How could a beauty contest save an entire generation?
The question burned in my mind as I breathlessly read the pages of Esther, yet again.
It doesn’t matter how many times I return to this story. It never gets old.
The sparkling stage, dazzling characters, and harrowing, nail-biting circumstances, are exciting enough to be a mega blockbuster!
But God didn’t give us the beautiful story of Esther for mere entertainment. His Word is alive. It is living, and powerful and sharper than any double-edged sword. It is prophetic, powerful, and purposeful. Every line within this tale, holds such depth and meaning.
And I believe that what God did within the pages of Esther, He is doing again, today.
The story carries on, as set-apart young women who are whole-heartedly surrendered to our God, give Him the pen of their individual life stories and say, “Lord, have Your way. Write whatever You desire.”
Esther’s story is unique. It includes being orphaned at a young age, being taken to the King’s palace to compete in the beauty contest of the century, winning the King’s heart, facing fear and speaking up for her people, and saving an entire generation.
If this story were to play out on today’s stage, I can imagine many within the church might grow upset. Religious, close-minded thoughts might try to tell us, “God can’t do that! He can’t use worldly things such as beauty, success, influence, favor, and fame to change the world.”
Many within the church would think Esther was severely missing the mark. Why? Because it’s much easier to judge something, then it is to have faith for something.
Influencing Hollywood. Setting young women free from trafficking and prostitution. Healing hearts in public schools. Producing Godly media. Restoring fashion, arts, and entertainment for God’s glory… “Impossible!” They might say, “Selfish, self-centered, and ungodly. There’s no way God’s hand is upon that!”
Oh, but sisters, we must be so very careful, not to open our mouths and speak against what God is doing. We cannot judge what God is orchestrating in this season. We do not know what God has called someone to do, and it is not our place to tell them whether or not they should be doing it.
Esther married a pagan King. She competed in a secular beauty contest. She lived among non-believers! And she was a Jew! How very unholy and ungodly of her!
I’m sure there were many scoffers. Many who would never believe even if they were told, the fullness of what God was going to do through Esther’s life!
Sure, we clap now. We love and praise Esther, calling her an “inspiration”! But not everyone was clapping back in Esther’s day. Those who were stuck in the middle of the story, didn’t have the vision to zoom out and see the fullness of what God was doing. Instead of seeing from God’s perspective, I’m sure there were many Jews who gossiped over the fact that Esther had gone down a different path than all of their daughters. Esther was different, and we can be sure that it was not always easy for her. We as humans tend to struggle with anything “different” or “out of the box”, because we don’t have a label for it. People couldn’t quite label Esther, until after the story was over. And people aren’t going to be able to label you either.
Just like Esther, each of our stories are SO radically unique! God is a creative Author! He loves creating different stories, circumstances, obstacles, trials, and triumphs for each of us! We all have such unique gift sets, callings, and directions on our lives. I’m not called to be like you, and you’re not called to be like me. And that is one-hundred-percent, okay!
Sisters, it is time we stop judging one another. It is time we stop gossiping, criticizing, and analyzing one another’s stories. It is time we step back, and let God be God!
Esther’s story was radically different from Daniel’s. David’s was different from Ruth’s. Paul’s different from Peter’s! Today, in hindsight, we love and celebrate them all. We see God working in UNIQUE, OUT-OF-THE-BOX ways in each of their lives. Is there one story, that we’re all supposed to be like, and conform to? Are we all supposed to enter a beauty contest and marry a King? Are we all supposed to take care of shepherd then kill a giant? Are we all supposed to be missionaries in Africa? Are we all supposed to be writers? Are we all supposed to homeschool?
Of course not! God celebrates our individuality, and it is time we see things from His perspective, and begin celebrating the unique stories of those around us! Even if we don’t understand them. Even if we know we would do things differently in our own lives...It doesn’t matter.
Your story is not my story, and my story is not your story. And that is a beautiful thing.
Different gifting’s, but the same God! Different destines, but the same purpose! We are One in Christ.
So even though our life stories are all going to look very different, we know that because we are family, there are some things that are going to be the same. Let’s take a moment to talk about those. Let’s highlight five amazing character qualities we find in Esther that we can all apply to our own lives, no matter our dreams, desires, or goals!
The same God who used a beauty contest to save an entire generation, wants to use you, to do something wild and wonderful! Something totally out of the box. So whatever it is, don’t judge it. Let God be God, and allow your heart to trust Him fully, as your story (and the stories of those around you) begin to unfold.
1. Esther Lived in Humility
There is only one way to rise to the top. And that is, through humility. Jesus said, the ruler of all, would be the servant of all. Humility was a shining character trait in Esther’s life. She humbly followed God’s plan for her life, and submitted to the advice both Mordecia and Haggai gave her. Instead of pridefully competing with the other women at the palace and fighting to “stand out”, she humbled herself beneath God’s might hand, and in due time, He exalted her. Humility is royalty.
2. Esther Lived in Favor
The favor of God is an incredible thing. It will take you far further than strive, determination, or doing things on your own, ever could. The favor of King escorts you through royal gates and causes you to dine with Kings. Esther had so much favor on her life, and God desires to use you as a woman of favor as well! He has great plans and purposes for you, and His favor will open doors you could never get to budge on your own. But the only way to obtain favor, is by beginning with humility.
3. Esther Lived in Faith
After Hamman announced his wicked decree to destroy every Jew, things looked bad. No, things were worse than bad. They were impossible! Instead of freaking out in fear, Esther chose faith. She told her maids it was time to fast and pray. Esther chose (yet again) a posture of humility, and told God she was willing to used in whatever way He saw fit. She believed He was able to intervene, and when her heart knew it was time to confront the King….she took that bold step of faith. As God’s daughters, we are called to be fearless. We can trust our Heavenly Father, no matter how terrible things look. God has a plan, and He wants us to choose faith!
4. Esther Lived Selflessly
Even though she was a Persian Queen with dozens of servants doting upon hand and foot, she did not allow such perks to go to her head. Esther knew her life wasn’t about her. She knew there was a greater story, and she surrendered to whatever God had in store. With the famous words, “If I perish, I perish”, Esther revealed she was willing to give her life to rescue her people. Just like Esther, we are called to live selflessly. Will we choose to lay everything on the line, to touch and rescue this generation?
5. Esther Lived in Celebration
A strong theme we see throughout the book of Esther, is the fact that Esther celebrated. There were many feasts, parties, and moments of rejoicing! The Jewish people were amazing at aligning themselves with God’s calendar – observing the feasts and festivals God gave them to observe. God knows that His joy is our strength. We’ll never make it through this life if we don’t take time to (as I like to say) stop, drop, and party! God has given us SO many reasons for our hearts to explode with thankfulness and joy – and Esther knew how to rejoice, even when she was going through a challenging season. May we learn from her example and apply this principle of celebration to our own lives!
Esther’s story has gone down in the history books as one of the most beautiful, inspiring, life-changing tales ever told. But the story doesn’t end with Esther. The baton has been passed to us!
May we, God’s royal daughters, live in Humility, Favor, Faith, Selflessness, and Celebration, as we fulfill our unique, individual roles in the magnificent story God is telling through each of our lives.
About the Author:
Livy Jarmusch is a twenty-something author, singer, and songwriter. She’s published six books, one of which features devotional-style articles from the Becoming Esther team, Beauty Boys and Ball Gowns! When Livy isn’t writing up a storm for her next Christian fiction novel, you can usually find her playing guitar, blogging, drinking peppermint tea, connecting with new friends, planning her next trip to Disney, or pinning images of Europe and Golden Retriever Puppies. Come connect at: www.livlynnblog.com