This lesson covers chapter four of a ten part series from the book of Esther. It can be used for Children’s Church and Sunday School. Though God’s name is never mentioned in this book, this lesson helps to see how God uses people to bring about His will.
Note: The book of Esther can be difficult to relate back to Jesus and his Good News. One clear connection is the promise that the Savior would be born from the family of Abraham. The plot to eliminate the Jews (the promised family) was a threat to God’s promise. When God saved Esther and the Jews in Persia, he was also protecting the future birth of Jesus according to his promises. The saving work of Christ was directly tied to God’s saving work in the book of Esther.
Bible Story: Esther’s Important Decision
Scripture: Esther 4:1-17
Target Age Group: Age 7 – 12 (U.S. 1st – 6th Grade)
Time: 20 Minutes
Learning Context: Children’s Church
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson…
- Children express what they learned about the key people and events in this chapter by retelling the story to the other children.
- Children show their understanding about the response of Mordecai and Esther to the decree for the Jews to be annihilated.
- Children discuss the important message Mordecai gave to Esther if she refused to go before king.
- [print_link] this lesson plan
- Bible: Esther 4:1-17. Prepare beforehand a copy of the important points highlighted to ensure specific explanations on them.
- Visual Aids: Pictures of Mordecai (mourning, if possible) and Esther. Try searching Google Images.
- brown pillow case (prepared beforehand with place for child to put head and arms and tears to make it easy to rip);
- costume for those times (representing clothes Esther tried to give Mordecai to change into from sack clothe);
- dark out for adult to represent sack clothe (prepared beforehand to tear easily).
Children’s Church Teaching Plan:
Establish the lesson by briefly explaining whom the key people to this particular chapter of Esther and show pictures of Esther and Mordecai. Make sure the children repeat their names and review to see what they remember about the events from the previous chapters. See if anyone can remember the reason Haman passed the decree to annihilate the Jews.
Prior to reading the story, divide the children into two groups and ask one half to listen and identify the different responses of Mordecai and Esther. Ask the other half to identify Mordecai’s message to Esther if she refused to go before king.
Read (and Recap) Esther 4:1-17. Read with different voice inflections and stop to involve the children into the story. Reinforce the lesson by asking questions and dressing up as Mordecai and ripping sack clothe to show him mourning. What did Mordecai do when he discovered a decree to kill him and his people had been made by Haman? He tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out to the city crying really loud and hard. How did Esther respond when she found out what Mordecai was doing in the city? She sent clothes to Mordecai and had him brought to her. Why was Esther afraid to go before the king? He hadn’t asked her to come and could be killed for coming without being summoned. Ask the children to imagine they are Esther and talk about how they would respond.
When you’re finished reading the story, use the pictures to review the important people and event in the story.
Ask for a response from each of the groups about their listening assignment. What did they learn about Mordecai and Esther’s response to the decree for the Jew’s annihilation? What important message did Mordecai give to Esther if she refused to go before the king?
Children’s Church Lesson Evaluation:
Select two volunteers to demonstrate the lesson by acting out Mordecai and Esther. Chose a child who will be able to present Mordecai without getting to silly when ripping sack clothe and mourning. Have the other children retelling the story and reiterate the method of mourning as well as the warning Mordecai gave to Esther if she refused to seek the help of the king. Remember to prompt the children by asking, “What happened next?”
Ask for a volunteer to explain Mordecai’s message to Esther.
Give a list of possible lessons from this chapter and ask the children to shout, “Amen” if it was in the story.
- Mordecai mourned for his people in city with sackcloth and ashes. Yes.
- The king gave power to Haman to make decrees. True, but not in this story.
- Esther was chosen from all the girls to be the next queen. True, but not part of this story.
- Esther hadn’t seen the king in a while. Yes.
- Esther had to risk her life to talk to the king about the decree. Yes.
- The king liked to give banquets. True, but not part of this story.