Daily Devotional

Selfish Demands

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Scripture: (Est 1:10-12 NKJV)  On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carcas, seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, {11} to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. {12} But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king's command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.

Observation: King Ahasuerus demanded of his wife, Queen Vashti, to come and present herself before those gathered at his party.  A Bible commentary states that, “The refusal of Vashti to obey an order which required her to make an indecent exposure of herself before a company of drunken revellers, was becoming both the modesty of her sex and her rank as queen; for, according to Persian customs, the queen, even more than the wives of other men, was secluded from the public gaze. Had not the king’s blood been heated with wine, or his reason overpowered by force of offended pride, he would have perceived that his own honor, as well as hers, was consulted by her dignified conduct.”
In her devotional, Conflict and Courage, Ellen White adds, “When this command came from the king, Vashti did not carry out his orders, because she knew that wine had been freely used, and that Ahasuerus was under the influence of the intoxicating liquor. For her husband’s sake as well as her own, she decided not to leave her position at the head of the women of the court.
“It was when the king was not himself, when his reason was dethroned by wine-drinking that he sent for the queen, that those present at his feast, men besotted by wine, might gaze on her beauty. She acted in harmony with a pure conscience.
“Vashti refused to obey the king’s command, thinking that when he came to himself, he would commend her course of action. But the king had unwise advisers. They argued it would be a power given to woman that would be to her injury.” {p.243}

Application: Willard Harley, in his book, Love Busters, speaks uses that term to refer to those things that one spouse does to hurt the other and which therefore damages the romantic and caring love that should exist between them.  Among those Love Busters, Harley cites Selfish Demands as one of them.  He defines them as “Commanding your spouse to do things that would benefit you at your spouses expense, with implied threat of punishment if refused.”  Then he goes on to say that “People who make demands don’t seem to care how others feel.  If you make demands of your spouse and expect obedience, you are being controlling and manipulative.  Demands are nothing short of abuse.”  Instead of selfish demands, Harley suggests Thoughtful Requests  – respectfully explaining to your spouse what you would like and allow your spouse the option of granting or denying your request.
Vashti’s response to the selfish demand of her husband, even if he was the king, shows that she was not pleased anymore than any spouse today would be at the selfish demands of their spouse.  A thoughtful request would have a more positive reception, although it doesn’t mean the spouse has to agree, accept, or do what their spouse is asking of them.  In other words, a thoughtful request may not get you what you want, but a selfish demand certainly will not promote any warm, caring feelings toward you.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, selfishness and rebellion began the biggest battle ever in the universe; may they never be present in our marriage or family.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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