So it was, when the king's command and decree were heard, and when many young women were gathered at Shushan the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king's palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the women. Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king's palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women.
Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.
Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.
A beautiful character wins favor from God. A beautiful appearance wins favor from man. Esther showed both and won both. But today, beauties like Esther are in short supply.
We live in the Instagram generation: quick peeks and shallow seeks. Looking good is surface stuff, but surface stuff is never enough. Makeovers become fake-overs: doctors of plastic with solutions quite drastic. But our Carpenter doesn't work in plastic.
Nevertheless, physical beauty brings worldly favor: 'While beauty itself may be only skin deep, studies show our perception of beauty may be hard-wired in our brains' (ABC News). Brains 'light up' when beauty is seen. 'Even babies respond more positively to attractive, symmetrical faces' (CNN). Basically, beauty brings social, occupational and political advantages.*
Consider the face of a model: the spacing of the eyes, shape of the nose, fullness of the mouth, definition of the cheekbones, placement of the chin and strength of the jawline. Now consider the mathematical, formulaic distances of and between each feature--because they've been measured. Model scouts look for exceptional proportions.
But why would God give or withhold this type of favor? Why would God give one servant ten talents, but another only one?** 'What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For He says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion' ' (Romans 9:14-15).
'But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the One Who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?' ' (Romans 9:20).
God has reasons for everything He does--including our appearance. Job reasoned and pleaded with God in his misfortune: 'Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity... see my misery' (Job 10:8,15).
To Be Continued...
* Articles on the science of beauty:
** The Parable of the Talents: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A14-30&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Beautiful Like Esther series.