Friday, November 1, 2013

God is with Us: When We Are Outnumbered - Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)



Theme: God is with Us: When We Are Outnumbered
Scripture Reference: 1 Kings 18:1-40
Memory Verse: 1 Kings 18:21
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objective: 

During the months of January and February, children will explore the theme: God Is with Us. Each week, a familiar story from the Old Testament will be studied and a particular lesson examined. This week, children will learn how they can trust God to be with them when they feel or are outnumbered. 

Say:

(Display the following verse where the children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. If the LORD be God, follow him. 1 Kings 18:21

Icebreaker Questions: 

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? 

Say: 

For eight weeks, we will talk about the theme “God Is with Us.” We will learn eight different stories from the Old Testament—some of which you might already know, that will show us different occasions when we can be assured God is with us. Jesus promises never to leave or forsake his followers, and these stories will teach us how God didn’t with men and women who lived a long time ago. 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 was 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 would send 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 in reality 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 really about: to determine the identity of the true God. Both sides—Elijah and the pagan prophets, would get 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. They began cutting themselves until the blood gushed out. 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 was depending 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, 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 now fell on their faces and said, The Lord is God! The Lord is God! Elijah then commanded that all the pagan prophets be put to death because they had led the people away from the one true God and to false gods. 

Reflection: What are some things you can do to lead the people you know to the one true God?

Activity Time:

When we feel outnumbered, praying can help. 

Praying Hands

Let children color, write their names on, and then cut out the praying hands. Tape them to their shirts. When people ask what it means, tell them to share what they learned about Elijah praying when he was outnumbered. 

Transition:

Elijah let his light for God shine. We can too. 

Song:  



Activity Time: 

Let children complete the Elijah Anagram and color the picture of Elijah Praying.  

Wrap Up:

Let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of Elijah about how God helps us when we’re outnumbered.  

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