Bible Society of South Africa

Beautiful in the service of God – 25 June 2021

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

7He had a cousin, Esther, whose Hebrew name was Hadassah; she was a beautiful young woman, and had a good figure. At the death of her parents, Mordecai had adopted her and brought her up as his own daughter.

Esther 2:7GNBOpen in Bible reader

King Xerxes I of Persia held a beauty pageant, not to select Miss World, but a new queen. He needed a new queen after Queen Vashti refused to come when he wanted to show off her beauty to his officials and merry guests who were already drunk. Amongst the finalists was a very beautiful Jewish girl named Hadassah, but she was there not to win a pageant but for a very special purpose. God chose her to participate because in the future, she would be needed by her people. Her uncle, Mordecai, in chapter 4 verse 14 said, “Yet who knows – maybe it was for a time like this that you were made queen!” Esther is the only book of the Bible where God is actually never mentioned by name. That does not mean that God was not present when His people were in grave danger.

The city of Susa was one of four capital cities where the Persian king spent some time each year. In Susa and in the surrounding provinces of the kingdom, there were many Jews who did not return to Israel after the exile. The prime minister, Haman, planned to destroy them all, but God had already chosen Esther to be the intercessor for her people.

In chapter 3, we read about the plans Haman made and how Xerxes gave Haman permission to kill all the Jewish people – men, women and children. Esther hosted a banquet and invited the king and Haman. She then put het life on the line by pleading with the king not to destroy her people. Up until that stage, it had not been known that Esther was a Jew. Xerxes granted her wish and when the Jews were attacked, they retaliated and were victorious.

We can never say who God should and should not choose, for as we have seen, he can use the beauty of a young woman to serve his purpose.

Prayer: Dear Father, even if we are not as beautiful as Esther and even if we do not have royal status, we are grateful to be chosen to be part of your people. Use us as needed. Amen

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