Sermons

Summary: Not all of us have the gift of beauty that attracts kings, generals, and wide popularity, but all Christians have gifts that are beautiful.

In its 4,000 years of history only one woman became

Emperor of China with absolute power. She was Wu

tes-t'ien. She got to the throne of China for the same reason

Esther got to the throne of Persia. She was a startling

beauty. As a young girl she was renowned for her beauty,

and the Emperor made her his concubine. Ordinarily a

concubine like her would be relegated to secluded quarters,

after the death of the Emperor. She would live her life out in

quiet retirement. She was so beautiful, however, that the

son of the Emperor also desired her as a concubine. She was

not only beautiful, she was clever. She bore him several

sons, and then promoted them among the leaders as the

legitimate heirs to the throne. She gained many political

allies, and so maneuvered behind the scenes that when the

Emperor suffered a crippling stroke, she was made Empress

in 655 A.D. She was brilliant as well as beautiful, and was

excellent in administration. She cut taxes, won a war, and

had a united prosperous country under her long reign.

It is rare, but the fact is, there are many cases in history

of women doing an excellent job of leading a whole nation.

One thousand years before Esther, in 1520 B.C. Hatshepst

became the first woman Pharaoh of Egypt, for 21 years she

reigned, and glorious monuments exist to praise her success.

When Julius Caesar marched into Egypt in 48 B.C. there

was a vicious dispute going on as to who the next ruler

should be. Should it be Pothinius or his sister Cleopatra.

Cleopatra wanted to plead her case before Caesar, but she

knew if she tried to get to him her brother would have his

spies kill her. Nobody would dare interfere with a gift for

Caesar, however, and so a beautiful oriental carpet was sent

from her palace to Caesar. Imagine his surprise when the

carpet was unrolled and a 19 year old girl stepped out to

announce she was Cleopatra, the rightful Queen of Egypt.

Caesar fell in love with her beauty, and she did become the

Queen. If you want to read of how Denmark, Norway, Sweden,

Spain, England, and other nations, were all ruled by greatly

honored women, you can find these fascinating histories in

Mildred Boyds book, Rulers In Petticoats. My interest in

these stories for our study of Esther is that they confirm

what we see to be a major theme of this book, and that is,

there is power in beauty. Women know it, and that is why

one of the largest industries in the world is the beauty

industry. Billions are spent each year by women who know

their greatest asset is in looking beautiful. Brains and other

qualities are also vital, but it is beauty that opens the door

for these other gifts to get a chance to function.

Many modern women admit they use beauty to their

advantage in industry. They say they dress in a deliberate

attempt to win favor with those who have power, and

thereby they are raised to positions of power themselves. If

conflict is developing between them and a male boss, they

can calm the waters by coming on with some feminine

charm. In beauty contests there is nothing subtle and

hidden. They are on open display to win prizes, prestige,

and power by means of beauty. Many object to the whole

emphasis on beauty as pagan perversion. They feel nothing

is more secular than the parading of female bodies before the

world.

The book of Esther, however, forces us to focus on this

type of secular scene, for God in His providence uses just

such a beauty contest to save his people. It was Esther's

beauty that got her into the palace, and into a position of

power where she could be used to save her people. No other

quality but beauty could have gotten her there. King Xerxes

was not looking for a female genius, or the best woman

runner, or sports figure. He was looking for beauty. His

demand for beauty was far beyond what is demanded for a

Miss America or Miss Universe contest. His contestants had

to spend one solid year doing nothing but beautifying

themselves just to spend a night with him. After a year of

using oils, spices, and ointments, they would be as soft and

smooth as a baby.

Esther had to have been one of the most beautiful women

to ever live. Out of all the beautiful girls of the Empire, she

won the favor of Hegai, the keeper of the women. Verse 15

indicates she was also voted Miss Congeniality by the other

girls, for she was favored by all who saw her. Now this really

is a Cinderella story in that, aside from her beauty, Esther

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