Esther 2:9, 12, 14 “Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem. … Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to the King Ahasuerus…for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and cosmetics. In the evening she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second harem…She would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.”
Observation: This begins the story of Esther, a Jewish orphan girl who ultimately found favor in the eyes of the king and was crowned queen. Competition was keen, and a place in the harem was reserved for only the finest beauties in the land. Preparation was intense. Each candidate had coaches and spent a full year bathing in fragrant oils and spices and the finest cosmetics, all for a one-night stand with the king. Afterward, the candidate returned to the “second” harem to await the king’s next call. She never knew whether it would come, yet of necessity she kept herself continuously ready.
Application: Think of the process these women went through—months of grooming for one night with a man who would likely not remember her name in the morning. But he might remember, so one’s guard could never be let down. How unlike this hapless harem am I! Having once accepted Christ’s atoning work for my sin, I don’t have to wonder whether He will ever call again. My King does call; of this I have no doubt. My preparation is perhaps less apparent than for the harem, but it is no less intentional. Their attendants were physically present to highlight their best features.
But I also have an Attendant, the Holy Spirit, who constantly works to prepare me. Beloved, if I go through my days inattentive to the Attendant’s instruction, how can I hope to be ready to enter the King’s presence the instant He calls? If my devotion to Him does not exceed all else, am I not like the harem member who shrugs off her daily bath only to find herself unexpectedly summoned into the king’s chambers, to stand exposed in the filth of lesser priorities? I must live as though each moment is the instant of His calling.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I recognize that I can only be ready if I am always ready, so help me with priorities, Lord. Teach me how to wait on You, to be attentive to the Attendant in the midst of life’s busiest days. Give me a hunger for Your righteousness above all other pursuits.