Daily Devotional

August 16, 2018

Inner Excellence

The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. – James 3:17-18

Every head turned and tension instantly filled the room. Arrayed in impeccable royal garments, the woman was gorgeous! But every person in the room knew that in a split second her life could end. She had stepped before the king without invitation!

Not many years before this dramatic moment in her life, Queen Esther had been chosen after an extensive search throughout the Persian Empire for suitable young women. While the Bible says that Esther was “fair and beautiful,” she also had a beautiful character and spirit, God used both her inner and outer beauty for His glory.

A descendant of Jewish captives, when Esther became a queen contestant, she was moved into the harem. After a year, each woman spent a night with the king, and then was sent to the house of concubines. She would not see the king again unless he called for her.

In the harem, a glimpse is given of the quality of Esther’s character. She was under the control of Hegai, the king’s chamberlain, and “the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him.” Another verse says, “Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.” Imagine what it must have been like to live with hundreds of women who were in competition with one another! Bored, restricted, and without rights, they had the potential to be less than uplifting and delightful! Yet Esther’s spirit and character stood out in this crowd.

Esther’s wisdom showed when it was time for her to first meet the king. She had her choice of attire and accessories, but she was smart enough to trust Hegai’s judgment and requested only what he suggested. Esther’s beauty, her character, and her excellence caused the king to immediately make her queen.

A few years later, a plot was devised to kill all the Jews. Mordecai, who had brought Esther up, said that she should go before the king to intercede. However, it had been thirty days since the king had called for her. The courage and trust in Esther’s heart showed through when she declared, “If I perish, I perish.”

Esther knew well that for security purposes, any uninvited person who came before the king could be killed within seconds. She did her part with preparations, including fasting and prayer. Then she stepped into the inner court of the king’s house, and in that tense moment, the king extended the golden scepter. Consequently, with great diplomacy, Esther informed the king of the jeopardy of her people, and deliverance was granted.

All of us can be challenged by Esther’s example. God worked for Esther and used her because Esther did what He wanted. She had such inner excellence that people noticed it immediately. What do people notice about us? Does God’s Spirit dwell within us so that the bank teller, the grocery clerk, or the restaurant waitress feels blessed by having been in contact with us? Is our humility and cooperative attitude apparent to coworkers, fellow students, and our family members?

Even though Esther lived many years before the focus verse was written, she exemplified these words. With God’s help, we can too.