7 lessons from the book of Esther
Just a few weeks ago, I read the book of Esther wholly for the first time (as long as I remember).
Of course, I knew about Esther and had even read a couple of chapters from the book too. However, I didn’t realize how little I knew about the story of Esther.
As I read the book of Esther, I kept wondering where I got the idea of how things happened because the idea I had in my head wasn’t exactly as it was in the Bible. Perhaps it was from watching cartoons or movies about Esther or Sunday school or even my imagination 😂
Thinking about it properly, I think I just knew the core story of Esther and not the details.
Sometimes you know about a person from the Bible but you don’t exactly know the whole story. Have you ever heard something about a Bible character (eg. David) and be like, ‘that happened?’
It’s because we know the summary or core story of that character but don’t exactly know some details that are beneficial.
This is why I encourage you to read your Bible, especially if you hear something new and wonder if that’s in the Bible. A great way to know for sure and understand it is to read that story, chapter or book entirely.
I decided to read the book of Esther because I kept hearing her story around me. From her being mentioned in church, to my dad using her to teach my siblings and I about being in a foreign land. So, I decided to study the book for myself and I learned a few things. It was quite interesting and thought provoking.
Because of that, I will be sharing with you 7 lessons I got from the book of Esther.
#1 Esther had favour with men and it could be as a result of being well mannered
Esther 2:8-9 talks about how Hegei, one of the king’s Eunuchs in charge of the harem(where the king keeps his concubines), was impressed (the word used according to NLT version) with Esther and treated her kindly. He even gave her the best maids and placed her in the best place in the Harem.
I couldn’t help but wonder why Hegei was impressed with Esther and I thought; could it be because of God’s favour on her life or the way she behaved or even both?
Hegei also told her what to do before she goes before the king to gain favour in the king’s presence (Esther 2:15).
In Esther 2:20, we see that Esther kept her family background and nationality a secret. The Bible says in that verse ‘she was still following Mordecai’s directions, just as she did when she lived in his home’.
That verse is evidence that Esther was an obedient and well behaved girl. This could be why Hegei liked her. It could be totally God’s favour but I believe it was both.
If Esther wasn’t behaved well, I don’t think she might have gotten the type of favour she got from Hegei.
Men don’t just see you and want to favour you; they don’t look at your heart but look outwardly. For Esther, it could be by divine intervention, it could be the little things Hegei saw or it could be God doing both for Esther. However, there’s an important lesson to note there.
As Christians, we have to always do what is good and right. Be humble, do what you’re supposed to do, submit to authority. Man isn’t like God that looks at the heart. Man looks at appearance, what they see and Hegei, apart from God’s favour, saw how Esther behaved and liked her.
It’s also important to build character. Sometimes you pray for an opportunity but when it comes, are you ready? Have you been prepared? Have you built character? Have you built the skill set necessary for that big opportunity that has come?
If you’re not ready, you can’t sustain that opportunity, no matter how good it is and it won’t be God’s fault.
Esther prepared in Mordecai’s house and it paid off in character. This is what Hegei probably saw that made him want to help her.
#2 God’s plan to put you in a position of influence and power is more than just for your enjoyment/benefit of the position.
Esther became the queen and although it was such a beautiful position to be in, she realized that she had the power to do something concerning the decree against the Jews.
You can see the same thing with Joseph, who was elevated to the position of prime minister, second to Pharaoh. His position and influence was for a reason; to preserve Israel and his children.
Another example within the book of Esther is Mordecai. Esther 9:3-4 talks about how the nobles, officials and basically people in high places helped the Jews and it was because they feared Mordecai. Verse four (4) says ‘For Mordecai had been promoted in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces as he became more and more powerful.’
Esther 10:3 also reads ‘Mordecai the Jew became the prime minister, with authority next to that of King Xerxes himself. He was very great among the Jews, who held him in high esteem, because he continued to work for the good of his people and to speak up for the welfare of all their descendants.’
Mordecai understood that his position and fame was for a purpose and he used it well. Same thing with Esther.
We pray for elevation and to be in a place of influence. What are you doing with the little influence you have? Are you propagating the spread of the gospel or it’s just for chill and soft life?
When God gives you so much money, how are you going to spend it? Only on yourself and immediate family? Is that why God prospered you?
This is something to think about.
#3 Esther was a wise woman
When Esther took the risk of appearing before the king without his permission, she didn’t go on to talk about the destruction of her people. One would have thought she go straight to the point, after all, that’s why she and the Jews fasted for three (3) days.
However, Esther didn’t do that. Instead, she invited the king and Haman to a banquet and this delighted the king (Esther 5).
You would think in the banquet, after the king had eaten some food and drank enough wine, that she would talk about the real reason for the banquet. She didn’t. Even after the king asked her, she simply said she wanted him and Haman to come for another banquet the next day (Esther 5:6-8).
It was in the second banquet that she revealed Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews.
This got me thinking, why didn’t she just tell the king when she was granted mercy to show up in his presence unannounced? Why didn’t she talk about the destruction of the Jews even in the first banquet but she had to wait for the second banquet.
I concluded that Esther was simply a wise woman and one led by God. She probably knew that if she talked about Haman’s plot when she entered the king’s presence, she would have had little to no success.
This could be because the king might get angry knowing this was why she came to his court unannounced or maybe the king’s court officials might have aggravated things or discouraged her.
She could have mentioned it in the first banquet right? I think so too but maybe she really wanted to please the king so he sees that she’s just not after a request. Maybe it could be something else, but either way, making her request known in the second banquet was successful.
In that second banquet, Esther didn’t start telling king, the king had to ask her what she wanted (Esther 7:2). I think at this point, she got the king’s attention because he was curious and needed to know.
Look at how Esther answered the king in Esther 7:3-4. She didn’t start by saying ‘Haman is plotting against my people’ no.
Esther carefully talked about how she wanted her life and the lives of her people to be spared. She knew the king cherished her, and after the banquet she just gave, she did have an effect on him.
Look at how the king replied in verse 5, ‘Who would do such a thing?” King Xerxes demanded. “Who would be so presumptuous as to touch you?’
Notice how he only focused on her and not her people she spoke about. That’s interesting right?
Esther replied that it was Haman and the king got so angry that he stepped out, into the palace garden.
Unfortunately for Haman, in his despair, he fell on the couch where Esther sat, to beg her and just then the king returned and said ‘will he even assault the queen right here in the palace before my very eyes?’ And that was the end for Haman because as soon as the king said that, the king’s attendants took him away and had him executed.
Clearly, God was indeed working and He gave Esther the wisdom on how to approach the king, including how she made her request known before him. Esther was so graceful in speech and composure.
In our daily walk in this life, we should be wise and not talk carelessly. As Christians, we have the Spirit of God in us that helps us. He leads us right and He is our advantage.
In this world, you have to be wise in the things you do. You can call out the wrong things, do things that are well in your rights and privilege to do but are you doing it the wise way?
Learn from Esther.
#4 Surround yourself with wise people and heed to wise counsel
Haman, although evil, wasn’t exactly surrounded by wise people. If he was, maybe he wouldn’t have plotted against the Jews and even planned to impale Mordecai.
One time when Haman talked about how he felt about Mordecai, his wife Zeresh and his friends gave him the idea of setting up sharpened poles for Mordecai to be impaled on (Esther 5:14). If only Zeresh knew she would lose her husband and children to her brilliant idea.
Yet another time, after the king used Haman as the man to honor Mordecai, Haman couldn’t heed to instructions, by his wise advisers and wife.
Here’s what Esther 6:13 says ‘When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, “Since Mordecai—this man who has humiliated you—is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him.”’
This time, Haman wasn’t with his friends but with his wise advisers and wife. It made me wonder why he didn’t even consult his wise advisers in the first place 🤔
Anyway, Haman’s wise advisers and his wife warned him but perhaps it was simply too late or maybe he was still bent on destroying the Jews because he felt greatly humiliated.
Either way, he wasn’t surrounded by wise people the first time and when he was with his wise advisers, he might have been too late because soon after, he went to the second banquet Esther invited him to and we know what happened there.
Your friends can help prosper or destroy you. It is important you be friends with wise people. The Bible encourages us to seek wise counsel.
Surround yourself with wise people.
#5 God is not an irresponsible God. He is provident in nature
Looking at the book of Esther, you can see that God was in control and orchestrated things even when we didn’t realize it.
God is the biggest strategist and master planner. He sees the whole thing and has a good plan to deliver His children.
While Haman hated Mordecai, God was establishing Esther as the queen. Haman made a plan to destroy the Jews, God planned for Esther to be queen to help when the time came.
While Haman plotted to impale Mordecai (Esther 5:14) , God made the king uneasy that night that he couldn’t sleep and so he brought out the Book of History to read (Esther 6:1-4). It was in the course of doing so that he decided to honor Mordecai.
A decree had still been stamped that could not be reversed but God gave Mordecai the wisdom to write another decree that counteracted it (Esther 8:9-11). God also elevated Mordecai in the king’s palace and gave him the influence that made other men of high ranking help the Jews (Esther 9:3-4).
If any Jew was watching while these things were happening, they would have thought God didn’t care. However, we see that He did and it all worked out well for them because the Jews were now feared and some people even became Jews. In all, God was honored.
Sometimes our situations look like God has left us and it makes us want to disregard Him. Don’t.
God is faithful and He is provident.
#6 Be humble and content
Haman was such a proud man. It was seen in several places in the book of Esther.
As a result of his pride, he indeed fell. He chose to mess with the wrong people and it backfired.
Pride lets in a lot of sin and it does so subtly. When people hear of pride, they think of an arrogant look. That’s part of it but pride comes even in little things such as wanting to be different, getting sad or angry when corrected and so on.
Watch out for these little things. I pray God exposes them and corrects them as well so you become better and live better. Pride is dangerous and destroys.
#7 In all, God uses situations for His glory and to draw people to him.
This is evident in Esther 8:17 which says
‘In every province and city, wherever the king’s decree arrived, the Jews rejoiced and had a great celebration and declared a public festival and holiday. And many of the people of the land became Jews themselves, for they feared what the Jews might do to them.’
The book of Esther was such a fun book to study and I loved every part of it. I was able to learn new things but also had a few question and one of them is 👇🏾
Why did the Jews take no plunder (Esther 9:15-16)?
Was it to make a statement?
Anywho, if you have an answer for me, I’d love to hear and discuss it.
What did you like about the book of Esther?
Is there a lesson that stood out to you in the book of Esther that I didn’t mention?