In the Beauty of His Holiness
Our adult Sunday school class is studying the Book of Esther this summer, and God is exposing truths this eager learner has never seen before. For instance, He said one key to understanding the ancient story is simply to accept that the king of the 127 provinces of Media/Persia is sovereign. His laws are absolute. His position is immutable. His ways are past finding out. Sound familiar? The student of the Word must simply accept that the king made the decision to depose his queen Vashti. It was his choice according to the times, the customs and the setting. We don’t get to judge whether he was right or wrong, nor does it promote the overall entente to ask why! In the story, the king typifies our God and King. And it helps to see King Ahasuerus in that light.
On the other hand, the symbolism behind Esther’s beauty baths punctuates the key elements of a Christian’s relationship with our Lord. If you will recall the story, when the queen was banished for failing to bring glory to her monarch, every virgin in the vast kingdom was brought to the palace for a year’s preparation to spend one night with the king. He was to choose the next reigning queen from these “contestants.” Each young lady, Esther among them, underwent beauty treatments with six months of baths in the oil of myrrh and six more in baths of fragrant oils.
Now, myrrh is a spice used in Bible times primarily for preparing a cadaver for burial. That hardly seems the aura for preparing for the “date” of a lifetime! But it was, as is baptism for the Believer, the first step in the approach to the king—death to self, the washing away of all that came before that one may be presented in the newness of life. That newness was amplified by the fragrances that would make a girl memorable. In like manner, we are to bring the “sweet savour of Christ” wherever we go.
While vanity is scorned in much of the Bible, we all would do well to indulge ourselves in beauty treatments similar to Esther’s. Scripture speaks of worshiping Him “in the beauty of His holiness.” The invitation is to us, as it was to Esther—to enter into that beauty. To be holy as He is holy.