man? Yes.
“Oh, sure, that’s easy for you to say, because you don’t have a husband. You can come and go as you like. You can shop and eat out when you feel like it. You can get up as late as you like.” If you only knew…
…Sometimes my daughters ask me, “Mom, would you ever re-marry?” And my answer is: “Of course not. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do!”
I say that with a smile, because the truth is, I have more “bosses” now that I’m a widow, than I did when my husband was here. I’ll live and die, and never understand a woman who complains about having to submit to her husband. How foolish! How simple your life is, so uncomplicated! Thank the Lord every day for a husband with sufficient character of leadership who will tell you what you should do.
When my husband was alive, my only obligation was to obey him, to please him, and to serve him. Looking back at the order of the home, when I was submissive to him, I was in subjection to the Lord, and everything went smoothly. My children were happier, my husband was happier, and I was happier. Even our ministry progressed when I gave the reins to my husband.
When my husband went to Heaven, that Sunday afternoon, my authority also left. But surprisingly, instead of feeling relieved, instead of a “now I’m the mistress of my time, of my talents, of my money,” quite the contrary…I felt like a little lost lamb. But I thank the Lord that my four sons and my four sons in law took his place. I’m thankful for the direction of my three brothers. My pastor was an enormous blessing. That’s why I’m writing this lesson, that’s why I’ve written a book. Immediately after my authority left, God put men in my path with enough wisdom to guide my steps, to advise me…men who have taken me out of unsure paths, and helped me make decisions, they’ve put my feet on solid ground, and I can be no less than grateful to God for them.
Sometimes I travel with one of my children, and when I do, I have to submit my will to that of the head of the family, whether it is my son or my son in law. I hear you: “I would never obey my son in law.” Well, then don’t expect your daughter to obey him.
“Oh, sure, your sons are pastors, but I would never submit to my son.” Then don’t expect your daughter in law to submit to him. And by the way, don’t expect your grandchildren to submit to their parents, either.
To me, there is nothing more repulsive than an older woman, who thinks she knows everything, and tells everyone what to do. She bosses everyone to do everything she wants them to do, and sends them anywhere she wants them to go. Don’t take advantage of your age. That’s why there are old people in nursing homes. Their children put them there because they’ve bossed them around all their lives. No one they can boss around there.
The devil is very sly in showing us all the negative aspects of submission. But at least for me, there are many positive things to being submissive:
1. Submission provides security and protection. When a woman places herself under the authority of another, she has fewer decisions to make. When she knows there’s a man who is guiding her steps she feels more secure.
2. There’s nothing more feminine than a submissive woman. It shows her vulnerability. But at the same time, it shows her character, not her weakness. Many women fear turning over the reins to a man because it shows a lack of strength. Quite the contrary, it takes more character to submit than to rebel.
3. When a woman submits herself to her authority, she allows God to bless her, her husband, her children, and her ministry. She opens the way for the blessings of God to shower on her marriage and on her home.
4. The opposite of submission is rebellion. Rebellion hinders God from answering prayers. Maybe if God isn’t answering your prayers, it’s because you’re not submitting to your authority. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,” I Samuel 15:23 I would never want anyone to call me a witch, but I classify myself when I’m rebellious.
5. Submission brings peace and joy, and good health. Many women suffer physical problems, as well as emotional problems because they live in rebellion.
6. Just as in Esther’s life, submission is for your good, and for the good of others.
Give the reins to your husband, if you’re married. If you’re a widow, or single, submit your will to those who represent your authority.
Whatever your role in life, submit yourself to Christ, Who “hath given himself for us.”