What little girl doesn’t dream of being a princess; a queen, one day? We all have within us the desire to be favored, to be chosen, and to be significant! I don’t know what Esther dreamed as a little girl, but God’s dreams set her on an incredible journey that included all of these! Esther’s journey had many twists and turns that took her out of her comfort zone, challenged her faith, and even threatened her life, but it taught her that she was favored, chosen, and significant; that her life had meaning and great purpose!
Esther was born into a Jewish family that had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon. When she was young her parents died and her older cousin, Mordecai, adopted her and raised her as his own daughter.
“This man (Mordecai) had a very beautiful and lovely young cousin, Hadassah, who was also called Esther. When her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her into his family and raised her as his own daughter.” Esther 2:7
Esther “happened” to be of the right age when the king of Babylon was in search of a new queen. She was one of the many young virgins who were brought into the palace to receive beauty treatments in preparation to be chosen by the king.
When Esther was taken into the king’s palace the eunuch, Hegai, who was placed in charge of her, was greatly impressed with Esther. He was kind to her and gave her extra special treatment. When it came time for Esther to go to the king, Esther accepted only Hegai’s advice. He instructed her in ways that would be pleasing to the king.
“When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.” Esther 2:15
“And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen” Esther 2:17
Esther was a beautiful, lovely young woman, who was admired by everyone.
Esther was a delightful young woman who won the heart of the king, and he chose her as Queen of Babylon.
Esther was a woman of God who had His favor upon her and was specifically placed to fulfill His purposes for her life and for the salvation of many.
The favor of God brings the favor of man.
Besides her outward beauty…
Esther had an inner beauty that radiated from her.
Tucked within these verses I see some clues of Esther’s inner beauty…
“Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so.” Esther 2:10
“Esther continued to keep her family background and nationality a secret. She was still following Mordecai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home.” Esther 2:20
“she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested,”
Respect, trust, and obedience radiant inner beauty!
Though she went through the trauma of losing her parents, though she was taken from the comfort of her home and family, and though she was highly favored and given special treatment, she remained humble and submissive to those God placed over her.
She followed their directions, and she accepted their advice.
So often life situations can bring about fears, independence, or pride that keep us from respecting those God places over us. We can allow our past situations to give us permission fear, and not trust. We can allow our “outward appearance” to make us proud; keeping us independent of the advice of others.
Fear and pride don’t bring the favor of man or of God.
Respect, trust, and obedience are game changers!
What happened next in the story of Esther gives us an example of why it was important that she respected her cousin, Mordecai, and followed his instruction. This seemingly small incident holds great significance and becomes a game changer as the story unfolds.
“One day as Mordecai was on duty at the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthana and Teresh—who were guards at the door of the king’s private quarters—became angry at King Xerxes and plotted to assassinate him. But Mordecai heard about the plot and gave the information to Queen Esther. She then told the king about it and gave Mordecai credit for the report. When an investigation was made and Mordecai’s story was found to be true, the two men were impaled on a sharpened pole. This was all recorded in The Book of the History of King Xerxes’ Reign.” Esther 2:21-23
It is only when we know we are fully loved by God that we can respect, trust, and obey those in authority over us. It gives us a confidence… not in ourselves, and not from others, but from knowing God loves us, is for us, and holds the whole story of our lives in His hands.
God’s perfect love casts out all fear so that we can respect, trust, and obey others, knowing that God ultimately has our back.
Trust in God, lived out by trusting others, is what gives us an inner beauty that radiates from us through our words and actions.
A heart that loves and trusts God…
is humble, respectful, and obedient to those in authority over them…
and experiences God’s favor!
Picture of the “inner beauty” of Paterson, NJ. God’s beauty in the midst of chaos!