Scripture Reference: 1 Kings 18:1-40
Memory Verse: 1 Kings 18:21
This week, children will learn they can trust God to be with them when they feel outnumbered.
Let’s say our memory verse together. If the Lord be God, follow him (1 Kings 18:21).
Have you ever played a game where one team had more than the other? How did it make you feel?
What are some of the disadvantages of being outnumbered?
Do you think there are more people in the world who don’t believe in Jesus than do? In what ways does the church try to fix this?
Today’s story is about an Old Testament prophet who fought with 850 people who didn’t believe in his God.
Bible Story Time:
Reflection: How would you feel if you were playing a game of basketball and you were the only one on your team but the other team had 850 people? Would you have much chance of winning? Would you feel like giving up before you started?
A long time ago, the nation of Israel split into two areas: the Northern Kingdom called Israel and the Southern Kingdom called Judah. Each one had their own king. Many of the kings who ruled in the South followed God, but most of the ones who ruled in the North worshiped pagan gods.
One of the wickedest kings to rule in the North was King Ahab. His wife—who was also the queen—was named Jezebel. Neither she nor her husband liked the people who served the one true God. They served a god named Baal and his female companion called Asherah.
God wasn’t pleased with them worshiping false gods. He wanted them to worship and serve him. He was the only true God. Throughout the Old Testament period, God sent men and women known as prophets to preach to the people about him. One of the well-known prophets was named Elijah. He was a great preacher, and God gave him the power to perform miracles that should have helped the people believe in God.
King Ahab called Elijah a troublemaker, but Ahab was the one troubling Israel by encouraging them to worship false gods. Elijah thought of a plan whereby he would prove to the king and his followers who the real God was.
Reflection: What are some ways you can show your friends who the true God is?
Elijah told Ahab to bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah to the top of Mt. Carmel. Before engaging in the contest, Elijah reminded them what the contest was about: determining the identity of the true God. Both sides—Elijah and the pagan prophets—got a chance to build an altar, place a bull on it, and call on their god. The God who answered by setting fire to the wood and consuming the sacrifice would prove they were the true god.
Elijah was polite and let the pagan prophets go first. They prepared their altar and sacrifice and called on the name of their god. No answer. They danced around wildly. Still no answer. Elijah made fun of them. Still no answer. When the time came for the evening sacrifice, Elijah prepared for his turn.
Reflection: Do you think Elijah was worried that God wouldn’t answer him? Have you ever asked God for something and wondered if he would answer?
Eight hundred and fifty people hadn’t been able to get their god to answer. Now one person would try his hand at it. Elijah repaired the altar, piled the wood highly around it, placed the bull on it, and then did something strange. He had people fill jugs with water and pour it over the altar and the sacrifice. In fact, he had them do it three times. Everything was saturated. Then came the test. Elijah depended on his God to demonstrate his power and prove he was the one true God.
Elijah walked up to the altar, lifted his eyes toward heaven, and said, O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Suddenly, fire blazed forth from heaven, burned up the bull and the wood and the stones, and even licked up all the water.
Reflection: How do you think you would have reacted if you had seen this?
The people who hadn’t worshiped the true God before fell on their faces and said, The Lord is God! The Lord is God! Elijah then commanded all the pagan prophets to be put to death because they had led the people away from the one true God.
Reflection: What are some things you can do to lead the people you know to the one true God?
Cut out praying hands for the children, and then let the children color them and write their names on them. Let the children tape them to their shirts. When people ask what the hands mean, tell the children to share what they learned about Elijah praying when he was outnumbered.