Microsoft word - week 1 esther saves the day.doc
Esther saves the day!
This week the young people will be reading through the second half of Esther. Chapters 5–10 bring together the array
of events described in the first half of the book, clearly demonstrating how God’s plan was at work for the Jews
through a series of amazing coincidences and the subsequent actions of Mordecai, Esther and King Xerxes. Despite
not actually being mentioned throughout the book of Esther, God plays the central role, and the young people will be
encouraged to look out for clues to God at work. In the context of the whole Bible, we see that Esther’s position as
queen to King Xerxes provided a way for the Jewish race to be protected from severe persecution. Once again, God
went before his people, installing Esther as queen even before Haman’s plan was hatched. This story is a powerful
and amazing example of God’s sovereign power at work.
For the young people
This may be a new story to your young people, and hopefully they will engage with the drama and excitement as it
unfolds. Try to bring the story alive as you read, review and summarise it together, drawing out the incredible
coincidences and the courage of Mordecai and Esther. At the end of the week, the young people will be given the
opportunity to investigate the lasting consequences of this story. This includes the Jewish festival of Purim, when this
story of rescue is celebrated. They will also consider the place of the story of Esther within the bigger story of the Bible
– exploring God’s plan before, during and beyond Esther.
passages that SUbmerge links to this week are Luke 5:1–11 and 27–32. In these passages, Jesus called the
first disciples. First Jesus encountered the fishermen and challenged them to fish again, despite their disastrous
night’s work. Even though Jesus’ instruction seemed crazy, they obeyed and Jesus’ miraculous power was revealed.
Likewise, Jesus later called Levi to leave collecting taxes to follow him. This was probably counter-intuitive to most,
but Levi knew he must follow. Like Esther, the first disciples had to trust in God’s faithfulness, recognising that his plan
would be the best for their lives, even when it seemed scary or bizarre. The stories of Esther and of the first disciples
are a challenge to the young people to trust God and to follow obediently.
Use these activities to introduce this week’s theme.
Ask your group to share their 30-second summaries of the first part of Esther (as suggested in the Dive in
prepared for singing, rapping, dancing or drawing – whatever they think best!
Play a story game. You need a small prop which you can pass around the group, such as a ball. Start a story by
holding the ball and saying something like ‘Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince who…’ Pass the ball to
the next person who must then continue the story. They can say as much or as little as they like before passing the
ball to someone else (although a maximum of three or four sentences is suggested). Warn the group to keep it clean
but to make it as bizarre and funny as they like. Keep this going for a while and finish off the story when you receive
the ball next with a ‘…happily ever after’!
During the game, were there any surprises in the story or was it fairly predictable who would say what? How did your
group members’ personalities shine through in their contributions?!
Having considered the characters in the story of Esther, what does the group imagine will happen next? Make some
predictions. If the group knows the story well, this activity might not work, but if it is new to them they may come up
with some interesting ideas. Write them down and review them next week as appropriate to see if you were right!
Display some random images and ask the group to relate them to the story of Esther. This is an amazing exercise for
the imagination and it matters little what you choose to display as people often come up with the most weird and
wonderful connections! Having said that, think about it beforehand and see if you can come up with some good
images which you can connect with the story (making sure they are not too obvious) and see whether anyone else
This week contact the young people by phone, text or email and ask them the following questions, in your own words:
How would you honour someone who had saved your life?
Can you see God’s plan at work today (in the passage or in your own life)?
How do you remember important or special occasions?
Use these activities to wrap up last week’s Bible readings.
God in every frame
Pick up on the Dive deep
activity from the daily notes and share ideas for a storyboard or cartoon strip of the story of
Esther. You could do this by hand or on the computer, working in small groups and taking a scene each. This could be
quite a big art project which could be displayed in church or, if this is not suitable for your group, you could just share
what individuals come up with. The important aspect of this activity is to put God into every frame. How was he at
work here? Where can we see him in the story, even though he is not mentioned? What is the best way to represent
God in the storyboard – with a symbol or picture? Discuss the ideas the young people come up with, and if they come
up with an art masterpiece, share it with the Sunday school group or the wider church.
Play a detective game like wink murder. Everyone sits in a circle and one person is chosen to be the ‘detective’ and
leaves the room. While they are gone, the leader appoints a ‘murderer’ and makes sure everyone knows who this
person is. The detective then re-enters the room and stands in the middle of the circle. The murderer can ‘kill’ people
by winking at them, but must do it subtly so that the detective does not see. When winked at, the other members of
the group must die (this can be as dramatic as they like!). The detective must look for clues to identify the murderer
before he/she kills off the whole group!
After you have played a few rounds ask the player(s) to explain how they identified who was the culprit! Draw parallels
with the need to look for clues to God at work throughout Esther. It may not have been immediately evident to Esther
or Mordecai how God was working, but they persisted with what they were called to, trusting that God would be faithful
Ask your young people to share testimonies of how God has been at work in their life. Has anyone ever felt totally
abandoned by God, or that they were in a hopeless situation, only to realise later how God had been sovereign over
the situation? Try to think of an example from your own life to kick-start the discussion.
Move on to discuss how Esther might have felt. Do you think she knew what Mordecai meant when he suggested to
her that she had become queen ‘for just such a time as this’ (Esther 4:14)? Do you think she understood by the end of
Finish by praying and praising God for his faithfulness in working out his plan, both then and now.
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