The book of Esther is actually one of my favorite stories in the bible, so the other night when Sister Brown referenced it in her prayer, saying that we have been called “for such a time as this” (4:14), I immediately began meditating on the book again. Here’s what the Holy Spirit revealed.
This young Jewish girl, Esther, was indeed a special, young lady. Raised by her cousin Mordecai, as if she were his own daughter, she illustrated the respect and honor she had been taught. For example, when she was brought to the palace of Xerxes to be considered as his queen, she listened attentively to all she was told, even to the point of asking for only those things that the king’s eunuch recommended for her. (In other words, she didn’t go buck wild with all of the jewelry, ornaments, and/or perfume that were placed before her.) She exercised moderation, and “won the favor of everyone who saw her” (2:15). But the part of the story that stands out to me the most is the amount of preparation Esther endured, not only to go before the king but also to save her people from annihilation. First, let’s talk about Esther’s physical preparation.
The bible tells us that Esther, as well as all of the other women in the king’s harem, endured a whole year of beauty treatments: “six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics” (2:12). Now in doing a little extra reading, I have discovered some things about myrrh. Of course, it was very expensive. We all know this from the wise men bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to worship Jesus. Some scholars have pointed out that during times of scarcity, myrrh was even deemed more valuable than gold. Why? Because of its multiple properties and uses. According to one online source, “Myrrh oil has been used for thousands of years for its healing, rejuvenating and antiseptic qualities. It is thought to remove toxins, restore proper moisture balance and plump up dry, wrinkling skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties also make it ideal for the treatment of acne.”
Clarke’s Commentary even points out that the women who were brought to the king were from all classes, even the lowest, so their diets may have consisted of “strong foods” that were “not easily digested,” resulting in a musk or odor that, I’m sure, could not be ignored. You see, what we eat really does matter! For six months, these women took baths in this oil and applied it to their faces and bodies, ultimately, to get rid of the garbage they had been ingesting— to purify themselves before they could even get prepared on the outside (with perfume and cosmetics) to step foot into the king’s presence. Hmmmmmm!
I guess the word for the day is, again, to prioritize. We might not need to be so concerned with the make-up, the fly clothes, and the perfume that we fail to deal with the physical man internally. Yes, it’s great to have nice clothes and jewelry, so we can adorn the outside, but we need to look good on the inside as well—health-wise. Believe it or not, the inside will affect the outside—how well our clothes fit, how good we smell (before we put on the perfume), how smooth the texture of our skin is (before that make-up application), etc. What I’m saying is what we do on the inside will determine the impact of the efforts we make to the outside. Watching what we eat and exercising are crucial parts of our preparation for King Jesus. So don’t forsake your beauty treatments. Get Movin’!
In His Love,