Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bitterness and Beauty

"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." ~ Ester 2:12

The many references to myrrh in the Bible have always fascinated me.  I continually wondered why it used in beauty treatments and given as gifts to kings.  We don't hear much about it in this day and age. I mean my  Christmas list doesn't include oil of myrrh, so what is the significance?  Well I decided to use some prior knowledge and do a bit of research on it.

The above verse speaks to me personally because I felt God calling me to give him a year (2012), to refocus on him and for some major healing and restoration to be done in my life.  When I read this passage, it confirmed that He wanted to take me through twelve months of beauty treatments.  Hmmm...so why the first six months with oil of myrrh?

The Hebrew word for myrrh is "Mowr" which means distilled and comes from the root word marar which means bitterness.  The process of distilling is defined by dictionary.com as "The purification or concentration of a substance, the obtaining of the essence or volatile properties contained in it, or the separation of one substance from another by such a process."  

Ouch!  That sounds a tad bit painful.  So this beauty treatment begins with God distilling me.  He is separating out the yuck from the greatness, and then purifying me.  Purifying and distilling isn't always such a pleasant thing, now is it?!?! But if the end result is purification, then bring it on!

Now, there is also the word bitterness, which is the root word of myrrh.  Well I thought that was weird but then remembered several years back when a friend told me to try some as a natural health remedy, almost an internal cleanse.  I purchased a bottle at the local health food store and did indeed try it.  The directions were to mix several drops with water or orange juice and drink quickly.....BLAH!!!  I never have or had tasted anything so bitter in my life and I am not even exaggerating a little!  There was not one ounce of pleasantness in drinking myrrh, at all.  I continued to try and drink some each day, but it made me physically sick so I gave up.  It was way to bitter for my body to handle.

The way myrrh is extracted from the tree is by piercing the center, or heart, of the tree and allowing the gum to trickle out.  Then the gum hardens into droplets referred to as tears, bitter tears. To me, this process represents Jesus's suffering at Calvary. Pierced in the heart by our sins, and crying bitter tears for our freedom.  When Ester was prepared with myrrh, it showed that God allowed her to share in His sufferings (especially for His people).

I must say that I was honored to go through this year with Jesus.  To have him pull all the yuck out, purify me, and to extract these bitter tears that helped bring freedom in many areas of my life.  It was well worth it because the following six months were followed by perfumes and cosmetics.  He replaced all those tears with seeds of joy, hope, and beauty.  

When Ester's year was up and it was her turn to go before the king, she was given whatever she wanted to take with her and she chose to just bring herself.  This speaks immense  measures about her character and about the woman I want to be before God.  Ester did not need bells and whistles to go before her king.  Nor do you or I need to bring anything excepts ourselves before Our King, to accept us or to adorn us with love!  He wants to purify you and even though it may be painful, it is well worth it in the end! 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

Let's Pray:
Father God, thank you for the trials and tribulations of this life that help purify and extract bitterness out of me. Please help me remember that You will not give me more than I can handle and that each day is a purifying and beautifying process.  You are amazing Lord, and I know that your plan for me is the best there is yet, even though there will be bumps and bruises along the way.  In my weakness, you are strong! (2 Corinthians 12:10)
In Your Name, 
Amen

1 comment:

  1. Hi Laryssa! It was a pleasure meeting you this morning at New Day!

    I love your bright-colored blog (orange is my favorite color). :) Plus, I'd never thought much about myrrh before, so I learned something from this post. Thanks!

    Blessings,
    Rachelle

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