Should a wife submit to her husband even if obedience means violating her conscience? (Esther 1:12) 10 On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command delivered by the eunuchs. At this the king became enraged, and his anger burned within him.
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I would say that a wife would have a higher duty of obedience to God than even to her husband. I would only qualify that by saying, although God gave each human a conscience, it might not be an infallible guide as to what is right in God's sight and what is not, depending on a person's individual values or life experiences (which might be incorrect or influenced by sin (1 Timothy 4:2)). It would be better to use the Bible as a point of reference in determining if there is a conflict between submission to a husband and obedience to God.
In June of this year my wife Faye and I plan to celebrate our 45th anniversary of marriage. For the record, I'm not complaining I'm bragging... ON HER! She's quite a lady. I wish I could love her the way I'm told I am to, "the way Christ loved the church and gave himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25), but I haven't figured out how to pull that off. Christ made no mistakes concerning the church. If I were to compare the love I have for my wife Faye, to Jesus' love for the church using a baseball metaphor, I'd call myself a 200 hitter. A batting average like that won't get me a spot on a little league team. The reason for that is that Jesus bats a thousand. He wants to teach us to hit like He does. Faye would love for that to happen. It's not that I'm not trying to learn, I am. The hard part is the first step: STAYING in submission to Jesus' teaching on relationships. Getting in submission is hard enough, especially when you grow up male and has a head made of soft brick (so my mother said). But staying submitted to teachings like "love your enemies" will make you want to give up trying. "Love your wife the way Christ loved the church" is as hard as "love your enemies" is, if you're serious about actually doing it. If someone is out there who has figured out how to actually love people who continue to hurt you in some way I'd like to know how you do it. I want to be able to do it so I can see how it feels, but I haven't attained it yet (Phil 3:12). It doesn't mean I'm not trying, I continue to press on. I don't have any righteousness of my own that comes from doing what's right, but righteousness that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith (Phil 3:9). That'll have to do for now. Loving a wife is not hard if you can be the judge of what that love consists of. But, when that love is to mirror the love Jesus has for the church it's not so simple. "What about my feelings" never occurs to Jesus. If it did I'm afraid that on His return the church would be the first to be thrown into the lake of fire. But instead He says 'I will never leave you nor forsake you' (Heb 13:5). It's promises like that one that makes loving my enemies and loving my wife the way Christ loves the church, a more attractive enterprise. It sounds "other worldly." The question here, however, is was Queen Vashti wrong to refuse to submit to her drunk husband's request that she come and "display her beauty to the people and the princes," the dignitaries that her husband King Ahasuerus, on the seventh day of a 180 day banquet, was entertaining. The part of the story that makes me scratch my head is where the king asks the princes "what is to be done with Queen Vashti" because she didn't obey the king's command. That's not a husband's question, that's the question of a drunk king. Besides that, husbands are not to "command" their wives to do anything. The bible makes it clear that on the seventh day when the king was good and tipsy, he "commanded" seven of his eunuchs to "Bring Queen Vashti before the king..." He didn't tell them to "Ask my wife to come and show everybody how beautiful a wife I have." If he had she might have felt differently about the whole thing. It's really clear that Queen Vashti didn't come because of the king's manner, not because of her desire to embarrass the king before his princes. She acted the way any normal woman would. She wasn't being a feminist. Who was right and who was wrong in God's eyes? Were they both wrong? Were they both right? Does Romans 13 apply here the way it does to some of us whenever authority is refused its "special" position, regardless of how offensive its position is? God wants us to know that authority is to be respected because He is the One who designates it. He wants us to acknowledge HIS authority to decide who is to have authority. Once we acknowledge Him, we serve Him by challenging wickedness and evil practices. Jesus opposed the Jewish leadership.
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