Sense and Sensibility

Esther 2:8 – 9 “When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. The girl pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven maids selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.”

As we learned yesterday, Esther had experienced some difficult things in her young life. She had lost her parents, and was taken in by her cousin, Mordecai. She may not have had a mother to teach her about all the finer points of femininity, but she did have one thing that served her well: common sense.

Vashti, on the other hand, most certainly possessed extensive knowledge of propriety. She knew what was right and wrong, in respectable society, and she would not allow herself to bypass the cultural standards of polite behavior, even for the king. She refused to humiliate (humble) herself, and do something that was not proper. She was above that kind of behavior. And we all know where she ended up.

Esther didn’t have a choice about her situation. She was young, pretty and pure, so she was called to the palace. She could have fought her circumstances, but what good would it have done her? Instead, she decided to comply, and be the best beauty pageant contestant she could be. She identified those in charge, and she set out to please them. She didn’t demand anything for herself; she simply listened, showed respect, and did as she was told.

Her common sense served her well, and won her the top spot in the pageant. She was given special treatment, largely because she didn’t demand special treatment. Of course, she also had a little help from the Almighty. But there was a reason God chose this particular orphan girl to carry out His purpose. He knew she would comply.

Sometimes, we get all caught up in the way things are supposed to be, and we get angry and frustrated when they don’t work out that way. Like Vashti, we stubbornly refuse to just go with the flow of our circumstances. We fight for our rights, instead of just being content. But although propriety certainly has its place, there are times when we are better served with a little humility and some good old common sense.

Are you working in a job that is below your skill level? Identify those in charge, and please them. You will be noticed. Are you forced into a situation that is not your choosing, or your preference? Be humble, show respect to authority, and please your superiors, and your life will be easier in the long run. And God, who sees you, who has a special, important plan for your life, will reward your humble attitude.

Dear Father, Please help me to know when to stand up for myself, and when to be humble. Help me to use common sense and wisdom in all things.


7 Responses to Sense and Sensibility

  1. June 6, 2008 #

    God has a plan. Yes! I commented about the same thing this morning on my blog, too. Life’s so much easier when we willingly comply to that plan.

    I read your “Writing Stuff”. Congratulations! I’ll be praying about your assignment with Barbour.

    My Conversations With God at

  2. June 6, 2008 #

    Renae, your prayer reminds me of “Lord, help me to change the things I can, accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference”. (This is really a rough quote!) Anyway, you know me well enough to know how much I value common sense. It will take you a long, long way. And, God will get you there!

  3. June 6, 2008 #

    Thanks, Jean! Isn’t it funny how we want to fight His plan, when His ways are always so much better than our own? We can only see what is right in front of us. But God sees the entire road map, and He knows the best way to get us to our destination. And with God, the destination is always a good place!

    Mom, You taught me common sense and “God” sense is the always the right way!

    Bless you both!

  4. June 6, 2008 #

    R – encouraged as always by your writing. Keep it up, love your perspective on God’s true Word. And you know I especially love this book! Miss you –

  5. June 6, 2008 #

    Thank you, TJ! Great to see you. Give little Esther a hug for me! 😉 Miss you too.


  6. June 7, 2008 #

    I’m catching up today. Wonderful posts, Renae… I am looking at this story in a new light because of your thoughts on it. Except for God’s plan for Esther, it would have been preferable to be plain and not beautiful at that time. What a terrible thing to have all the beautiful and pure girls removed from society. How did the parents of those girls feel, I wonder? Proud that they had been noticed and chosen for the king? Or mourning the loss of their daughters and grandchildren?

  7. June 8, 2008 #

    I agree, Jeanette! The sting of not being chosen (“What do you mean I’m not pretty enough?!”) would certainly have faded, but the call to the palace was permanent. It wasn’t fair, but the people just accepted it. In that society, everything they had could be confiscated by the king for use in his service.

    The same was true for boys. Any of them could be called into the king’s service at any time, and turned into eunuchs to guard the harem.

    This is one of the wonderful things about God – He cares about PEOPLE, and wants the best for each of us, as opposed to the pagan, self-centered ways of Xerxes.

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