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Work through the confirmation Lesson below. Do the best you can on your own. If you need help, or if you get stuck send me an email, (email@example.com), text or call me (610-401-5602). When you're done, post your answers at the bottom. When we meet next I will go over this and we'll do an exercise to have some fun with it.
My Faith Story
OK, THE Big Question: What do I stand for?
The story of Esther is a story about identity. Esther knew her identity as a Jew in the midst of the Persian empirical culture of the time. She risked her life to save her identity and the identity of her people. What does that mean in terms of today? Think about a time when you felt as if you lost your sense of identity. What does it mean to you to be a Christian in a world that is increasingly non-Christian? Think about your sense of call, what you want to do with your life, and how it is a part of your identity. How do you strive to follow the example of our Lord Jesus in your life?
Open the Bible
Lutheran Study Bible page 774: Esther is one of the best stories in the Bible, with a plot that has many twists and turns, interesting characters, and an ending that makes you feel good. Read "What's the Story?" and "What's the Message?" to provide some background information and set the scene for today's Bible story. King Xerxes is looking for a new queen when he falls in love with Esther, a Jew. But he doesn't know she is a Jew; otherwise he would not have made her queen. Esther's cousin, Mordecai, who is a palace official, learns of a plot to kill the king, and he tells Esther. Esther warns the king, saving his life. But then trouble begins for Mordecai as we pick up the story in Esther 3.
Read Esther 3:1–8:8 and answer the following questions:
Question 1: Esther was the newly appointed queen when she discovered that the king had ordered the destruction of the Jewish people. What did Mordecai ask her to do, and what was the risk to her?
Question 2: Who are the people you most admire in this story? Why? How would you describe them—what are their identities?
Question 3: Who are the villains and heroes in this story?
Question 4: How did good win out over evil?
Question 5: What kind of evil happens in the world today? What happens if Christians are silent about this evil?
Question 6: How can Christians speak out against evil? Think about how you can speak out about faith in school, at home, and in their communities.
Open the Catechism
Write "Despair" on a piece of paper. When things start to go wrong for us, and it seems as if they just keep getting worse, we may get discouraged and lose all sense of hope. We despair, and our despair feeds on itself to pull us down even further until there seems to be no way out. Esther and Mordecai must have felt despair along with all the Jews that were living in exile.
Question 7: How do we try to prevent despair from happening? What part does prayer play in the answer?
Student Book page 303: Read the sixth petition of the Lord's Prayer. We pray that God would watch over us so that we are not drawn into such things as false belief and despair, no matter how attractive the temptation may be. God doesn't say there will be no temptations, but God shows us grace every day by rescuing us when we need to be pulled out of our despair.
Question 8: Who was planning a big surprise for the Jews but ended up being the one surprised?
Question 9: Even though God’s name isn’t mentioned in Esther, how do you know God was present?
Question 10: In a day when women were powerless, what was surprising about Esther?
Standing up for what you really believe might be hard sometimes. Start small. Every time you notice something you want to stand up for this week, write it down. You’ll be surprised what that list can reveal about what you believe.
TRUE/FALSE QUIZ TIME!
Choose the true statement for each pair of statements.
1a. Xerxes is the name of a remote village in Siberia.
1b. Xerxes is the king who ruled over 127 provinces.
2a. Mordecai’s cousin was Ezra.
2b. Mordecai’s cousin was Esther.
3a. Mordecai uncovered a plot to kill King Xerxes.
3b. Mordecai uncovered a plot to kill all the Jews.
4a. Haman was a godly man who worshipped the Lord.
4b. Haman was a wicked man who wanted to kill the Jews.
5a. Haman had a gallows built because he wanted to hang Mordecai.
5b. Haman had a gallows built because the town needed a new ride in its amusement park.
6a. When King Xerxes discovered that Mordecai had saved his life, he made Haman honor Mordecai.
6b. When King Xerxes discovered that Mordecai had saved his life, he quickly forgot about
it and did nothing.
7a. Haman begged Mordecai to save him.
7b. Haman begged Queen Esther to save him.
8a. Purim is a festival celebrating God’s deliverance.
8b. Purim is what your pet cat does.