Have you ever had to do something really hard, but it was the right thing to do?
For seventy years God’s chosen people, the Hebrews, lived in exile in Babylon. But during that time the Babylonians were conquered by the Persians and their sort of nice king, Cyrus. Cyrus was the king that allowed the Hebrews – now called the Jews (short for Judah) – to return home to Jerusalem. But when the Jews returned from exile not all of them went home. Some stayed behind in the Persian cities. One girl who stayed behind was named Esther.
There’s a book in your Bible named Esther. Can you find it?
The book of Esther tells the story of how Esther, a beautiful Jewish girl, married the king of Persia (not Cyrus, a new king named Xerxes), but he did not know that she was Jewish. He thought she was Persian. Now Esther might have been able to hide who she really was forever if something terrible hadn’t happened.
One day, one of the King’s advisors, a very important and evil man named Haman, decided that all the Jews in the city were trouble makers. He was actually very jealous of Esther’s cousin, a very godly man name Mordecai. Mordecai had earned praise from the king which made Haman furious. And Mordecai would refuse to bow down to Haman when he passed by, which made Haman even more furious.
Have you ever been jealous of someone like Haman was? What did you do?
What Haman did was terrible. He convinced King Xerxes to kill all of the Jews in the city. Do you know what that means? That means even Queen Esther would have to die too, unless she keeps her secret and doesn’t say anything about being a Jew and not a Persian.
What would you do if you were Esther? What do you think Esther did?
Listen to what Mordecai said to Esther to encourage her:
Esther 4:14. [Mordecai said to Esther] if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther was very scared, but she also chose to have great courage. Mordecai showed her that God had placed her as Queen of Persia “for such a time as this.” She was right where God wanted her to be. If she could be brave and show the King that she was also Jewish, and if she could convince the King that Haman was evil, she just might save the day. But there was a chance that the King might be angry and decide to kill her along with all the other Jewish people. But Esther knew she would need to risk her own life to help others. Listen to Esther’s brave reply to Mordacai:
Esther 4:15-16. 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
Did you know that, like Esther, God has placed you exactly where he wants you? You are in the right family, the right school, the right neighborhood, the right church, just as God planned it. That doesn’t mean things won’t ever change. And it definitely doesn’t mean that things will always be easy. But it does mean that, like Esther, God wants you to help the people around you, and take care of them, and make sure they are OK. He wants you to be brave sometimes and stand up against what is wrong. Like when someone is bullying others like Haman did. And if you are a Christian, God doesn’t want you to hide it. He wants you to let others know that you are one of Jesus’ followers.
Esther did reveal who she really was to the king. And she did save the day. Yay!
Five hundred years after Esther, Jesus was also very brave and saved the day. Jesus didn’t hide who he was. He showed everyone that he was God, and that he alone could save us from our sins. Like Esther, Jesus said “If I perish (die), I perish.” But unlike Esther, Jesus did die for his people on the cross. God did not rescue Jesus on that terrible day. But he did rescue Jesus three days later when he raised him from the grave to live forever. And now when we trust in Jesus we too are rescued from sin and we too can be brave.
Because of Jesus I have been rescued from sin.
With Jesus I can be brave and stand up for what is right.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Talk with your children about where they might be able to stand up for what is right, and help those who can’t help themselves, like Esther did. Or talk about how they can let others know that they believe in Jesus. Talk about how this might take courage, but God is with us no matter what.
If you’ve seen the new Aladdin movie you can compare Queen Esther to Princess Jasmine. They both had to be brave and speak up for what was right.
And here’s a nice Esther song.
You were the bravest ever and died in my place on the cross for my sins. Help me to be brave too and help others who can’t help themselves.
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