We all like the feeling of being chosen. It’s exhilarating to hear our name announced as the winner of a prize or the recipient of a great honor. Even as a child we’re excited when we’re selected for a sports team, or invited to attend a friend’s birthday party. Suddenly, we’re special!
When I read the book of Esther, it makes me wonder if Esther felt the same way. Did stand tall with pride when she was announced as the chosen one? Or did she shiver at the thought of filling such a huge role? Perhaps she did what many of us do – forget what made us acceptable in the first place.
Esther 2:3 tells us what the qualifications were to even be considered as a candidate: “‘And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather all the beautiful young virgins to Shushan the citadel, into the women’s quarters, under the custody of Hegai the kings’ eunuch, custodian of the women. And let beauty preparations be given them …’”
To be beautiful was expected. Yes, young would be nice, but what really jumped out at me was the word “virgin.” Not only were they expected to be pleasing to look at, they were required to hold the gift of purity.
Esther was “fair and beautiful” (Esther 2:7), but what if she had not been a virgin? No amount of beauty could have qualified her then. She would have been bypassed, unfit to be chosen. We would have never seen her name in the Bible, never rejoiced in her heroic accomplishments. The honor would have been given to someone else.
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.” 2 Timothy 2:20
Purity is honorable. God is looking for honorable people who will choose to live a life set apart for His use (Romans 12:2). He wants to do so much through us for His glory, but if we are bogged down by the impurities of the world, our use is limited. If our vessels are cracked, tarnished, and soiled, we cannot contain His glory.
Proverbs 22:11 says, “He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.” Purity begins in the heart. It starts with a heart that is fully devoted and in love with its King. It holds a pure willingness to do whatever it takes to honor Him, regardless of the cost. It’ll give up any impure thing in order to see the King’s will accomplished. That is the heart that the King is seeking.
Like Esther, our desire should be to be found fit for our assignment, without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27). We should be so focused on making ourselves beautiful for His use, that when the day comes to enter His courts, we are ready and waiting for His call.