This is lesson 4 of 4 in Esther.
- Main Point of the Passage: God worked through Esther, Mordecai and the king to enable the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies.
- Main Point of the Lesson: A Christian should show wisdom, courage, and restraint when it is necessary to defend the innocent.
- Main Application of the Lesson: Participants will celebrate God’s deliverance and learn wisdom, courage, and restraint in defending the innocent
- Key Verse: “The rest of the Jews in the royal provinces assembled, defended themselves, and gained relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them, but they did not seize any plunder.” Esther 9:16
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 something dumb you did as a child?
Share Question: Tell about a time you had to defend yourself or someone else by force.
Introduce the Passage: A Christian should show wisdom, courage, and restraint when it is necessary to defend the innocent. In Esther 8–10, God worked through Esther, Mordecai and the king to enable the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies. The royal edict that the King allows Mordecai to write mirrors the edict Haman wrote against the Jews in Esther 3:11–15.
Study Question: As we read Esther 8:1–10:3, let’s list ways the King permitted the Jews to defend themselves and ways the Jews actually did defend themselves.
What new they permitted to do? Possible answers include:
- Take Haman’s property
- Write an edict in the king’s name
- Defend their lives
- Destroy anyone hostile to them, even women and children
- Plunder the goods of their enemies
- Extend their defense for an extra day in Susa
What did they do? Possible answers include:
- Esther gave Haman’s property to Mordecai
- Killed those that sought their harm
- Did not plunder
- Executed Haman’s sons and displayed the bodies
- Killed 800 men in Susa
- Killed 75,000 in the provinces
- Rested and rejoiced
- Established an annual holiday
Connect-the-Dots Question: God’s name does not appear in the book of Esther. Where have we seen God’s hand at work throughout the book?
Count-the-Cost Question: Jesus told us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. Can you think of situations in which self defense or physical force is justified for a Christian?
Let’s-Do-It Question: How has our study of the book of Esther challenged you?
Prayer: Father, thank you for your miraculous deliverance. Give us wisdom, love, and restraint in dealing with our enemies. Amen.