Today our country remembers the life of Queen Elizabeth II, the late Queen of England. A remarkable woman who believed she was positioned by God to serve her country. She was noted for her beauty in her youth, and her grace in her old age. Many say she was not borne to that position but she believed she was.
I don’t follow the royal family but I watched some of the historical programs that were aired after her passing and am quite in awe of the late Queen. Every single day of her life was consecrated and devoted in duty to her country, her family and ultimately to God.
She knew what she was about.
Very recently, I was studying the life of another queen in the bible. Queen Esther of Persia. She wasn’t borne to that position by birth but she found herself there, positioned by God. By various obscure circumstances she underwent an enormous amount of pressure, in order that God could place her ultimately where He had ordained her to be and use her effectively.
Overall, God is sovereign. We have our sects and class systems in societies but God isn’t limited by that. Esther was orphaned, adopted into her cousin Mordecai’s household, and because of her beauty was placed on a royal throne, in order that she would save a whole nation by her courage; public courage that had been shaped and developed by private turmoil.
In the harem’s quarters she had undergone beauty and aroma therapies to enhance her natural beauty. But it wasn’t just her physical beauty that was so compelling. If you read her account, it was her character. She pleased people around her. She modelled decorum but, no doubt she was also feisty and competitive to rise in a harem and survive. She followed the instructions of those around her that led to her success. First Mordecai, then the eunuchs in charge of her and ultimately, the king. Even when she went to seek the king’s audience at the cost of her own life, she stood in a court outside his throne room to catch his eye. No doubt she displayed a humble stature but looked as inviting as all the luxury offered to her were possible.
The bible says the king was pleased with her when he saw her. The bible doesn’t say he was pleased with her beauty, although undoubtedly, he was. We all like to rest our eyes on beauty. Interesting in itself, that phrase. Our eyes ‘rest’ when we look on beauty. God has put that in us. Enjoyment. Pleasure. Appreciation. The bible says he was pleased with her.
I surmise, because he had known her and spent time with her, he knew her character; she wasn’t there for attention or to impose herself on him; she wasn’t there as any kind of threat to him or to waste his time. I surmise he appreciated her desire to see him for a purpose; he admired her courage in coming to him – he knew his own power over her in that moment and her willingness to face that threat to her life; he understood the trust she placed in him to receive her; and he was intrigued by her, so much so that he wanted to know what was so important to her that she would come before him uninvited.
Every situation was orchestrated by God for Esther to be where she was at the time she was there. Including what went before. He needed her character to be moulded to be able to use her.
That’s the beauty that mattered to God. Esther’s physical beauty was necessary, but just as important was the beauty of her willing character and courageous heart.
Mordecai also exemplified such courage and staggering effectiveness in his office at the king’s court. If they had not followed God and allowed themselves to be developed in humility to God - who they knew to be the one and only God rather than the many other deities the Persians worshipped and even the king himself - they would not have been able to be positioned in such prominent positions with such colossal effect.
They both knew what they were about.
We may not see humility from a distance when we look at the position of people like Queen Elizabeth II or even Queen Esther in the bible. But humility is the kind of beauty that matters to God. Humility to act in accordance with duty and what is right at personal expense.
Esther’s physical beauty and duty to submit to the regimes that looked after her mattered to God too, otherwise she wouldn’t have been noticed by anyone. But after reading Queen Esther and Mordecai’s story again, I came away with 12 things that mattered to God. I see them as beauty that mattered. They mattered in their character, positioning and effectiveness.
These necessities are spoken of all through the bible, so they’re important that we too, cultivate this kind of beauty that matters.
✤The necessity of willingness
✤The necessity of complete surrender to God
✤The necessity of a social conscience
✤The necessity of self-sacrifice
✤The necessity of bonding
✤The necessity of advocacy
✤The necessity of steel in your backbone
✤The necessity of endurance
✤The necessity of doing what’s required
✤The necessity of developed character
✤The necessity of favour from God and man
✤The necessity of God’s positioning
I pray we will also be equipped and beautified, positioned and effective in whatever it is that God ordains. I pray that we know what we are about, and go about His business.