This is lesson 2 of 4 in Esther.
- Main Point of the Passage: When Haman plotted to kill the Jews, Mordecai urged Esther to be courageous.
- Main Point of the Lesson: The fact that God is in control does not mean that his people need no courage.
- Main Application of the Lesson: Participants will prepare themselves for times when obeying God requires great courage.
- Key Verse: “If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.” Esther 4:14
To prepare for this lesson, write your own answers to each of the questions below. You will share some of your answers with the group, but make it your goal to talk less than 20% of the Bible study time. Ask the questions, listen to your group, and let them carry the Bible study. You’ll be amazed.
Once everyone in your group is sitting in a circle, say, “Here’s the first question. Everyone answers the first question, and it’s just for fun.” Then read the first question, pause, and listen to your group’s answers.
Smile Question: What is your favorite plant?
Share Question: Tell about a time when obeying God meant taking a big risk.
Introduce the Passage: The fact that God is in control does not mean that his people need no courage. In Esther chapters 3 and 4, when Haman plotted to kill the Jews, Mordecai urged Esther to be courageous.
The book of Esther tells the story of the fifth century B.C. origin of the Jewish holiday Purim. The word purim comes from the Hebrew word for lot. In Esther 3, “the lot was cast” before Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to help him select a day on which to execute all of the Jewish people. King Ahasuerus went along with Haman’s plan, not knowing that his Queen was secretly a Jew.
Study Question: As we read Esther 3–4, let’s look for ways Mordecai displayed each of the following:
Possible answers include:
Grief over the edict against the Jews
He grieved by tearing his clothes and wearing sackcloth (4:1–3)
He did not accept new clothes from Esther (4:4)
Confidence in God’s deliverance
He believed help for the Jews would come with or without Esther’s help (4:14)
He was willing to tell his adopted daughter to risk her life by visiting the king (4:8)
He fasted (4:15–17)
Urgency to be courageous
He told Esther the future of her family depended on her courage (4:14)
Connect-the-Dots Question: Why do you think Mordecai had such confidence that God would deliver his people?
Count-the-Cost Question: Can you think of a time when modern-day Christians have found themselves in a situation similar to Esther’s?
Let’s-Do-It Question: How can you prepare yourself to face a situation where obeying God means taking a great risk?
Prayer: Father, give us courage when we face dangerous choices. Teach us to trust you even in the face of grievous evil. Amen.