Scripture reading for May 14th: Esther 1-2
The story of Esther concerns a plot by Haman, an official of Xerxes King of Persia, to do away with the Jews. Hatred of God’s people has been going on for years. The warfare is a spiritual conflict backed by Satan to kill, steal, and destroy people. God works behind the scenes to bring about His purposes and protect His people! God used a beauty contest to place Esther where she could help!
King Xerxes was a very vain man who loved to party and celebrate. Along with the partying came drinking and boasting. He loved to show off the wealth of his kingdom! (Esther 1:4) He threw an elaborate party that lasted seven days. During the seventh day, after drinking much wine, he commanded his eunuchs to bring Queen Vashti, his wife to display her before the nobles. The queen refused! (Esther 1:12) This infuriated the King and he banished her from his presence and began a search for another queen who would submit to his demands.
King Xerxes wanted a woman of beauty who could please him and so he conducted a beauty contest of a sort. Women were brought into his harem and had to undergo 12 months of beauty treatments and preparation before being brought before the King. Many women were gathered and placed under the care of the eunuchs who ran the harem. (Esther 2:2-4) Among these women was a Jewish girl named Esther. She had been raised by her uncle Mordecai and was very beautiful. Mordecai told Esther not to reveal her identity because the Jews were exiles in the land and he was concerned for her safety.
Of all the beautiful women being prepared, Esther had favor with Hegai, the harem manager. When the time came, Esther had favor with the King as well. God knows how to promote His people to place them where they are needed!
This interesting story highlights beauty that brought Esther to prominence. Women who love God and serve Him are given a beauty that comes from His presence and Spirit. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was so beautiful that she was desired by kings for her beauty even in old age! (Genesis 12:11-14) Peter tells women to let their beauty come from the gentle and quiet spirit of their inner self and he uses Sarah as an example. (1st Peter 3:3-6) God’s beauty program is best!