Exemplars and signposts
Tim Keller outlines two approaches to preaching about biblical characters as he preaches on Esther:
An example – even a great example – can only crush you. It's crushing because it's an inaccessible standard…But there's another way. Let me tell you how you can change. What if you didn't just see Esther as an example, but as a signpost, as a pointer?
…If you see Esther as an example and say, "Be like Esther!" it will crush you. You will never live up to it. But if you see Jesus as your Savior – not as an example of doing something for others but as a Savior doing it for you, and you know that you're that valuable to him and you know that your future is secure – that changes your identity.