Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
Deliverance (Part 45)
Starring Roles: Esther*
If you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14 (NKJV)
Esther, a model, shows God's purpose for beauty. Certainly, her looks received lots of attention, including the eye of her king's emissary. As a result, she was drafted to the king's court for a winner-take-all beauty competition. The prizes? Marriage and a crown as Persia's queen. But for a Hebrew girl, it was a risky role.
Here's what all lookers soon learn: beauty is a lure. Admiring glances may give them an advantage. But for people of God, Jesus details the plan. As disciples, we're called to be fishers of men. Therein, comeliness and talent are shiny bait. They draw attention to the most wonderful Switch: Jesus.
Among many godly attributes, consider these lessons from Esther:
1) She was a victim without choice in her role. As too many beautiful young girls come to know, Esther's looks made her captive to the whims of men. 'So it came about when the command and decree of the king were heard... that Esther was taken to the king's palace' (Esther 2:8). Still, she made the best of a strange situation.
2) She was favored in a difficult position. As a Jew in hiding among worldly people, their dress, gods, customs and values were different. But her virtuous character impressed others. 'Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her' (Esther 2:15). Because 'Among the upright, there is favor' (Proverbs 14:9).
3) She was self-controlled: the Spirit's last, crowning fruit.** 'Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women's quarters to the king's palace... Now when the turn came for Esther... she requested nothing' (Esther 2:13,15).
4) She was discreet and knew when to hold back her words. She practiced privacy and godly courtesy: 'Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it' (Esther 2:10). Her life exampled: 'Discretion will preserve you' (Proverbs 11:22).
5) She was sympathetic, a quality now rare. When her cousin, Mordecai, revealed the fate of the Jews, 'The queen was deeply distressed' (Esther 4:4). In a world of selfishness and narcissism, sympathy is reduced to a shrug and a sigh. But Esther was prompted by God to get involved.
6) She was fasting, an emptiness God longs to fill. She sought God's deliverance, and she received it. 'Go, assemble all the Jews... and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king' (Esther 4:16).
7) She was courageous and came to live these brave words: 'Whatever God has said to you, do it' (Genesis 31:16). Her calling? 'I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish' (Esther 4:16). By her obedience, she saved the lives of countless people, including her own.
To Be Continued...
* Previous AMTC Devotion Series on Esther: http://amtcdevotions.org/beautiful-like-esther-part-1-the-gift-of-beauty
** 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires' (Galatians 5:22-24).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Deliverance series.