May 19, 2019 – Esther 3 – 7
Lesson Date: May 19, 2019
Focal Scripture Passage: Esther 3:1-2, 5-6, 8-11; 4:1, 3, 11, 13-16; 5:1-5, 9-14; 7:1-10
AIM: To lead students to discover the circumstances God used to preserve the Jews from Haman’s wicked plot, and to accept God’s sovereign care for the Jews as a fact and to pray for their protection and salvation.
Before class: Read the notes on Esther 3 – 7 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Get enough copies of the “God’s Plan to Protect the Jews” worksheet for your anticipated attendance. Have pens or pencils available for those who might need one.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read Genesis 12:1-3. Ask: “What do you think those verses mean?”
Tell the class that 4,000 years ago God made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants (the Jewish people). He promised to bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse them. Because they are God’s chosen people, the Jews have been the targets of Satan’s attacks down through the ages. Ask: “Can you name anyone who has hated and/or tried to destroy the Jews?” (Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler, modern Israel’s Arab neighbors, radical Muslims).
Tell the class that throughout history God has protected and preserved His chosen people from the enemies who would destroy them. In today’s lesson we will learn how God protected the Jews from another evil plot.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we are studying the Old Testament book of Esther.
- Remind them that last week we learned that God miraculously elevated Esther from being a simple young Jewish lady to becoming the queen of all Persia.
- Ask: “Have you recognized God’s sovereign guidance upon your life this week?”
- Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verses (Prov. 3:5-6).
- Give everyone a copy of the “God’s Plan to Protect the Jews” worksheet and a pen or pencil if needed.
- Ask them to fill in the blanks on the worksheet as you teach the lesson.
- Haman’s Wicked Plot.
- Read Esther 3:1-2.
- Tell the class that King Ahasuerus promoted Haman above all the other princes.
- Ask everyone to write the word “Promoted” on the line in box number 1 on the worksheet.
- Explain that Haman was a descendant of the Amalekite King Agag, whose life King Saul disobediently spared (1 Sam. 15:8-9) hundreds of years earlier.
- Since Haman held such a lofty position, everyone was supposed to bow down to him.
- Ask: “Did Mordecai bow?” (no).
- Read Esther 3:5-6.
- Ask: “How did Haman feel about Mordecai’s refusal to bow?” (angry).
- Ask: “What did he plot to do?” (orchestrate the death of all the Jews in the Persian Empire).
- Tell the students Haman’s heart was so wicked that it wasn’t enough for him to punish Mordecai – he wanted to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom.
- Ask everyone to write the word “Plot” in box number 2.
- Read Esther 3:8-11.
- Ask: “What did Haman do?” (he got the king to agree to his wicked plan to exterminate all the Jews).
- Tell the class that a royal decree was sent out to all 127 provinces of the kingdom, ordering that on a certain date all the Jews were to be killed and their possessions seized (verses 12-15).
- Summarize: Haman devised a plot to kill all the Jews living in the Persian kingdom.
- Mordecai Notified Esther.
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 4:1, 3.
- Tell the students when the king’s decree was announced there was great mourning among the Jews.
- Ask everyone to write the word “Mourn” in box number 3.
- Tell the class that Mordecai sent a message to Esther challenging her to beg the king to spare the Jews (verses 4-10).
- Ask everyone to write the word “Challenge” in box number 4.
- Read Esther 4:11.
- Ask: “Why was Esther hesitant to do this?” (she was afraid she would lose her life).
- Ask everyone to write the word “Fear” in box number 5.
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 4:13-14.
- Tell the class that Mordecai told Esther even she would not escape death if Haman’s plot went forward.
- Ask: “What did he say would happen if Esther failed to act?” (God would use some other means to protect the Jews).
- Ask: “What did he ask her in verse 14?” (“Who knows if God made you queen for this very reason?”).
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 4:15-16.
- Ask: “What did Esther tell Mordecai to do?” (gather all the Jews to fast and pray for three days).
- Ask: “What did she promise to do?” (she and her maidens would fast and pray, after which she would go to the king).
- Tell the students her words, “if I perish, I perish” indicate total commitment to the plan.
- Ask everyone to write the word “Commitment” in box number 6.
- Summarize: Mordecai notified Esther about the plan to exterminate all the Jews. Esther overcame her fear, trusted God, and boldly promised to ask the king to spare the Jews.
- Esther’s First Banquet.
- Read Esther 5:1-5.
- Tell the class Esther obtained favor from the king, and he offered to grant any request she might make.
- Ask: “What did Esther ask?” (for the king and Haman to come to a banquet.
- Ask everyone to write the word “Banquet” in box number 7.
- Tell the class at the banquet the king again asked what she wanted, and she asked the king and Haman to come to another banquet the next day (verses 6-8).
- Read Esther 5:9-14.
- Tell the class Haman was thrilled with his new prestige, but could not enjoy it because of his hatred for Mordecai.
- Ask” “What did his wife and friends recommend?” (that he arrange for Mordecai to be hanged).
- Ask everyone to write the word “Mordecai” in box number 8.
- Summarize: Esther held a banquet for the King and Haman. Haman plotted to have Mordecai executed.
- Haman was Forced to Honor Mordecai.
- Tell the class in chapter 6 we learn that the king could not sleep (verse 1).
- He called for someone to read him the records of the kingdom, in which he learned that nothing had ever been done to reward Mordecai for saving the king’s life (verses 1-3).
- Haman walked in, planning to ask the king to order Mordecai’s death (verses 4-5).
- The king asked Mordecai what should be done for someone the king wanted to honor (verse 6).
- Thinking the king wanted to honor him, Haman described a lavish ceremony (verses 7-9).
- Much to Haman’s surprise, the king ordered Haman to honor Mordecai as he had described (verses 10-11).
- Ask everyone to write the word “Honored” in box number 9.
- Summarize: Rather than executing Mordecai, the king ordered Haman to honor him.
- Esther Exposed Haman’s Wicked Plot.
- Tell the class that Haman went home very dejected, but was soon summoned to Queen Esther’s second banquet (6:12-14).
- Ask everyone to write the word “Banquet” in box number 10.
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 7:1-4.
- The king again asked Esther what she wanted.
- Ask: “What did she ask?” (for her life and the lives of her people to be spared).
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 7:5-6.
- Tell the class the king wanted to know who would plan to kill the queen and her people.
- Ask: “How did she answer?” (by identifying Haman as the one behind the plot).
- Ask everyone to write the word “Exposed” in box number 11.
- Ask a volunteer to read Esther 7:7-8.
- Ask: “What did the king do?” (he was so angry he stepped out into the garden).
- Ask: “What did Haman do?” (fell down on the queen’s couch, begging for mercy).
- Ask: “What happened when the king returned?” (he thought Haman was making lewd advances toward his queen).
- Read Esther 7:9-10.
- Ask: “What happened to Haman?” (he was hanged on the gallows he built to execute Mordecai).
- Ask everyone to write the word “Executed” in box number 12.
- Summarize: Queen Esther exposed Haman’s wicked plot. The king was so angry he had Haman immediately hanged – on the very gallows he had built to execute Mordecai.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class that down through the centuries many people have tried to destroy the Jews, but none have succeeded. The Jews are God’s chosen people. Stress the fact that if Haman’s wicked plot had been successful, Jesus Christ could not have been born and we could not be saved. For that reason we should thank God for protecting the Jews.
Tell the students that since Jesus has already come, we might think Satan would leave the Jews alone; but if Satan and his helpers could eradicate the Jews, God would not be able to keep the many promises He has made concerning their future. God still has a plan for the Jews, including the 144,000 Jewish evangelists during the Tribulation, the salvation of the surviving Jews at the end of the Tribulation (Rom. 11:26), and their future kingdom ruled by the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Tell the class we should accept the fact that God loves and protects the Jews. Because of that, Christians should also love the Jews. As Christians, we should pray for the protection and salvation of the Jews. We should pray that God will preserve them and protect them from their many enemies. Lead a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Esther 4:14. Like Esther, we all have influence with certain other people. Encourage the students to use their influence for good this week, and to trust God when things seem out of control.
Give everyone a Sunday School Member Quarterly for our new study of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. That study begins two weeks from today.
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