The Selfish King who was Accidentally Right

Our family started reading the Book of Esther today. The story begins with the King of Persia ordering his wife to come entertain his drunk buddies and her refusing. The king’s wisest counselors fear that other wives will disobey their husbands’ demands if the queen isn’t dealt with, so she is banished. The chapter ends with the king issuing a royal decree: “Each man shall be head in his own house.” 

Here’s the thing: The king was right… sort of. Every man should be the head of his household. Wives should honor and follow their husbands. The king and his counselors were right. But they wanted to wield this role selfishly, rather than selflessly. 

The man isn’t called to lead so he can have whatever he wants. He’s called to lead so he can serve and protect his household. The man leads by discipling his family, as Moses said (Deut. 6). The man leads by loving and sacrificing, as Paul said (Eph. 5). The man leads by serving, as Jesus said (Matt. 20). 

The king and his counselors wanted the benefits of their position, but they didn’t want the responsibilities. They wanted to be leaders, but they didn’t want to lead. 

It’s noteworthy that in the second chapter of Esther, we are introduced to a man—Mordecai—who spends the entire book serving and protecting others. And by the end of the book, the king’s wise counselors are replaced by this Mordecai, as the book concludes: 

Mordecai the Jew was second to the king… seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen.” 

If you want to be “head of your own house,” follow Mordecai’s example. “Seek the good of your people.” 

Prayers for My Children

We’ve often heard verses like “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart” or “do not provoke your children to wrath.” But when you read the Bible intentionally with the eyes of a parent, you’ll find that God is constantly talking about kids.

Here are a few verses that you may be unfamiliar with about children. I started praying these verses when my wife was pregnant with our first son, and we pray them over our kids every day. Hopefully there are a few new ones you can add to your list.

  1. My children are taught by the Lord, and they have great peace (Isaiah 54:13)
  2. The Holy Spirit will be upon my children and my children’s children (Isaiah 59:21)
  3. God’s Word will always be in the mouths of my children and my children’s children (Isaiah 59:21)
  4. My descendants will be mighty upon the earth (Psalm 112:1-2)
  5. God will pour out His Spirit and His blessing upon my descendants (Isaiah 44:2-5)
  6. My descendants will be known upon the Gentiles as the people whom the Lord has blessed (Isaiah 61:9)
  7. My children will not be trouble. (Isiah 65:23-24)
  8. God will answer my descendants’ prayers before they ask, and will hear their prayers as they pray (Isaiah 65:23-24)
  9. My children will have a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26)
  10. God will not turn away from doing good to and for my children (Jeremiah 32:39-41)
  11. God will put the fear of the Lord in their hearts, and they will not depart from Him (Jeremiah 32:39-41)
  12. Things will go well for me, my children, and my children’s children (Deuteronomy 4:40)
  13. Me and my descendants will dwell in prosperity, and they will inherit the earth (Psalm 25:12-13)
  14. My descendants will inherit the nations, and rebuild communities (Isaiah 54:2-3)
  15. God teaches my children and infants to tell of His strength (Psalm 8:2)
  16. The Lord will bless and keep my children, and will shine His face upon them and be gracious to them (Numbers 6:27)
  17. The Lord will lift up His countenance upon them and give them peace (Numbers 6:27)