2009 – Day 186.July 6 – Strength and Dignity
Passage of the Day: Esther 2: 8 – 11 … 8 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. 9 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. 10 Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai had charged her not to reveal it. 11 And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her.
My Journal for Today: Chuck Swindoll takes a little rabbit trail today with his devotional, focusing on the very feminine traits of our heroine, Hadassah, or as we generally know her, Esther. And Swindoll highlights the reality that she was a very charming, beautiful woman, who was quickly able to find favor from her court overseer, Hegai, the eunuch in charge of Xerxes’ harem in Susa, the Persian capital.
Swindoll makes a point, partly out of levity, but with some seriousness, that God has given the female of our species much in the way of mystery to woo and wow us males. But apparently God gave an extra dose to Esther; and she quickly charmed this eunuch to give her favor in the court of King Ahaseurus (i.e., Xerxes, the 1st). So, here again we see God giving our heroine even the physical/emotional qualities she would need to be a chosen one in the court of the King of Persia. God is totally in control – AS ALWAYS.
Now, also we see a character trait of Esther, well beyond her physical qualities, coming to the fore in this passage. Esther had great respect, in her Jewish upbringing, for her Uncle Mordecai, who had exhorted her – for the sake of ethnic protection – to withhold the truth of her Jewish heritage. And so, honoring this covenant with her Uncle, Esther, kept this important secret, illustrating her ability to refrain from idle talk. And, as Swindoll points out, this quality of being tight-lipped, i.e., having verbal restraint, is very much a lost character quality among the people of our day, … both female and male. Unfortunately very little is withheld in this day of tabloid media, Facebook connection, and wide-open gossip. And shamefully, this is true among Christians as much as it is with the world.
We just don’t try to live up to Paul’s exhortation in Eph. 4: 29 - linked here – all that much any more; do we? But, though Esther was never privileged to know the New Testament writings of Paul, she apparently lived it out in real life, speaking only those things which would provide grace and edification for those to whom she addressed, … in this case Hegai, the King’s Eunuch. And her personal beauty and grace of attitude, along with her physical beauty, apparently were tools God used to set her apart in the eyes of Hegai and later to the King as we’ll see later.
I hope we all learn from this that God has given us all special qualities which He can use to allow us to do what Jesus commanded in Matt. 5: 16 … to shine His light from our lives so that others may see God in us and to glorify Him in Heaven.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, sometimes I don’t see what You’ve given me; but I know You’ve given me all I need to shine Your light. Help me to be a lamp of Christlikeness to all who encounter You in me. Amen