Esther: more beautiful than you realize

Esther: more beautiful than you realize

Feb 25
Esther:  more beautiful than you realize

In my opinion, Esther is the most under-rated book in the Bible.  For far too long, the story of Esther has been reduced to a subject for women’s Bible study.  We simplify the story to something akin to a Disney film, where the beautiful princess uses her beauty, charm, and wisdom to influence a king for good.

Esther isn’t just for women and it isn’t just about physical beauty.  Esther’s story is our story.  It is a magnificent metaphor of our relationship with God.

Esther’s story begins with Xerxes, the King of the Persian Empire, throwing a party for himself.  This was a huge party.  To be honest, I don’t know what words to use to describe it – the party lasted for 180 days!  During this time, King Xerxes was showing off everything that made him great, with everyone giving him glory and honor.

At the end of the 180 days, he threw a 7-day banquet.  He continued to impress everyone with his wealth and generosity, garnering more and more praise.  On the 7th day, he chose to show off what he treasured the most:  his beautiful wife.  The queen had been throwing a separate dinner for the women, so the king sent servants to bring her to the feast.  She refused to come.  After her refusal to answer his summons, the king decreed that she would never again be allowed in his presence – their separation became permanent.

Suppose we replace the king in this part of the story with God and we replace the queen, His bride, with ourselves.

Every description I’ve read of Heaven in the Bible makes it sounds like a big party for God’s glory.  All creation worships before Him.  He has summoned us to also come be part of His glory.  But if we refuse His summons, then we are forever banished from His presence.

After Xerxes banished the queen, he sought a new queen.  He threw a beauty pageant and selected the one that he found to be the most beautiful.  However, after he had chosen his wife, she had to go through a year-long beauty treatment.  For 6 months she was given treatments of myrrh and oils.  Then for 6 months she received cosmetics and other treatments.  When she emerged 12 months later, she was as beautiful as she could possibly be.  She had been washed, cleaned, and beautified.  Only then was she summoned into the presence of the king.

Sounds familiar?  Hasn’t God washed us, cleansed us, and beautified us through the blood of Jesus?  It was the death of Jesus that cleaned us of our impurities and unholiness before God.  It is only because of Jesus’s sacrifice that we can be in the presence of our King, who sees us as perfect and holy, just as He always intended us to be.

During this time, there was a prince in Xerxes’s kingdom who had a particular dislike for the children of Israel.  He convinced the king to make a decree that all Israelites would be put to death on a certain day.  It was a law and laws in Persia could not be repealed.  Once something became law, it was irrevocable – even the King could not undo it.  From that moment, every one of God’s people was sentenced to death.

Again, this is true for us.  God decreed that all sin must be punished with death.  What He has decreed cannot be changed.  All who have sinned have a death sentence over them that cannot be repealed.

Esther was an Israelite and was also subject to Xerxes’s decree (although he wasn’t aware of her ethnicity).  She wanted to plead with the king on behalf of her people, but there was also a law that decreed death to anyone who presented themselves before the king without first being summoned by him.  The only exception was if the king presented his golden scepter to the petitioner – only then could they live.  Esther took the risk and appeared before Xerxes, who extended his golden scepter to her, permitting her to be in his presence even without having been summoned.

This is how God treats us in prayer.  We have permission to enter into His presence without having to first be summoned.  He hears our pleas and requests, despite how vividly aware we are that we are unworthy to be in His presence.  He sees us as His beautiful queen, the one whom He has cleansed and purified and made worthy of Himself.  He would never deny His presence to us.

Esther explains the situation to Xerxes, but he cannot change the law.  However, he is able to determine a way to save the Israelites.  Xerxes passes a new decree that says the people of Israel can defend themselves on the day in which they were to be executed.  Whoever tries to enforce the law against Israel will face an armed opponent.

Similarly, God cannot repeal the death sentence against our sin.  However, He determined that if someone else were to die on our behalf that the price would be paid in full.  God’s own son, Jesus, paid the price for us.  He died the pay the price for our sins.  With the demands of the Law paid in full, the Law no longer applies to us – the sentence of death no longer hands over us.  Our Enemy, who is determined to see us suffer, encountered a fearsome foe – the very son of God!  The Law was fulfilled and kept perfectly, yet we escaped death because of the sacrifice of God.

Our King put Himself to death for us.  He paid the price that was deservedly ours.  The King gave His life for His queen.  This is our happy ending.  Our King sees us as the most beautiful thing in all of His creation.  He says we are worth dying for.  Never let anyone convince you differently.

You are the chosen bride of the King of the Universe.  He delights in you.  Do not be frightened to be in His presence, but instead put yourself before Him at every opportunity.  Plead with Him for your people as if you are the only one to whom He will listen.

And never again disrespect or diminish this magnificent story of God’s love for His bride.

2 comments

  1. Awesome journal entry Chris!
    I love the book of Esther:)

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