Not a Beauty Contest (Esther Day 2) Author-Brandon Caudill
Today’s reading presents us with what is essentially the ancient Persian version of the Bachelor mixed with the Miss Universe pageant. We learn of a multitude of beautiful young virgin women from across the known world who were given cosmetics, a diet program and spa treatments so that they could effectively compete for a chance to become the next queen of Persia. Out of this multitude of “contestants” rises a young Jewish orphan to take the crown. Her name is Esther. And, as Esther 2:17-18 makes clear, the king was quite smitten with his new queen:
“The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity.”
Five gospel truths stand out in this passage that we will do well to meditate upon today:
- First, let us rejoice that we do not have to win a beauty contest to catch the eye of our King, Jesus. He doesn’t love us because we are beautiful; we are beautiful because He loves us.
- Second, we don’t have to worry about “winning” the grace and favor of our King. He gives it to us freely because it is His to give, and He is a generous and good King.
- Third, unlike queen Vashti, we don’t have to worry about being replaced by a future competitor. Instead, we can rest assured that our King is committed to His Bride, no matter her flaws.
- Fourth, while I’m sure Esther’s coronation feast was extravagant, it could never compete with the feast that awaits those of us in Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:6-9).
- Fifth, no matter how generous King Ahasuerus was to the people of his kingdom, he could never be more generous than God has been to us in Christ. If we know Jesus today, we have something greater than remission of mere taxes; we have complete remission of our sins through the shedding of His perfect blood (Heb 9:22). And that, my friend, is a true gift of royal generosity.
So, if you are a follower of Christ today, rejoice in the faithful, committed love of your good King. Praise God that He has lavished you with such grace, favor and forgiveness in His Son, Jesus. Remind yourself that in His grace, He loved you first (1 Jn 4:19); and nothing can separate you from His love (Rom 8:38-39).
Father God, how magnificent it is to be loved and favored by You. Thank You for the reminder from Your Word today that You are so much more benevolent than mere earthly kings, and that Your Bride, the Church, is secure in You. Thank You for making me beautiful in the perfect righteousness of Your Son. I don’t have to work to earn or maintain Your favor; You give it to me freely by Your grace. May this truth push me further into a life of discipleship and holiness. When Satan tempts me to think that You do not love me, remind me that nothing can separate me from You. And one day, when You see fit, I will be with You in perfection. But until that day, may I give my life to show and tell others how beautiful You truly are. It’s in the holy name of Jesus I pray. Amen.