Scripture Reading: Esther 1:1-2:18 / Revelation 2:18-3:6 / Psalm 140:6-13
I knew of a little girl in first grade who understood the power of favor. She noticed that her teacher seemed to always be especially nice to one of her first grade friends. She saw her friend receive special privileges, more attention and greater recognition from the teacher. She figured out that if she became best friends with the teacher’s pet, then first grade would also be better for her…smart little girl!
Human nature doesn’t like it when we feel someone else is more loved, praised or favored. Our society is a champion for equality and fairness. The truth is there are those who are more intelligent, talented and beautiful. These qualities do not make someone “better” than others but it certainly does make them “different”. In fact, we are all different and understanding our unique strengths and weaknesses is the key to a healthy self-image.
God had a divine purpose for a young girl named Hadassah, better known as Esther. She had a natural God given beauty that people were attracted to. When King Xerxes was looking for a new queen, the beautiful virgins throughout the land were brought to the king’s palace in Susa. It says, “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.” (Esther 2:8,9)
This Hebrew word for “favor” is the same word as the New Testament word “grace”. Hegai treated her kindly and graciously. Esther pleased him so much that he accelerated the process of the beauty treatments and special diet. He even assigned seven female servants to Esther, put her in the harem’s best quarters and her natural beauty was magnified.
Esther’s favor wasn’t limited to Hegai because she won the favor of everyone. When it came time to present herself to the king, we read he, “…was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins.” (2:17) This Hebrew word for favor is different than the one used previously. It is used to describe a person’s heartfelt giving to someone who has a need. This type of “favor” is not expected or deserved. The king, “set a royal crown on her head and made her queen…” (2:17)
Esther reached the pinnacle of the kingdom but as we read later, God did not give her favor for her benefit alone but designed the favor to bless an entire nation. Ester reached this place in life not because she was lucky or fortunate, beautiful or attractive but it was by God’s divine plan. The favor of God is not dependent upon our physical attractiveness but upon the spiritual condition and receptiveness of our heart. So no matter what you are or what you are not… God is looking for a beautiful heart to favor.