“July 25–31. Esther: ‘Thou Art Come … for Such a Time as This’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“July 25–31. Esther,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
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Many events in the book of Esther might seem like luck or coincidence. How else do you explain how an orphaned Jewish girl became the queen of Persia at just the right time to save her people from being slaughtered? What are the chances that Esther’s cousin Mordecai would just happen to overhear a plot to assassinate the king? Were these coincidences, or were they part of a divine plan? Elder Ronald A. Rasband noted: “What may appear to be a random chance is, in fact, overseen by a loving Father in Heaven. … The Lord is in the small details of our lives” (“By Divine Design,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 56). We may not always recognize the Lord’s influence in these “small details.” But we learn from Esther’s experience that He can guide our path and prepare us “for such a time” (Esther 4:14) when we can be instruments in His hands to fulfill His purposes.
For an overview of the book of Esther, see “Esther, book of” in the Bible Dictionary.
Sister Anne C. Pingree taught: “To become an instrument in the hands of God is a great privilege and sacred responsibility. Wherever we live, whatever our circumstances, no matter our marital status or age, the Lord needs each one of us to fulfill [our] unique part in building His kingdom in this final dispensation” (“Knowing the Lord’s Will for You,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 112).
As you read the story of Esther, ponder how this statement applies to her. Look for ways the Lord made it possible for her to save the Jews (see, for example, Esther 2:21–23; 3:10–14; 4:14–16). Then ponder how He has guided your life in ways that allow you to bless others. What are some circumstances or relationships that you feel He has guided you to “for such a time as this”? (Esther 4:14). If you have a patriarchal blessing, consider reading it to learn more about the work the Lord has for you to do.
In the book of Esther, we learn from the faithfulness of Esther and Mordecai as well as from the pride and anger of Haman. As you read Esther 3; 5:9–14, consider noting Haman’s feelings, words, and actions. What do they reveal about him and his motivations? What consequences did he face? (see Esther 7). Reading about Haman may prompt you to evaluate what motivates your feelings and actions. Are you inspired to make any changes? How can you turn to Heavenly Father for help?
Notice the conditions that led Esther and the rest of the Jews to fast (see Esther 3:13; 4:1–3, 10–17). How was fasting a blessing to them? (see Esther 5:2–3; 8:11–12). Why does the Lord ask us to fast? (see Gospel Topics, “Fasting and Fast Offerings,” topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Consider what you can do to make fasting a greater blessing in your life.
When Mordecai and Esther stood up for their beliefs, they put their lives at stake. Our choices have consequences that might be less severe, but doing the right thing can still require courage. What do you learn from Esther 3:1–4; 4:10–17 about having courage to do the right thing? Note the different consequences Mordecai and Esther experienced after showing courage (see Esther 3:5–11; 5:1–4). What would a person need to know about God in order to make the choices Esther and Mordecai made—to do what’s right regardless of the consequences?
The next time you consider the consequences of doing what is right, you might apply Esther’s courageous words in Esther 4:16 to your own situation. For instance, you might say to yourself, “When I choose the right, if I [lose friends], I [lose friends].”
See also Thomas S. Monson, “May You Have Courage,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 123–27.
After reviewing the story of Esther (see “Queen Esther” in Old Testament Stories or the video “For Such a Time as This,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org), your family might enjoy making simple puppets of some of the characters (see this week’s activity page in Come, Follow Me—For Primary). They could then use them to retell the story. You could also sing a song about being brave and true, such as “Dare to Do Right” (Children’s Songbook, 158) or “Do What Is Right” (Hymns, no. 237). What words in the song remind us of Esther?
What can we learn from Mordecai’s example about helping family members in times of trial? Who in our family needs our support? Make a plan to help them.
Esther’s bravery could inspire your family to discuss how to develop courage to stand for the truth in situations they face. What did Esther mean by “If I perish, I perish”? How do her words apply to us when we need to be brave? The video “Courage” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org) gives some examples.
The Jewish feast of Purim was established to remember the story of Esther. At mealtime this week, consider sharing stories of when your family members, including ancestors, blessed others by standing for the right as Esther did.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Dare to Do Right,” Children’s Songbook, 158.