August 9-10, 2008
Strength and Dignity
by Charles R. Swindoll
Esther exhibited a grace-filled charm and elegance. In this verse, the literal translation of the original language says, "She lifted up grace before his face." Isn't that a beautiful expression? Though she was brought to the harem and participated in these things reluctantly, Esther did not display a sour attitude. I'm convinced she sensed God's hand in her situation. Why else would she have been there? Finding herself unable to say no, Esther modeled grace before the face of the king's influential servant, Hegai. What a difference between Esther and all the other women around her. Her inner qualities could not be ignored. They, in fact, captured the attention of the king's servant.
Esther exhibited an unusual restraint and control. She told no one she was Jewish. Why? Because that is what Mordecai instructed her to do. Not even the head-spinning, Himalayan heights of the harem could tempt her to break her covenant with Mordecai.
God has given women an air of mystery. This is something, quite candidly, men don't have. We are a pretty predictable bunch. Yet how often I have heard a man say, "I just don't know how to figure her out. I just don't understand." For example, a woman will say, "What I need is a good cry." My friend, in all of my life I have never experienced a good cry. My wife knows them. Other women in our family know them. But it's a mystery to men. I'm honest; I've never been able to figure out how you can feel good after crying.
There is an unexplainable air of mystery about a woman, an unpredictability that men find intriguing. Esther's ability to restrain herself only heightens the mystery---especially her verbal restraint. She knew much more than she told. She could keep a secret.
Verbal restraint is fast becoming a forgotten virtue. Thanks to tell-all tabloids and hide-nothing television talk shows, nothing is restrained. When was the last time anyone in the media blushed? Yet restraint and control always work in your favor. Learn to keep confidences. Come to be known for keeping secrets! It's part of having character marked by strength and dignity.
Then, perhaps, you too can lift up grace before His face.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.