It was a little over a year ago. I had been informed that all of the exercise classes I taught were now canceled. Due to this new outbreak of coronavirus, we were to immediately “shelter in place.” It came as quite a shock to me and everyone else as this was so unexpected and a huge disruption in our daily activities to stop everything at once….work, school, church, sporting events, concerts, shopping, medical appointments, spa treatments, eating out, socializing with friends and family – everything we were so used to doing without giving it a second thought.
The halt to life as we knew it was only supposed to last for “15 days to slow the spread” but it ended up lasting much longer. We got used to leaving the house only for necessities and keeping our distance from everyone. As the days dragged on, it started to feel confining, lonely, and hopeless – as if there was no end to this in sight. Looking back, however, I now have a completely different perspective.
A Year of Preparation
In the biblical account of Esther, King Xerxes was looking for a new queen to take the place of Queen Vashti because she had not obeyed his command to appear before him and the nobles at his royal banquet. The king appointed commissioners in every province of his realm. They were to find several beautiful young women to be placed under the care of the king’s eunuch so they could be given treatments to cleanse and beautify for an entire year to ready themselves before they were brought to the king.
Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. Esther 2:12
Perhaps there was a reason beyond what we could see why God would allow the whole world to be completely shut down. I believe it was a gift, through God’s mercy and grace, of extra time granted to each of us to shelter in place quietly with the Lord. He gave us a unique opportunity to shift our focus from off of ourselves and the busyness that filled our calendars with the pursuit of materialism and pleasures onto a deeper, closer relationship with Him. He alone is worthy of our affections and it was time to turn our attention back to Him. Like Esther, we were given a year to ready our heart, mind, and spirit so we would be prepared to meet our King.
Oil, Myrrh, and Perfume
Oil of myrrh was used in beautifying the women who were getting ready to meet King Xerxes. The purpose of oil is to soften the skin. Exposure to pollutants in the elements can prevent skin from feeling soft and smooth. When everything shut down, God allowed us to get away from so many ungodly things that polluted us inside. It was a step toward softening our heart that had been corrupted and hardened.
When we spend undistracted, quality time with God, we learn more about His love for us. His love is the oil that softens our heart, prompting us to be in a relationship with Him. The more we understand His love, the more we trust and desire to obey Him so we can bring Him glory with our life – an offering of a sweet smelling, perfumed fragrance to Him.
Once our heart is softened, we can then understand our need as a sinner for His forgiveness. The purpose of myrrh is to cleanse the skin. Jesus’ blood that He shed for us on the cross is the myrrh that cleanses us from all of our sin. Once we repent, we are seen as holy and righteous in His sight. If we refuse to repent, it creates a distance and strain in our relationship with God as our heart gets harder because of our pride.
A woman once told me she didn’t need to repent because she had never sinned. She was just shy of her 100th birthday, yet after all those years she still didn’t believe she had sinned. We know from Scripture there is no one righteous, not even one. (Romans 3:10). Over time, pride had hardened her heart like a stone. She could not see any need for God, so it was impossible for her to have a relationship with Him.
We can easily see the importance of both the oil and myrrh used in preparation to meet the King. We cannot take any credit for the actual softening or cleansing of our own heart, but we must do our part by being willing to let Him do His work in us.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My Laws and be careful to do what I tell you. Ezekiel 36:26-27
If you did not use the gift of extra time to press in closer to the Lord over the past year, know that it is never too late. You can start right now. That hour to meet Him is drawing nearer every day, so don’t squander the short time you have left on temporary pursuits in a world that is collapsing before our eyes.
Experience His overflowing love for you softening your heart as you spend time with Him in prayer and digging into His Word. There is so much eternal treasure to be found! And when you repent, know that you are completely cleansed with Jesus’ blood as all of your past, present and future sins are fully forgiven. You are made holy and righteous in His sight, prepared and ready to meet the King!
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:22
Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed and Kingdom Sparkle. To learn more, visit her website at kingdomsparkle.com.
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