Discretion (Esther #7)

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Text: Esther 2:15-19

Esther stands out among the many women the king sees.  This is the original “Bachelor” TV show since the winner became the Queen of the largest and most powerful empire in the world.

Now, there are a number of preachers and teachers who say Esther is going to sleep with King Ahasuerus.  They say these women are spending the evening with the king which means the king is sleeping with each one to see which one he wants to marry.  First of all the king is looking for a queen, not a concubine or a girlfriend.  He is spending time with these women to see if they meet his standard for being queen.  That standard is not fornication.  No, the king is looking for royalty, companionship, wisdom, grace, and pleasure.  There has to be much more depth to the queen than just pleasure.  He’s already had his hands full with one wife who was beautiful to look at, but a terrible wife.

There is one characteristic that really stands out in these verses that qualifies Esther.  That characteristic is discretion.

Discretion: that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; nice discernment and judgment, directed by circumspection, and primarily regarding one’s own conduct.

Discretion is careful (vs 15)

  • Esther required nothing.
  • I imagine these ladies going on a “date” with the king are putting on the best show they can possibly put on.
    • There are some thinking they can flatter him and become queen.
    • There are some thinking they can seduce him into becoming queen.
    • There are some thinking they can advise him, wow him with intellect.
    • There are some thinking they can dramatize and reel in the king.
    • Then there is Esther.
  • Esther is very careful in what she’s going to need or not need before the king.
    • Esther has already obtained favor with the king’s chamberlain who sees in her the potential to be the queen in Esther 2:8-9.  So she has already impressed some people closest to the king.
    • Esther takes advice from experience.  She takes counsel from Hegai of what the king will like because he knows the king personally and is responsible to him.
    • Psalms 112:5 A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.

Discretion is circumspect (vs 15)

  • I notice a trend with Esther.  That trend is that folks who are around her really like her.
  • And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.  She had already obtained favor with the king’s right hand people and now the consensus is that everyone enjoys being around Esther.
  • Circumspect is like circumference of a circle; it is considering things in all directions.
  • Ephesians 5:15-16 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Discretion is good judgment (vs 17)

  • The king knows what it will take to be queen.  He knows the pressures and responsibilities of royalty.  He knows what he needs in a queen and he finds it in Esther.  Now you really begin to see the kind of person Esther is and how her qualities would be desireable to anyone with responsibility.  Esther’s qualities are contrary to the western cultural view of heroic women but that’s what will make her royalty.
  • Recognition of discretion to lead people
    • It is a quality required of someone with responsibility.  Genesis 41:33 Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt.
  • And it is of particular value for a woman’s guidance in the home.  Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
  • Discretion is a characteristic of God.
    • Jeremiah 10:12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
    • Any reasonable person can see that the heavens were not made carelessly, but rather with discretion.
    • They weren’t flung into existence by any explosion.  If that were the case, you could never be guided by them because there would be no order to it.  There would be no consistency in seasons or times.
  • Discretion is what God used to calculate all of that and stretch out the heavens.
    • Therefore, discretion is a guide.
    • Isaiah 28:26 For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.
    • It is the characteristics of God that help a person navigate an evil world.  Godliness is profitable in all things.

Discretion replaces indiscretion (vs 17)

  • Esther is set in contrast to Vashti, the last queen.  She is the opposite of discretion which is carelessness, disregard, ignorance, and neglect.
  • Vashti was unaware of the consequences of her decision to openly defy the king.  She didn’t consider and didn’t care how it would ripple through the kingdom.  She acted on her impulses.
  • Proverbs 11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.  The beauty is in the wrong place.  It doesn’t belong on the pig.  And the indiscretion, the pig, is not something you can beautify.

Discretion leads to honor (vs 18)

  • Interesting note about the timing that Esther becomes queen.  Tenth month = December.  Twlefth month is Purim at the end of the book of Esther and occurs in February and March, depending on when Passover falls and leap years.  That would make the tenth month December in some cases.  So note what the king is doing at the end of December in verse 18: feasting, sending out press release, and giving gifts.  Sounds like Christmas.

Discretion is self control

  • She successfully controlled the lusts of the flesh and the lust for a relationship as a young lady.
  • Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

Discretion is safety (vs 19)

  • Antisemitism was rampant.  Ezra 4:6
  • Proverbs 2:11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
  • Discretion is the difference between life and death