This week I taught on the first half of the book of Esther. So rich and full of amazing pictures of God’s husband-love to me.
Do you remember the story?
The great emperor King Ahasaurus sends out an edict to have beautiful young virgins come to him, so he can choose a new bride.
They come from all his vast provinces–some are rich, poor, some from Assyria, India, and as far away as Africa. Imagine the beautifully diverse young ladies making that long journey to the king’s rich and lavish palace.
After being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women— (Esther 2:12 ESV)
And when they get there, they join hundreds of other beautiful, hopeful girls, longing for a Cinderella story of their own. Oh, for the great king to notice me, that he would see something special in me, and choose me to be his bride. How many peasant girls hungered for this kind of love?
How I long for this kind of love, too.
And amazingly, my great King picked me–me!–to be his bride.
To love me, to call me his own, to marry me…
But, there’s a twist, isn’t there? Esther spent a year being beautified in preparation before she could even meet the king. I came to my King a mess, tarnished by sin, stinking, and used up. Jesus chose me in my sorry state. He saw beyond my ugliness to the beautiful bride he created me to be…
Then, by his love and presence, he made me beautiful, not because of anything in me, but because he is the essence of beauty–and when you’re loved by someone so glorious, you shine.
And the rest of my days he will continue to beautify me, making me ready. Sometimes the process is tedious or even painful, but the present suffering is “not worthy to be compared” with the glorious future that awaits me when I meet my groom face to face, and he takes my hand and leads me home to the place he has prepared for me.
And this treasured husband chooses you, too, dear friends.
Remember? He loves you like there’s no tomorrow.