Good morning ladies, I am happy to stand before you this morning and talk to you about what an awesome God we serve. He is the creator of the universe and the Father of us all. His wisdom is beyond ours and His ways are not our ways. He never slumbers or sleeps and not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without escaping His ever-watchful eye. He knows when we lie down and when we raise up. He knows the number of our days before a single one of them came to be. Why, He even knows the number of hairs on our heads, and if you are like me, that number changes daily! His will always prevails, and He has been known to use the small, the ordinary, and the obscure in giant, atypical, and flamboyant fashion, all in which to accomplish His plans. Only in God's "world" can an insignificant, overlooked, and overworked shepherd boy become royal, remembered, and related to Christ. Only in God's will can the mucky, muddy river Jordan become the cleansing site for a seeking leper. Only in God's plan can a frightened, faithful teenaged virgin carry the Savior of the world in her womb and bounce The Great I Am on her knees. Only in God's ways can the creator of the world become what He created; get blistered by the sun He causes to shine; hunger for food that He made, and to be hated and killed by hearts and hands that He uniquely designed. Which brings us to the beautiful story of Esther. Perhaps no other book of the Bible has been attacked as bitterly and vehemently as the Book of Esther. Many critics argue its inclusion in the scared book, but the Holy Spirit has declared its worthiness. I am so glad that God has given us this window into the past and a glimpse of His divine nature.
We first meet Esther in chapter two of the book of Esther. We learn that her background does not contain much "Queenly" material. She was a Jew, a people taken captive and exiled by a previous Persian King, Nebuchadnezzar. She was also an orphan, who was being raised by her older cousin, Mordecai. Nothing about her past points towards her future position as Queen. Xerxes, as King of the Persian Empire, was quite possibly expected to choose his new Queen from other "blueblood" families. Of course, we know that God had other plans!
In verse 7 we read that the young lady was beautiful of form and face. It seems that she was initially recruited into the King's harem because of her physical beauty, but we quickly observe that it is because of her inner beauty that she finds favor in the eyes of Hegai, the king's eunuch in charge of the virgin harem, and all who come in contact with her. It is also because of her inner beauty that she wins over the heart of King Xerxes "and the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her Queen instead of Vashti." Wow! She won the beauty pageant didn't she? Esther went from a poor, orphaned exile to wife and Queen of the most powerful man in the known world all because of a pretty face and an even prettier heart.
Now that would be a nice story for Esther if it ended there, but the God of the universe knows the beginning from the end. A long time before Esther, God had made a promise to a man named Abraham. That promise was to bless all the nations through his seed and bring God's son to the world through his bloodline, because of Abraham's faithfulness. The Jews are the direct descendants of Abraham and were endangered of becoming extinct as the book of Esther unfolds. In order for the Messiah to enter the world through the Jewish nation, the Jewish nation must be preserved, and that is exactly where Esther comes into the picture. As the story of Esther unfolds we see loyalty, wisdom, humbleness, obedience, kindness, and discretion from Esther's character, as well as, bravery, concern for others above herself, prudence, and trust and faithfulness in her God. God used these qualities contained in the character of Esther to confront the enemy, approach the throne, and reverse a death sentence to a nation. It is this reversal that enables God's promise to Abraham so long ago to be fulfilled with the eventual birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, His Son.
So how does this apply to me? I'm no Esther; I know that God will never use me for my beauty! Or will He? First, let's look to see how God Almighty views mankind.
- I Samuel 16:7b says, "... For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
- Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."
- I Peter 3:3-4 "And let not your adornment be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."
What do all of these verses have in common? They seem to suggest that God really doesn't give a hoot about what our outsides look like, but He is greatly concerned about what is adorning the insides--our hearts. I don't know about you, but I often tend to spend more time preparing myself outwardly to face the day than I do inwardly to face the day. I forget Whom it is that I am trying to delight. It is not man that I want to be pleased with me, but the King of Kings. So what is the beauty secret? We, much like Esther and the other virgins, strive to be beautiful for our king. They had to undergo a year's worth of beauty and spa treatments before even entering his presence. The answer to our beauty and spa treatments is found in II Corinthians 3:18 "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." Write that one down Ladies, that is the greatest beauty secret of all time. When we truly study God's word and seek His glory; His face; He in turn shows us who He is, but He doesn't stop there. He goes on to change us into His image. Wow! Want a face-lift? That's one for "Extreme Makeover" isn't' it? Can you imagine the money, the stress, the fear, and anxiety the world would save by simply adhering to God's fountain of youth? Seek Me and I'll turn you into My image--forever.
God is always looking for willing instruments in which to work His will. Like Esther, we are all poor, exiled, and orphaned. Nothing about our past makes us "queenly" material. We are not "bluebloods" or even worthy of His consideration. However, by seeking His face we become like Him and the King adopts us as His very own. He can use your inner beauty to confront the enemy, approach His throne, and reverse a death sentence. "And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"
Link to other lectures of Christy Hesslen:
"God's Promise To His Followers"
"Looking To Christ"
"Our Kinsman Redeemer"
Link to Jeannie Cole's Ladies' Bible Class lectures
Link to WINGS Home Page