Preparing To Meet The King
12 Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women.
When we read the book of Esther, we discover the process of what women went through to prepare themselves to meet the king. If you were one of the several chosen to live in the palace, there was a cleansing process you had to go through, not to mention a good teaching on etiquette. But why?
First you have to consider the one they were meeting, the king! We know that the king receives the best of everything and this includes his concubine and a queen. It was extremely important for these women to be looking good and smelling right which they must have worked hard at to obtain his attention.
Second, you have to consider where they lived and the elements they lived under. It was hot and this means much sweating. So for twelve months, they were washed, scrubbed, and perfumed to remove the stench that can come when living in the heat. Plus when going through the cleansing process, this would produce a smooth and supple skin which would be soft to the touch. Myrrh was used get the skin clean, smooth, and solid, and for giving strength to the body. The perfumes were used due to the hot living conditions which produced sweat and smell.
Third, it’s highly probable they received courses in etiquette in how to conduct themselves in a proper manner in both words and actions. Somewhere along the way, King Ahasuerus previous queen, Queen Vashti, failed in this department and was the reason she was dismissed as we see in Esther 1. Queen Vashti apparently became too comfortable in her position as the Queen and began to disrespect King Ahasuerus. Worse yet, she did it in front of others during a feast for all his officials and servants—the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces who he was entertaining at the time (Esther 1:3-4). We see exactly what happened in Esther 1:12 when the king commanded his seven Eunuchs to bring Queen Vashti to him, wearing her royal crown in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials. In other words, he wanted to show her off:
“12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him.”
Queen Vashti disrespected her husband, the king, in front of many people by disobeying his order to come to him. What Queen Vashti failed to see was the harm she could cause the king and to others around her. In Esther 1:16-20, we see what the outcome of her words and actions could bring if not addressed quickly:
16 And Memucan answered before the king and the princes: “Queen Vashti has not only wronged the king, but also all the princes, and all the people who are in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus. 17 For the queen’s behavior will become known to all women, so that they will despise their husbands in their eyes, when they report, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought in before him, but she did not come.’ 18 This very day the noble ladies of Persia and Media will say to all the king’s officials that they have heard of the behavior of the queen. Thus there will be excessive contempt and wrath. 19 If it pleases the king, let a royal decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she. 20 When the king’s decree which he will make is proclaimed throughout all his empire (for it is great), all wives will honor their husbands, both great and small.”
Her words and actions could cause other women to feel they could disrespect their husband’s as well. As queen, she was not living up to her position she was chosen for. It’s not about position, but about setting the right example in that position. Anyone can fill a position, but not all can set the right example in that position. We see in Proverbs 31:10-12 it gives many roles of a virtuous wife but one is not to cause harm (or evil) to her husband:
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
The final outcome for Vashti was that she lost her position as queen and was replaced with Esther, a more humble woman who showed respect to the king. Vashti’s dethroning was used as an example for all women.
As the body of Christ, we know that we are being prepared to meet our King, Jesus. This invitation to be with Him is not just for women but for all people. We are being cleansed, scrubbed and oiled due to the harsh elements of the daily life we live in which can be very hot causing us to smell horrible spiritually. Sin does that. Yet when we continue to live in heated conditions, yet prepare ourselves to meet Jesus through his rigorous cleansing, scrubbing and oiling of our heart and spirit and in the reading of the Bible and through prayer, we become purified and cleansed. Through God’s Word, we are taught how to conduct ourselves in the proper manner as the future spouse. In the time of Esther, much was about the outward appearance, but for our King, Jesus, it’s all about the heart and our internal beauty.
How many have been chosen, given the invitation to be with Jesus but have not accepted that invitation? How many more have accepted His invitation, yet have not continued on with the cleansing process because it seemed to take too much time or they only follow through with some of the process but not all of it? We must not become weary in our cleansing process. We must put in as much effort and enthusiasm to clean ourselves up and make ourselves presentable as we would for those we are plan to marry. It is easy to become distracted by the things of the world and lose sight of the one right in front of us. How many times have we allowed worldly pleasures to come first before our spouses, children and other loved ones? Soon they will begin to feel unloved and unimportant.
Jesus sends out many invitations to be with Him but sadly many do not accept it. Those who do accept his invitation go through a cleansing process before the wedding at the end of time. If you have been going through this cleansing process, how are you doing? Do you find yourself respecting people or disrespecting them? Are you cleansing yourself through prayer and reading the Word daily? Are you applying the Word and producing a sweet aroma?
Take the time today to get with the Lord to see what areas still need cleansing. Ask Him to show you and allow Him to scrub you clean so when the time comes you will be ready for your King!