“For the queen’s behavior will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, when they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.’ 22 Then he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, to each province in its own script, and to every people in their own language, that each man should be master in his own house, and speak in the language of his own people.”
Esther 1:17, 22
Our opening text shows us how queen Vashti disobeyed her husband, the king by refusing to appear before him at his request. Her demeanour brought about her removal as the queen because if she had not been removed, verse 17 tells us that her behaviour was capable of misleading other women to despise their husbands in their eyes.
The word “husband” is not a title. As a matter of fact, you can’t go to school and qualify to be a husband. The Hebrew word for husband is written as “ba’al”, which means master. And that is why verse 22 of Esther 1 says: “Then he sent letters to all the king’s provinces, to each province in its own script, and to every people in their own language, that each man should be master in his own house, and speak in the language of his own people.”
The word “Master” has a number of meanings in the dictionary, however, the one that rightly suits our discourse today is “One who has authority over another.” That is why we are examining the Spiritual authority of the husband in the home.
To further buttress the point of the husband being a master, Ephesians 5:22 tells us something profound. It says: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, (You can replace this word husband there to be master, and you wouldn’t be making any mistake) as to the Lord.” Submission here does not connote being a slave. Your spiritual responsibility to your husband as the wife is to help him, and there is no way you can do that or be of help if you aren’t submissive. Verse 23 of Ephesians 5 tells us: “For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Saviour of the church, his body. (GNB)”
What then is this authority of the husband over the wife all about? Because, if in creation, they are equal, according to Genesis 1:27, why can’t they be equal in marriage as well? What is all this fuss about equality and submission in marriage that has been the bane and downfall of many homes and marriages today?
Now, much more than just being referred to as the husband of a woman, the man is first and foremost, a spiritual leader in his home and God has given him the authority to function as one. An understanding of this is germane to you succeeding as a husband and as a father to your children. Authority in this context, is “power to influence and command.” But man’s spiritual authority first became weakened when he went against the source of his authority. There is a saying that when a river forgets its source, then it is ready to completely dry up. In Genesis 3:6, Adam went against the commandment of God when he ate of the forbidden tree through his wife.
But despite the fact that Adam disobeyed God, God still didn’t undermined the man’s authority in the home. In Genesis 3:16, look at what God said concerning the woman: “And he said to the woman, “I will increase your trouble in pregnancy and your pain in giving birth. In spite of this, you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him (GNB).” I thought God would have said the woman should just be free and go ahead to do whatever she likes, but God didn’t do that. Her greater chastisement is even now displayed in the fact that her desires will still be towards her husband and be subject to him. Now, why did God made this so?
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The reason is because there is a bigger picture ahead. God knew that there would be a perfect marriage between Christ and the church, bringing everyone back again to Him. 2 Corinthians 11:2 gives us a clue to this. It says: “I am jealous for you, just as God is; you are like a pure virgin whom I have promised in marriage to one man only, Christ himself (GNB).” So, God couldn’t have given the woman the liberty to continue to misbehave despite the error she had committed. Don’t forget that the error that got them into that trouble emanated from her. 1 Timothy 2:14 tells us “And it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and broke God’s law” (GNB).
And so, In spite of all that had happened, God said to her “In spite of this, you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him.”
1. Priestly Authority
One of the many authorities God has given to the husband is a priestly authority. Who is a Priest? A Priest is one who represents God to His people. The priest is not God, he only represents Him. The priest acts as an ambassador, a chosen vehicle through whom God has chosen to serve the people and represent Him, on His behalf.
Now, what does a priest do?
A priest raises an altar to the Lord. Altars are platforms used as a centre of worship. Let us see an example in Abraham in the book of Genesis chapter 12:1-9
Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.
7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.
As the husband, it is expected of you to raise a family altar unto God where you function as the priest. You are expected to minister unto the Lord on behalf of your family and also shows them how to do so. This is very key and vital.
A priest also dispenses knowledge. As the husband, you are expected to be the source of knowledge in the home. Your wife and children should be able to look up to you when it comes to this aspect. Malachi 2:7 says concerning this:
“For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge,
And people should seek the law from his mouth;
For he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
God said concerning Abraham in Genesis 18:19: “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” This aspect of your authority as the husband is very important if you are ever going to be a successful one at that matter. You must teach the knowledge and the fear of God to your household, this is why God has made you the head of that household in the first place. To represent Him.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
2. Leadership Authority
Leadership is not the same thing as authority. But God has given man the leadership authority over his home. The husband is not a “dictator” or a “boss” but a leader. Leadership is about influence (positive influence), it is about direction, it is about vision and et cetera. The society today is in danger because certain men have failed in their leadership role as the father. Many men are not leading, many have even absconded from the home, leaving their wife and children to suffer in their absence.
There is a reason why God made the husband the leader of the family. Number one, you are meant to lead in bringing up the children in the way and admonition of the Lord. Many men have adjudicated this role to their wives, but this is not supposed to be so. See what Ephesians 6:4 tells us “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Notice the instruction was to fathers and not mothers. This does not mean mothers too does not have this responsibility, but the father is meant to take the lead when it comes to this instruction.
Proverbs 4:1-4 also tells us in this regard; it says: “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother; He also taught me and said to me: let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live.” When a father don’t play his role in this regard, the children are bound to toe a different path which could lead to their destruction. This does not mean the mothers too can’t act in this capacity; but the Bible made it clear that it is the father’s responsibility.
3. Prophetic Authority
As the husband, you are the prophet of your family and so, it is expected of you to declare prophetic words over your family. A prophet is one who hears from God and speaks it to others. This can be seen in the life of Adam, the first husband. In Genesis 2:19, the Bible says “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.” As the husband, God has given you the mandate to speak over your family whatever you want to see, and you would have them.
This is why it is important that you know the mind of God per time concerning your family so that you can know and have the right words to speak or say per time. You must know the vision of God concerning your children. This is very important.
[Centre for New Dimension Leadership]