Unsung Heroes – Family Devotions: Esther (August 19-23, 2019)

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This weekend, Pastor Thom preached on Esther and he pointed out that even though God isn’t mentioned in the story at all, He is still hiding in the details.

Specifically, there were four places that God placed word pictures that pointed to Jesus.

  1. Three days of death. From the time Esther decided to risk her life and go to the king until he pointed the scepter at her (letting her live) was three days.
  2. The ruler’s scepter. The one who holds the scepter is not only the ruler of the people but also the one who can kill people or let them live. One day Jesus will have an IRON scepter to rule the nations!
  3. The Failure of Revenge. The enemy thought he had won… only to die in the very way he tried to kill his enemy. In the story of Esther, Haman builds a gallows to kill Mordecai, but he is killed on in instead. In the story of Jesus, the devil thought he had won when Jesus died, but instead, the cross was the tool Jesus used to defeat the devil.
  4. Mordecai’s Prophesy. In Esther 4:13, Mordecai prophesies that God would provide salvation for the Jews. It points towards the FINAL salvation – Jesus Christ.

Below are some ideas that you can do as a family to take that teaching into your home this week. Even if you only do one or two of the days you’ll be helping your kids really absorb the truths from the message.

Please note that this devotional is intended for kids in grade 1-8, but it will need a bit of on-the-fly adapting for your kids!

The One Thing To Remember this week is
“The WHOLE Bible is about ONE person, Jesus!”

Day 1: Jesus in the Old Testament

Today if you wanted to remember someone you love, you might probably put a picture of them of the fridge. But what if you didn’t have a photograph of them? What could you do to remember them?

Perhaps you could write a story about their life.

Perhaps you could write a poem celebrating how amazing they are.

The Bible is filled with “word” pictures. These pictures help us to remember important stories and people in the Bible, to be sure, but they also pointed TOWARDS Jesus before He was born. They are prophetic word pictures.

On the weekend Pastor Thom talked about how there are prophetic word pictures of Jesus in the story of Esther. Do you remember them?

There are word pictures of Jesus all over the Bible! Today, read the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac and see if you can find the word pictures in the story.

Read Genesis 22.

With younger kids you can just go over the list of word pictures below. But with older kids, see how many they can pick out.

  1. “Take your son, your only son…” (Genesis 22:2)
  2. There was a donkey. (22:3)
  3. It was a three day journey. (22:4) This is significant because from the moment God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Issac was as good as dead. (In other words, Abraham was going to do what God told him to and for three days, he dreaded what was going to happen.) On the third day God rescued Isaac from death.
  4. Isaac carried the wood for his own sacrifice. (22:6)
  5. The ram which took Isaac’s place on the altar was caught by it’s horns in a thicket – like the crown of thorns on Jesus’s head. (22:13)
  6. Abraham’s prophetic name for the mountain. (22:14) It’s interesting that Abraham named the mountain “The Lord WILL provide.” Why is it in the future tense? Why didn’t he call the mountain “The Lord DID provide”? Because Abraham knew that one day God would provide the final sacrifice for our sins.

Did you find anymore word pictures of Jesus in this story? It’s amazing how God hid pictures of Jesus right in the stories we know!

Day 2: Mordecai’s Faith

It’s pretty amazing to think about how Mordecai trusted God. He knew that even if Esther wouldn’t go to the king to try and save the Jews, that somehow God would rescue them.

Trust like this is what the Bible calls faith.

Some people think that if God is going to use you, that you need TONS of faith. But that actually isn’t true. The important part of faith is WHO you choose to trust.

Let’s say you go to a farm and there is a tire swing. There’s only one problem, the rope that the tire is tied to doesn’t look strong at all. Does it matter if you believe with all your heart that the rope is strong enough to hold you? If you have GREAT faith in the rope? Nope… GREAT faith won’t help if the rope is old and weak.

But what if the rope is VERY STRONG. It’s a brand-new, super thick rope that could hold an elephant! What if you’re still scared that it will break? You have very LITTLE faith that it is strong enough. Does it matter that you are scared? Nope! Little faith is all you need if the rope is strong and safe.

So the important thing is what or who we choose to trust and not trust.

For Mordecai to trust God he must have had a reason. He must have learned over time that he could trust God; that God is like a STRONG rope.

The tricky thing about being a kid is that you’re young. You might not have had many chances to test whether God is a “strong rope.” You might have some stories.

What are some times when God has been a STRONG, RELIABLE friend for you?

Perhaps if you can’t think of any you could ask God to help you remember. Or perhaps you could ask your parents or grandparents for stories like that!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT2)

Day 3: Memory Verse Day!

Ok! It’s time to review the whole verse! You can do this!

The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things!

Psalm 118:14-15 (NLT2)

Day 4: Activity Day

This is your activity day! Have fun with your kids and remember to connect the activities to the story of Esther!

Spa Day. It took 12 months for Esther to get ready to meet king Xerxes; 6 months of that was on make-up! Have some fun with your girls doing make-up and imaging what on earth Esther could have been learning for 6 months! But make sure you end by talking about 1 Peter 3:3-4 together!

Spy Day. Mordecai overheard the men plotting to kill the king. He was a spy! Here’s a link with a bunch of ideas for a home-made spy kit. But then read Proverbs 25:2 together and talk about what it could mean!

Egg Day. Why not recreate the egg-speriment that Thom did on stage. You can find the instructions in this YouTube video. Make sure you read Psalm 139:7-12 to think about the God who is everywhere!

Day 5: One of the Greatest Prophesies in Scripture!

Read Isaiah 53 with your kids. Maybe take turns reading it verse by verse if they are old enough.

Who is this chapter written about? Clearly it’s written about JESUS.

But do you know how many years before Jesus it was written? Generally it is believed that Isaiah recorded his prophesies during the reign of King Hezekiah who was king from 715 to 686 BCE. That’s around 700 YEARS before Jesus was ever born.

Just think about that for a minute.

Can you imagine doing some listening prayer, writing it down in your prayer journal and finding out that it was accurate 700 years AFTER you wrote it down? (That would be the year 2719.) But this is exactly what Isaiah did.

Why is this so important?

How does it prove that we can trust the Bible?

Spend time thanking and praising God for His incredible word… and for the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 who would free us from sin!

BONUS CONTENT

If you haven’t already, take a look at Ayesha Badiola’s article for Sports Illustrated Kids on Southland’s basketball camp. She attends Southland and is one of only 10 SI Kid Reporters this year.

But take note of something… she doesn’t say “God” in the article! Here’s a modern-day example of an “Esther” writer representing the Church and God so well even though she didn’t mention Him specifically!

Ayesha’s amazing article is HERE.

MORE BONUS CONTENT!

Did you know that Pastor Thom does most of his own art work for the messages? If you want to see a few of the drawings from this week’s message just CLICK HERE!


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