Read: Isaiah 60:1-62:5, Philippians 1:27-2:18, Psalm 72:1-20, Proverbs 24:11-12
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come… Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. (Isaiah 61:1,7)
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:13)
Relate: At it’s peak it is estimated that about 50 million people lived in the Persian empire at its peak. That was 2 in 5 people living on the planet were its subjects. The queen of all these people, Vashti, upset her husband and he had her deposed. This, of course, means it is time to go find a new queen and the bureaucrats are tasked with collecting the prettiest women from “all the land” to present to the king for him to chose from. We don’t know how many were actually chosen but it was probably a hundred or so at most… out of tens of millions to chose from.
Have you ever seen a beauty pageant? I haven’t ever intentionally sat down to watch one but I have vague memories of watching a bit with my sister and mom back in the day. They all look the same to me. There’s pretty, beautiful, and very beautiful. Once someone reaches that “very beautiful” stage there’s no real way to tell between them. It’s all arbitrary. At least that’s my opinion and I think I’m standing on solid ground because my mom was rooting for one, my sister another and I was rooting for New York (of course). I’m pretty sure none of our picks made the finals so the judges all had their own opinions, different from ours. If you collected a group of a hundred random people to pick the prettiest one in a pageant, I’m sure you’d have at least ten favorites with no clear winner. Beauty, beyond a certain point is completely arbitrary.
So here you have a beauty pageant going on for the king of Persia. These girls are prettied up as good as you can get. They’re all beautiful. They’re all being given the best hair, makeup, and fashionable clothes that the most powerful man in the world at that time can buy. But it says that Esther, a minority orphan girl who happened to be one of the contestants “won the favor of everyone who saw her.” Everyone. That doesn’t happen in beauty pageants. It’s not possible. There is something supernatural going on here.
React: Each and every one of us is given natural gifts and talents. Mine and Esthers are clearly not the same. No matter how much I look at my face in the mirror and convince myself that I am the most handsome man in the world, nobody else seems to agree with me. Not even my mom. (I have three brothers and they’re all younger, taller, with better tans and more hair on their heads) No matter. It doesn’t matter how abundant our gifts or how devoted we are to sharpening our talents, it is not enough. There will always be someone else with just as much and at a certain level, the intangibles will come into play.
That is where we, as Christians, have a leg up. God is the ultimate intangible. When our talents and gifts are moving in the same direction as God’s will and anointing we are unstoppable. So what is His will and for what purpose is His anointing? To proclaim good news to the poor, comfort for the brokenhearted, release for the captives, freedom for the prisoners and and blessing for those who mourn. Ultimately Esther won her beauty pageant so that she might be queen when her people, an oppressed minority, needed rescuing. God positioned her in just the right place to maximize her gifts. When we use our talents to bring spiritual and social justice to our word we are unstopable. When we use our gifts and talents for our own selfish purposes, they are wasted. And it will never be enough.
God, first of all I want to thank You again for the gifts and the talents You have given me. Help me to live a disciplined life that I might sharpen and develop them more and more. Like Esther I ask that You position me so that they might be maximized. I want to be a chain breaker. I want to be a world changer. Through You, I know that it can and that it is happening. Show me how.