And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves.
For its viewer, beauty is a gift: the glow of a sunset, the expanse of an ocean, the smile of a baby--or the face of a friend. To see all of God's beauty is impossible, but each glimpse brings a dose of delight. Imagine God's smile at the wonder of His children.
For its holder, beauty is a responsibility: 'From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked' (Luke 12:48). 'In proportion to what a man is entrusted with, the greater increase and improvement it is expected he should make' (Gill's Exposition of the Bible).
'Beauty gives you a weird sense of entitlement. It's rather frightening to have others ascribe such importance to something you know you're just renting for a while' (Candice Bergen).
'Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man' (Fyodor Dostoevsky).
If beauty is a gift from God, it's a gift we did nothing to earn: like a quick mind or an artist's eye; a talent for building, writing or sports; a sum of money. If beauty is a stewardship or inheritance, receivers must answer a question: What will we do with it?
Will we use it for good or evil? Will we bury it, squander it, or invest it? Will we use its profit selfishly--because we think we deserve it? Or will we share it unselfishly--because we know He deserves it?
'Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights' (James 1:17).
Esther is one the Bible's greatest beauties. To study Esther is to study beauty. Dostoyevsky got it right: 'God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man.'
To Be Continued...
The Book of Esther: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Esther+1-10
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Beautiful Like Esther series.