The book of Esther gives us many lessons to learn and apply in our lives. Though it only has a few chapters that didn't even explicitly mention the name of God, it records in detail how God's hand was upon His people for their deliverance.
What can we learn from the book of Esther, particularly in the life of the young woman named Esther?
A woman who helped save God's people
Esther, the wife of Persian King Ahasuerus, was a Jewish woman raised by her cousin named Mordecai. She was known as Hadassah before being named Esther. The king loved her and made her queen, replacing the former queen named Vashti.
Esther's position as queen wasn't by coincidence, and her cousin recognized that. During her time as queen, a man close to the king hatched a plot to exterminate the Jews. This man's name was Haman.
Mordecai, seeing God's hand upon Esther, called her to stand up and fulfill God's plan for her by telling her these famous words:
"Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (see Esther 4:13-14)
Esther then called on all the Jews to fast with her as she worked for the deliverance of the Jews from Haman's plot. (see Esther 4:15-5:8, 7:1-9:17)
So what can we learn from Esther?
Lessons from a young Jewish girl
Christian men and women can -- and should -- take lessons from Esther's life and what she did for God's people.
Here are some things we can learn from her.
1) Seek wise counsel
Esther was receptive to wise counsel.
She grew up being taught by Mordecai, who served "within the king's gate" (see Esther 2:19). She listened to his every counsel, and later on fulfilled her role in God's plan.
While there in the women's quarters, she received counsel from Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of all the women.
She asked his advice prior to meeting the king, which then proved a good thing to do: "And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her," and "The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti." (see Esther 2:15,17)
2) Do what is right without fear
Esther was in the position to counter Haman's plot, but she was in a tight spot:
She was the only one who could do it, but she might get killed given the circumstances.
Esther knew that anyone, even her, would be killed if she would enter the king's inner court without being summoned (see Esther 4:11). She also knew, through Mordecai's words, that if wouldn't do anything, her people would be killed (see Esther 4:13-14).
Despite her fear, she did what she had to. She sought God, and then she sought the king's favor (see Esther 4:15-5:3).
We must not fear anything as we do what God wants us to do. Esther's life tells us that.
3) Work for the good of God's people
The historical account in the book of Esther showed us that God's enemies had to be killed so that His people could be saved. This gives us a very powerful spiritual parallel:
That we should all be working to save people from death.
God considers His people as special to Him (see Deuteronomy 7:6). What many of us fail to understand is that while the nation of Israel is precious to Him, He actually wants all men to be saved (see 1Timothy 2:4).
Esther and Mordecai's efforts to save the Jews should motivate us Christians to work for the salvation of all men.
Their efforts to foil the enemy's plot against their people should motivate us to pray hard and wage spiritual warfare for the betterment of Christians and all people everywhere.
We should all strive to follow Christ, preaching the Gospel that saves all men from sin and death.