Esther is a book of the Bible I very much enjoy, but it’s also an odd one. God is never directly mentioned through the whole book, but you can see His fingerprints all over the book, which makes for a great Sunday School lesson on providence. It’s also intriguing to me because Esther takes place in the same time frame as Ezra and Nehemiah.
Esther as a lesson in how God works
God works in two different ways. First is the obvious method of miracles. We see these sprinkled all throughout the Bible. They show up as healings, storms created and stopped, people brought back to life, the entire creation of the world, a burning bush that does not burn. Miracles are a big showy way God says, “I’m here, see how I work.”
Then comes providence. Providence is God’s unseen hand. Providence is God lining things up so it all works correctly.
We see providence in the story of Joseph with God placing Joseph where he can save his family.
We see providence in Moses being saved and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.
We see God’s providence when Ruth moves from Moab to Bethlehem and becomes David’s great-grandmother.
We also see God’s providence in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which we learned about last week, as God overcomes all the obstacles to keep His promise. Over and over throughout the Bible we see God’s providence.
Never more clearly than in the story of Esther. This was the point I wanted to drive home to the kids with our Esther lesson. So, that became the focal point of our discussions. So much so at church we dropped our usual discussion time and talked about God’s providence in Esther for our activity.
Esther lesson activities
One of my favorite get the wiggles out activities for Esther is working on balance and grace. It’s a great activity for your kids, and lets them think about Esther undergoing a YEAR’S worth of beauty treatments, and it wasn’t just baths and perfumes, it was also training in how to walk and talk.
During Christmas time we have do a variation of the Jesse Tree activities, so one of our days is Queen Esther, so I have two sets of pictures for this.
Then this summer for our church’s VBS one day the story was of Queen Esther, and the Esther activities for that day were making crowns. Here you can see Batman’s crown, and I’ve seen several tutorials for that.
But, my big plan for today was to talk through God’s providence in the book of Esther. So we are going to cut out and put together a timeline and write how God influenced that.
Putting together a timeline or anything with lots of pieces is rather like a quilt, you start out choosing colors and cutting out pieces. This is how I picture providence, you look back and start to pick out how it all fits together.
As you look at the pieces it doesn’t look like it will ever make sense. For me this is especially true when you’re in the worst of the situation. Why did my Mom break up with that person, why didn’t that relationship work out, why did my Dad die then?
But as you look at things, and pray through it all, slowly you see a pattern. It’s not always easily discernible, or easy to follow, but it’s there.
Until you can look back and see how it all connects together, and you can see
how what seemed like the world was going to end, was just one step in the timeline, and it wasn’t even the most important part.
That to me is providence. How the pieces all fit together in the end into a grand story of God’s design.
(these are affiliate links)
- What’s in the Bible? Volume Seven – Exile and Return!(might be one of my favorite What’s in the Bible DVDs)
- Jewel of Persia (a really intriguing novelization, aimed for teen to adults)
- One Night with the King (I Love this movie)
- Queen Esther snack
- Queen Esther lesson
Oh and for those who were wondering, I ended up dressing up as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, a recycling of an older costume, but this time I had the perfect shirt to wear with it (from Tara’s wedding).
Next up: Minor Prophets lesson, a lesson that doesn’t strictly follow chronology