Cross Words: Sovereign in the silence, VI

By Isaiah Pauley

The story of Esther unfolds in a kingdom—the Persian Empire of King Ahasuerus. And as followers of Christ, we exist for a King and His eternal Kingdom.

This week, we read how Esther is prepared for her one-night stand with King Ahasuerus. We read how she presents herself to the king. And how he throws a celebration in her honor.

But we belong to a Kingdom with a better King named Jesus Christ. So, with that in mind, let’s see how we experience a better preparation, presentation, and celebration than Esther.

God’s Word says, “Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Ahasuerus, 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—” (Esth. 2:12 ESV).

The girls receive 12 months of beauty treatments for one night with the king. Esther is one of those girls. And just as she prepares to see her king, we prepare to see our King. But it’s a better preparation. A joyful preparation. A readying of our hearts for the coming of Jesus Christ. And our King is not like King Ahasuerus. As the bride of Christ, we’re being beautified each and every day as we prepare for His arrival. But that preparation isn’t easy.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6-7 ESV).

As we prepare to see our King, we endure these trials. We count it joy when our faith is tested because we recognize that when our faith is tested, our endurance has a chance to grow (see James 1:2-4). It’s called sanctification. And we must endure because we’re preparing for a better King than Ahasuerus.

In verses 13 through 17, we read how the girls present themselves before King Ahasuerus. After a long process of preparation, each girl takes a turn with the king. Each girl spends one night with the king. And if the king happens to like her, she returns to his bed. But if he doesn’t delight in her, she lives in shame the rest of her days. Feeling dirty. Never to gain back what she lost that night. But Esther’s story is different.

“And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti” (v. 16-17 ESV).

Unlike King Ahasuerus, Jesus is a loving King. He calls us to Himself. Not to shame us. But to forgive us. Not to abuse us. But to heal us. Not to use us for His own selfish gain. But to satisfy the deepest cravings of our hearts.

The Bible says King Ahasuerus looks upon Esther with grace and favor (v. 17). It’s a selfish grace. A self-seeking desire. But Christ looks upon us with grace in our sinful state. Christ looks upon us in our brokenness. And one day, we’ll be presented before the King. Like Esther, we’ll receive a crown. Never to be cast away.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24 ESV).

It’s a better presentation for a better King.

Finally, in verse 18, we read about a celebration. God’s Word says, “Then the king gave a great feast for all his officials and servants; it was Esther’s feast. He also granted a remission of taxes to the provinces and gave gifts with royal generosity” (ESV).

Upon placing the crown on her head, King Ahasuerus throws a banquet. In fact, he even grants a remission on taxes. This guy is pretty excited. But our King is preparing an even greater feast. An even better celebration.

“‘Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God’” (Rev. 19:7-9 ESV).

We look forward to this celebration with the King. We look forward to the day when the Church, the Bride of Christ, is presented before the King. And it will be a glorious feast. A better celebration with a better King.

By Isaiah Pauley

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.