Scripture Reference: Esther 1-10
Memory Verse: Esther 4:14
Children will learn how God is with them all the time. He will help them make difficult decisions.
Today, we will read a story about Esther, a captive girl living in a foreign country who became queen of the Persian Empire.
Let’s say our memory verse together. Who can say but that you have been elevated … for just such a time as this. Esther 4:14 NLT
The teacher should bring two pairs of objects for children or youth to choose between. Tell the children they can only choose one thing; they cannot have both.
The first pair should be something they would want and something an adult would want. This will illustrate an easy choice.
The second pair of items should both be things they would want. This will illustrate a difficult choice.
Bible Story Time:
Was it easy to make the decision when one of the items was something you didn’t want or couldn’t use?
How difficult was it for you to make the decision when both of the items were things you really wanted?
Why do you think it was difficult to make the decision when you wanted both of the items equally?
A long time ago, God’s people were held as captives by the Persian Empire. They had already been captive to the Babylonians and Medes, and now the Persians had conquered them. Sometime during this captivity, a Jewish girl named Hadasseh was born. Later, her parents died, and she was raised by her cousin, Mordecai. Somewhere along the line, she changed her name to Esther. This is who the book is named after. This book is only one of two books in the Bible named after a woman. Ruth is the other.
King Xerxes was ruling as king, and his wife, Vashti, was the queen. King Xerxes was giving a big party for people who worked for him, and Queen Vashti was giving a party for the women who lived in her house. On the seventh day of the celebration, when the king was drunk, he gave an order to bring the queen to him. Queens were supposed to do whatever the king said. Vashti didn’t listen. She was too busy with her party to leave and go see what the king wanted.
When the men who carried the message told the king the queen wouldn’t come, he got mad. He banished Vashti from his presence and told her never to return. Now he had to search for a new queen.
Reflection: If the king really loved the queen, do you think it was difficult to tell her she wasn’t queen anymore?
The king ordered beautiful women who weren’t married to be brought to the palace. They would be fed, clothed, and given beauty treatments. Then the king would choose one of them as the new queen. He chose Esther.
Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, was an important government official, but he made another man named Haman mad at him. Haman was second in command, and he expected people to bow down before him. Mordecai wouldn’t. He didn’t worship anyone but God. Haman made a plan to kill Mordecai and all the Jewish people.
Even though the king didn’t know it, Esther was a Jew. When Mordecai heard about the plan, he told Esther she had to go see the king and save her people. Going to the king without being invited was dangerous. If the king didn’t hold out his golden cane, the person trying to see him would be sentenced to death.
Reflection: Do you think it was difficult for Esther to go to the king knowing she might die for doing so?
Fortunately, the king held out his golden cane for Esther. She invited the king and Haman to a banquet. When the king asked Esther to tell him what she wanted, she asked him and Haman to come to a second banquet the next day. They agreed.
That night, the king couldn’t sleep. He had the record books brought in and read to him. He discovered Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, had saved his life from some men who wanted to kill him. But no one had rewarded Mordecai. So the king did. Everyone in the kingdom was supposed to bow down before him, even Haman. This made Haman furious.
The next day, the king and Haman went to Esther’s for the second banquet. This time, Esther told the king what she really wanted. Haman had tricked the king into signing an order that would allow him to kill all the Jews. The king was extremely angry when he heard this. He couldn’t believe his ears. Instead of Mordecai being killed, the king had Haman hanged on the gallows he was planning to hang Mordecai on. Then he issued another command to protect Esther’s people.
Esther had to make a very difficult decision to protect herself, her cousin, and all her people. Going before the king without an invitation could have meant death, but not doing anything would have definitely meant she and her people would have died. She chose to make a difficult decision.
Reflection: What or who do you think gave Esther the courage to go before the king? Can you name a hard decision you’ve had to make?
God wants us to trust him when we have to make difficult decisions like Esther did. This takes courage, but he’ll give us the strength to do it.