Esther 2:12 – 14 “Before a girl’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.”
I don’t know about you, but the first year of the girls’ time at the palace sounds like heaven to me. Imagine, an entire year at the spa, getting beautiful! What I wouldn’t give right now for one day at the spa, much less twelve months . . .
But the tragic part is what comes next. After each girl has spent an entire year of her life trying to be physically beautiful enough to attract the king, she has to spend the night with him. These girls were virgins, and they knew this would be their only chance at marriage. They were to give him one night of pleasure. Then, they were sent away, most likely to become a concubine. Only one girl would be chosen as his bride.
Now friends, those of you who know me know that I’m about as girly as they come. I like to look pretty, and fix my hair and make-up and paint my toenails, etc., etc. In my opinion, a little paint makes any old barn look better. But that is all it is – paint. It will peel. It won’t last.
Xerxes had already gotten himself into a fix once, with a beautiful bride who didn’t know her place. And here he was again. There was no talent competition in this beauty contest. There was no academic competition, and no bonus points were given for charitable service. It was all about the physical.
God knew of Xerxes’ shallow attitude. This is why He created Esther to be so beautiful. She was exquisite; she won the contest hands down. But as we will see later in the story, it was her inner strength that God used to save His people from annihilation.
When we focus only on physical beauty, we will always be disappointed. Sure, it’s fun to gussy ourselves up, and we should certainly do the best we can with what we have. But as Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” The person who fears God, and lives by His standards has an inner light, a lasting attractiveness which will draw others for all the days of their lives. That person is seen as beautiful, even when they are gray and wrinkled and using a cane to walk. Their love – God’s love – causes people to be drawn to them.
That’s the kind of beauty I want.
Dear Father, Please help me to look like You.