Bible Lesson: Overview of Esther

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Bible Lesson on Esther for Children
The following lesson is the beginning of a new series teaching through the Book of Esther.  The focus of this lesson is an overview of Esther introducing students to the main characters, places and themes.  It is a good opportunity to refresh students’ minds who the Jewish people are, God’s Covenant with His people and why the Jews are living in Persia.  This lesson was prepared for older students and can easily be adapted for your ministry needs.

Bible Passage: Esther 1-10
Bible Story Title: Overview of Esther
Target Age Group:  Ages 9-11 (3rd-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
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Credits: Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

Supply List:  Bibles, Observation sheets (Copies of Esther 1), colored pens/pencils
Learning Goal:  Students will discover background information that will help them as they study through the book of Esther.
Learning Activity #1:  While students wait for others to arrive they can begin the overview process of reading Chapter 1 and marking key phrases/words.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse:  Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.”

Bible Lesson:  Overview of Esther

(Our class just finished studying Ephesians.  As a way to review we recite statements and the students fill in the blanks.  1.  Believers have been ________ before the foundation of the world. (Chosen) 2. Believers have redemption through Jesus’ blood, the __________ of sins. (Forgiveness) 3. Believers have been sealed with the ________ _________. (Holy Spirit) 4. Believers are God’s workmanship created to do _____  _______ which God prepared in advance. (Good works) 5. Believers can do God’s work through the _________ of the Holy Spirit. (Power) 6. Believers are called to have a __________ walk. (Worthy) 7. Believers are called to walk in the ______. (Light) 8. Believers are in an unseen ________. (Battle))
The last time we met we talked about how the believer is in a battle against unseen forces.  God has provided armor for every person who believes in the Lord Jesus to be able to stand firm in his/her faith during the battle.
Today we are making a transition to another book of the Bible called Esther.  We are going to do an overview or get the big picture of what takes place in this book.  We just reviewed what our lesson was about last week and it is a perfect place to begin with the Book of Esther.  To an ordinary person reading Esther it may seem like a book with all the elements of a great story.  It has good characters, evil characters and an amazing twist!  To a believer who reads this book in God’s Word we will see that there are unseen forces taking place in the spiritual world that are not mentioned in this book.

Author

The person who wrote Esther is unknown.  Some Bible scholars have suggested these possible authors:  Mordecai, Ezra and Nehemiah

People

God’s name is never mentioned in this Book but as we study the entire Book we will see God’s activity in each circumstance.
We are going to meet some interesting people who are in the Book of Esther.
King Xerxes/ Ahasuerus: ay-HAS-eeoo-EHR-uhs

  • King of Persia
  • Son of Darius

Queen Vashti

  • Married to Xerxes

Haman

  • An Agagite (From King Agag’s family (1 Samuel 15:9, 32; Exodus 17:14-16 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”15 Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16 He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”  Deut. 25:18-19 18 When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and attacked all who were lagging behind; they had no fear of God. 19 When the Lord your God gives you rest from all the enemies around you in the land he is giving you to possess as an inheritance, you shall blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!”)
  • An enemy of the Jews

Mordecai

  • A Jew (God made a covenant with Abraham that one of his descendants would be the Savior of the World (Genesis 12:1-3).  Abraham’s descendants were referred to as Hebrews, Jews, Israelites, God’s chosen people.
  • A descendant from the tribe of Benjamin, a descendant of Kish (King Saul’s family; Saul was commanded by God to destroy all the Amalekites and he didn’t fully obey God’s command 1 Samuel 15)
  • An exile (Anyone separated from his/her country or home voluntarily or by force of circumstances) from Jerusalem (God’s people were given God’s laws and promises.  If they obeyed God’s laws they would receive blessings and live in the land God had given them.  If they disobeyed God would have to punish them (Deut. 28).  God’s people sinned against Him and turned to false gods and worshiped them.  God sent prophets to warn His people to repent and turn back to Him.  Over many years of warning His people God’s people continued to disobey Him.  He punished them by having enemy armies come in and attack and take them captive. The people from Judah were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar and lived in the land of Babylon (2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 36:15-2315 The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials.  19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. 20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah. 22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: 23 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:” ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.’”)
  • Adopted Esther/Hadassah his cousin when her parents died.

Esther

  • A Jew
  • Raised by Mordecai her cousin
  • Becomes Queen

Places

  • India to Ethiopia(Cush) over 127 provinces
  • Susa (Modern day Iran)

Themes

  • God’s Providence-God’s name is never mentioned but His unseen hand is evident in the events.
  • Unseen forces at war-Satan at war with God using people to try to destroy God’s plans.
  • God’s protection of His Covenant people.
  • God keeps His promises

Review:

  1. Whose Name is never mentioned in Esther? (God)
  2. What covenant did God make with Abraham? (The Savior would be one of his descendants)
  3. Who are the Jews? (Descendants of Abraham)
  4. What are some other names of Abraham’s descendants? (Hebrews, Israelites, God’s chosen people)
  5. Which characters in Esther were Jewish?  (Esther and Mordecai)
  6. What did you learn from the overview of Esther?
  7. What would you like to learn more about from the study of Esther?

Memory Verse: Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this.”
Teaching the memory verse/Gospel Connection
As we study Esther we will learn more about what Mordecai meant when he gave this message to Esther.
As believers we all have a message we must proclaim.  What is the message we are commanded to proclaim?

  • Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  • Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
  • John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

We will discover how God, even though His name is not mentioned in Esther placed Mordecai and Esther in positions at the exact time and place for His purposes.  When we studied Ephesians we learned:

  • Ephesians 2:10 “For we (believers) are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

God has placed you and I in the exact position and place in this time in history for His purposes.
Acts 17:26-27 “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
If you have never put your faith in Jesus you are not a believer.  To become a believer you must:

  • Admit that you are a sinner.  You have sinned against God.  You have broken His commandments.  Your sin must be punished.  (Romans 3:23, 6:23)
  • Believe that Jesus died in your place so your sins could be forgiven. (1 Corinthians 15:3b-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
  • Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.  Romans 3:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

If you have any questions about how to become a believer please talk to us after we close in prayer.
Close in prayer.


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