Print off this free Sunday School lesson based on the book of Esther. It was first prepared for an older elementary Sunday School class. With some modification, you could also use it for a Children’s Church lesson or with younger students. Following the lesson are additional activities that can be helpful for your individual class’s needs.
Bible Story: God’s Purpose For Esther
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 12 (U.S. 3rd – 6th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
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This lesson is based on the whole of Esther 1-10. In preparation for class your should familiarize yourself with the Book of Esther. As you teach the lesson you can pull out key verses from the Book to teach the points you want to convey to the class.
Arrival Activities: Choose a few activities for your students to take part in as they arrive in the classroom. (Additional resources can be found at the end of this lesson.) It’s good to have choices that meet the particular needs of your students. Some students enjoy quietly coloring (even older students do this sometimes), working a word puzzle or even reading a Christian picture book. Have an active activity for the students who learn by doing. Floor puzzles, putting a Bible verse in order, or a memory game (Older children like memory games too. You can use index cards and put Biblical characters on one card and a fact about what that character did on another (this can be used as a review game at the end of teaching a series)). Activities should help the students to focus on the Lord and prepare them for the Bible lesson. Also keep in mind that the activities are an opportunity for the teacher to visit with the student and find out how their week went. This time is an opportunity for the Lord to give you insight to the needs of your students. On that note, it’s important to have your room set up in advance and if that’s not possible, choose simple activities that can be put out quickly so you can spend this time with your students.
Lesson Objective(s): Students will learn:
- Each person has great value to God.
- The purpose for every follower of Jesus is to be used by God and to be a Godly influence in the lives of others.
- God has given His children gifts to help others to see that He exists and He wants them to be a member of His family.
- We are to trust and obey God even when we don’t understand our circumstances.
Memory Verse: Esther 4:14b (NIV) “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.”
An activity for the students: Use a puzzle (floor size would be best). Give each student a piece of puzzle. Let them look at their individual piece. As you teach the verse talk about how with just our one piece of puzzle we can’t see what the whole puzzle will look like when put together. We can see bits and pieces of what might be the picture from our piece but as each of us begin to assemble the puzzle with our piece we see the bigger picture. This puzzle is like God’s plan for each of our lives. We only know such a small piece of God’s bigger plan. When we are obedient and faithful to what God has asked us to do, He uses us to be a part of His bigger picture.
Bible Lesson: God Created You For A Purpose.
This is just a guide to help you as you prepare to teach your class. Provide Bibles for students who did not bring one. In our class we have Bibles that had never been claimed from the lost and found. We use a readable version for the students so if they choose to volunteer to read a verse it is understandable to them.
God created you and me. He tells us in His Word that He knit us together while we were inside our mother’s wombs. Psalm 139:13-15 He knows every little detail about us. He knows how many hairs we have on our heads. Matthew 10:30 He knows what we like and what we don’t like. He made each of unique and there is no one created exactly like us in the whole world.
We live in a world that sometimes makes us think that we aren’t special because we are not popular, pretty, athletic, or as smart as others. Our value to God isn’t based on any of those things. He loves us because He created us and placed us in this world for a purpose. His purpose for placing each one of us on this earth is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. We glorify God when we live a life that pleases Him and points others to Him. When we live that kind of life we will enjoy God and all the blessings that come from Him.
Because God’s purpose is for each of us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever, He has given us gifts or talents that we can use to help others see that God exists and wants them to be a part of His family too.
Sometimes we know clearly what our gifts/talents are and how God wants to use us in this life. Other times we may not know what our gift and purpose is in this life. (If possible take a gift-wrapped box out of a bag and set on your lap.) Our lives are like this unopened present. We have received a present but we don’t know exactly what is inside until we take the wrapping paper off the present. As each of us walk with God by faith day by day, obeying His Word He begins to prepare us for what is inside that present. In God’s perfect time He allows the wrapping on the gift we have to come off and He allows us to see what the talent/ability for serving Him will be. Whether we know what gift God has given us or not, we are to live a faithful and obedient life that pleases God. Because even though we might not feel like we have a purpose and are not useful to God, He sees all that is going on around us. He knows how your life will affect the people around you.
We all influence the lives of others around us. Whether it’s your brother/sister or your classmates there is someone who is affected by the way you live your life. The question we need to think about this morning is: are you influencing people to want to know God and live for Him, or are you influencing people to disobey and rebel against God?
Let’s get right into the Bible story for today. It is found in the Book of Esther. Esther is found to the left of the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
Esther 2:6-7 (Have volunteer read these verses.) From these verses what do we learn about woman named Esther? Did anyone see what her other name she was known by? (Hadassah). We learn from this passage that Esther is a young Jewish woman. When we say Jewish what does that mean? (A person who is a descendant of Abraham, also known as an Israelite or Hebrew.) What happened to Esther’s parents? (They died.) Who raised Esther as his own daughter? (her cousin Mordecai)
These verses don’t tell us how Esther felt about her life. Did she feel like her life was valuable to God? Did she understand that God had a plan for her life that would influence the lives of many? We don’t know how she felt about these things. As we look at her life we will learn that God had great plans for Esther whether she realized it or not.
Mordecai, Esther’s older cousin was a Jewish man who was taken as a prisoner by King Nebuchadnezzar when he invaded and attacked Jerusalem. We have learned about some other Jewish people who were taken from their home in Jerusalem to Babylon. Do you remember who those people were? (Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego)
These verses don’t tell us a lot of how Mordecai felt either. We do know that he took care of Esther and raised her as if she were his own daughter. Because of things we will see as we travel through the Book of Esther we can see that Mordecai was a Jewish man who loved and obeyed the One True God. Since he loved and obeyed the One True God he must have taught Esther to love and obey God. We don’t know how Mordecai felt about his life and if he understood that God had a purpose for him either.
Mordecai simply obeyed His God and trusted Him. It doesn’t matter whether he understood God’s plan for his life. It is the same with us. Whether we understand God’s purpose or not, He values our lives and uses us exactly where He places us. Our job isn’t to fully understand what God’s purpose is. Our job is to trust God, obey His Word and walk with Him every day.
Esther 1 The king over the country Persia at this time was named Xerxes. He was a very rich king and had very fancy parties that lasted for days and days. One night King Xerxes commanded that his wife Queen Vashti come and show herself to all his men friends. Queen Vashti refused to do what the King commanded. This made Xerxes furious that his wife didn’t come and do what he commanded. The king’s helpers said, “This woman must go! We can’t have her setting a bad example for the other wives in your kingdom!” Xerxes followed their advice and did not allow Vashti to be queen anymore.
Esther 2 Xerxes must have felt better that he had punished the queen for her disobedience but soon after she left his palace he began to miss having a wife. King Xerxes’ helpers saw that Xerxes might be missing his wife Vashti. They came up with an idea. They told the king that he should bring all the beautiful young, pure women who have never been married to the city of Shushan and have a beauty contest. The woman who the king would choose would be the new queen.
The king thought this was a great idea. He had the beautiful young women from the cities in his kingdom brought to the city of Shushan so they could prepare for this beauty contest.
Esther the young Jewish woman lived in Shushan. Esther 2:7 says this about Esther: “Esther was lovely in form and features.” This means that Esther was physically attractive. She was chosen to be taken with the other young women to take part in the contest to become queen. This may not have been something that Esther wanted anything to do with. Maybe the thought of being Xerxes wife was not something she wanted to do at all. Not knowing what Esther’s feelings on this were we know that she obeyed and went where she was asked to go. She may not have understood but she chose to obey. God has a plan for His children and He places them exactly where He wants them so He can use them for His plan. Acts 17:24-28
After all the women went before the King, he liked Esther best of all. He chose her to be his Queen. It must have been scary for Esther. King Xerxes didn’t always behave in a nice way. She must have heard stories of his parties and how Queen Vashti was fired. What kind of husband would Xerxes be? Even though Esther may not have understood why she was chosen to be queen, God did. He had a plan and as we listen we will see how God uses Esther for His plan.
Before Esther became Queen. Mordecai told her it was important to not tell anyone that she was a Jew. The Bible doesn’t tell us why Mordecai asked this of her, but he did. Esther obeyed Mordecai because he was like a father to her and she knew that God would want her to honor and obey the man who was as a father to her.
Mordecai loved Esther very much and he sat at the king’s gate to be near to where Esther lived. One time while he was sitting by the gate he overheard two men planning to kill King Xerxes. He passed this information along to Ether and she told the King. The two men were put to death and Mordecai’s information about this plot was written down in the King’s history books.
The king had a helper who was wicked and cruel. He thought he was a very important man because he worked for the king. His name was Haman. King Xerxes promoted Haman to a position higher than the other officials in his kingdom. The king made a command that everyone should kneel and honor Haman when he was present.
Esther 3:5 One day as he walked by Mordecai he expected to bow down and honor him. Mordecai knew it was against God’s commandments to bow down to anyone but Him. He would not bow down to honor Haman. This angered Haman and caused him to hate Mordecai. He knew that Mordecai was a Jew so that made Haman hate all Jews.
Because Haman hated all the Jews he went to King Xerxes and asked the king to make a law that all the Jews to be killed. When he asked the king he didn’t mention the Jews by name but said, “There are certain people who live in your land who do not obey the king’s laws. The king listened to Haman and made a law that in the month of Adar all the Jews, men, women, and children would be destroyed. Esther 3:12-14
Boys and girls this was terrible news! God’s people the Jews were going to be destroyed because of wicked Haman’s plan. Haman was having every Jew killed because he hated them so much.
God loves His children and protects them from evil. He does not want His children destroyed. Esther 4:1-2 Mordecai found out about this terrible news that the Jews were going to be destroyed. The news broke his heart and caused him to cry out with loud cries and wailing. He put on sackcloth and ashes to show that he was mourning this horrible plot to destroy God’s people. He had messengers go and tell Esther that she had to do something to stop this wicked plan.
When Esther heard this news she was afraid. She knew that if she went to the king without being invited she could be killed right on the spot. Only people who were invited by the king could come and stand before his throne. Esther 4:12-13 Mordecai encouraged Esther and told her that it was for this time in her life that God had a plan to use her for His purposes. If she didn’t do something, God would use someone else to save His people.
Even though Esther might die, she decided that she would have others pray and fast with her. She would go to the king and tell him of this wicked plan to destroy her people. Even if it meant she might die doing it.
This took courage. God gave courage to Esther to go before the king. God gives courage to His children so that they can do the work He has for them.
After Esther and her people prayed and fasted for three days she went before the king. As she stood in the outer courts and King Xerxes saw her, she must have trembled on the inside. When she looked up at the king she saw a smile on his face and him holding out his scepter for her to touch. This was what a king did to show a person it was ok to come into the room where he was.
Queen Esther was trusting God to show her what to do so when the King asked her what she wanted, she invited him and Haman to a banquet. At the banquet she invited the king and Haman to attend another banquet the next night.
Because Esther trusted God and His timing she didn’t rush to tell Xerxes about Haman’s wicked plan. Because she waited and acted only when the time was right, God was able to work in other events that would bring together His plan for this situation.
Haman was so proud of himself that he had been the only one invited to attend the King and Queen’s banquet that he left the banquet very happy. As he walked by Mordecai on his way home he was furious that he would not kneel and honor him. When he arrived at home he boasted to his family about the events of the day and about his invitation to eat at the banquet with the king and queen. He also told his family about how much he despised Mordecai. Haman’s wife and his friends influenced him in a negative way. They told him that he should build a gallows so that Mordecai could be hung on it. Haman loved this idea and he had the gallows built.
Meanwhile the night before Esther’s banquet, the king could not sleep. God is control over all things. It is not an accident that the king could not sleep. Since Xerxes was unable to sleep he asked his servant to bring him a history book for him to read. It wasn’t an accident which history book was brought for him to read. As he read in this book he reads about the account of Mordecai overhearing the plot to have him killed. King Xerxes realized that Mordecai had not been honored and rewarded for saving his life so as he was planning how he could reward Mordecai, Haman is coming to his palace to request that he might be allowed to hang Mordecai on the gallows he has made.
As Haman enters the King’s presence the king asks him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”
Pride is an ugly thing. Pride blinds us to the true sinful person that we are. Haman was blinded by pride. He assumed the king wanted to honor him so he came up with the best way he would want to be honored. Imagine his horror when King Xerxes tells him to go and do to Mordecai all that he said about how to be honored!
It was now time for the banquet. Esther knew it was God’s time to tell the King that she and her people were going to be killed. Esther 7:5-8 She told the king that she was a Jew and there was a law that her people were going to be killed. The king was furious! “Who would dare to think about killing you?” The king loved his wife and the thought of her being killed made him angry. Esther pointed at Haman and said the enemy who wants to destroy the Jews is this wicked Haman!”
King Xerxes had Haman put to death on the gallows he had built for Mordecai as his punishment for his wicked plan.
God had used Mordecai and Esther to save His people from destruction. Esther went to Xerxes and pleaded with him to write a new law that would save her people. He agreed and made a new law that said on the day that the Jews were to be attacked that they could protect themselves from those who were going to attack them.
The Jews lives were saved because Esther was faithful and obeyed in the circumstance she was in. Many lives were positively affected because of her influence.
We have been placed on this earth at this time in history for God’s plans and purposes. He knows all that is going on around us and He will use us to be a Godly influence in the lives of others around us if we choose to follow and obey Him.
Maybe this morning you realize that you are not being a good influence in other’s lives. No matter how hard you try you still do things you know you shouldn’t. It may be that you have never been saved. When a person understands that they are a sinner and the only way that their sin can be forgiven is by believing that Jesus died on the Cross for their sins, was buried and rose again on the third day. When a person believes in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes inside his/her heart and gives them the power to live a life that pleases God. It is only when the Holy Spirit lives inside of your heart that you can be a good influence in other’s lives. Today you can be saved. Please talk to one of us and we will show you from the Bible and pray with you how you can do that today.
If you have been saved you have all that you need to be a good influence in the lives of others. You have God’s Word. You must read it daily. You have the privilege to pray, you can pray and ask God to help you. You have the Holy Spirit to give you power to do what is right. You have other believers that you can ask to pray for you if you are having a difficult time being a good influence.
Close in prayer.
- Who has a plan for each of His children?
- Who was Mordecai?
- Why did the King have a beauty contest?
- Who hated the Jews and made a plan to have them destroyed?
- Why was Mordecai crying in the streets?
- Why should we follow God’s instructions and trust Him for His timing in our circumstances?
- How did God use Esther to save His people?
- How can God use you in your circumstances to be a positive influence?
- MSS Crafts
- Story of Esther Coloring Pages
- Calvary Williamsport Coloring Page
- Danielle’s Place
- Preschool Activities
- Mission Arlington Esther Lesson Plan