Elijah Confronts the False Prophets (Sunday School Lesson)

Elijah-Mt-Carmel

This lesson plan is designed for a broad range of elementary aged children. It covers the dramatic events in 1 Kings 18 where THE LORD shows himself to be the only true God in Israel. This Bible lesson is appropriate for children’s church or Sunday School. Please modify to best fit the needs of your class.

Bible Story: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal – 1 Kings 18:16-39
Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by retelling the parts of it.
Target Age: Kindergarten – 5th
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Image Credits: Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

Items Needed:

  • Bible: 1 Kings 18:16-39. There is a detailed explanation below to help bring out some of the important parts of the story.
  • Fire templates (click here to download), red construction paper, scissors, pencils

Teaching Plan: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal

Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.

  • Have templates of fire for the children to trace and cut out of red construction paper – these will be used later in the lesson

Bible Lesson Introduction: Talk with the children about being the only one who believed in God. What would they do? Would they keep believing in God? Remind them that they are blessed to have others that believe with them.
Bible Lesson

  • What part of the Bible is 1 Kings in? The Old Testament
  • What book of the Old Testament is 1 Kings? #11

Read 1 Kings 18:16-39 (NIRV) aloud to the children.

16 Obadiah went back to Ahab. He told Ahab that Elijah wanted to see him. So Ahab went to where Elijah was. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you? You are always stirring up trouble in Israel.” 18 “I haven’t made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have turned away from the Lord’s commands. You have followed the gods that are named after Baal. 19 “Now send for people from all over Israel. Tell them to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the 450 prophets of the god Baal. Also bring the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah. All of them eat at Jezebel’s table.” 20 So Ahab sent that message all through Israel. He gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went there and stood in front of the people. He said, “How long will it take you to make up your minds? If the Lord is the one and only God, follow him. But if Baal is the one and only God, follow him.” The people didn’t say anything. 22 Then Elijah said to them, “I’m the only one of the Lord’s prophets left. But Baal has 450 prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves. Let them cut it into pieces. Then let them put it on the wood. But don’t let them set fire to it. I’ll prepare the other bull. I’ll put it on the wood. But I won’t set fire to it. 24 Then you pray to your god. And I’ll pray to the Lord. The god who answers by sending fire down is the one and only God.” Then all of the people said, “What you are saying is good.”25 Elijah spoke to the prophets of Baal. He said, “Choose one of the bulls. There are
many of you. So prepare your bull first. Pray to your god. But don’t light the fire.” 26 So they prepared the bull they had been given. They prayed to Baal from morning until noon. “Baal! Answer us!” they shouted. But there wasn’t any reply. No one answered. Then they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to tease them. “Shout louder!” he said. “I’m sure Baal is a god! Perhaps he has too much to think about. Or maybe he has gone to the toilet. Or perhaps he’s away on a trip. Maybe he’s sleeping. You might have to wake him up.” 28 So they shouted louder. They cut themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed. That’s what they usually did when things really looked hopeless. 29 It was now past noon. The prophets of Baal continued to prophesy with all their might. They did it until the time came to offer the evening sacrifice. But there wasn’t any reply. No one answered. No one paid any attention. 30 Then Elijah said to all of the people, “Come here to me.” So they went to him. He rebuilt the altar of the Lord. It had been destroyed. 31 Elijah got 12 stones. There was one for each tribe in the family line of Jacob. The Lord’s message had come to Jacob. It had said, “Your name will be Israel.” 32 Elijah used the stones to build an altar in honor of the Lord. He dug a ditch around it. The ditch was large enough to hold 13 quarts of seeds. 33 He arranged the wood for the fire. He cut the bull into pieces. He placed the pieces on the wood. Then he said to some of the people, “Fill four large jars with water. Pour it on the offering and the wood.” So they did. 34 “Do it again,” he said. So they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered. And they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar. It even filled the ditch. 36 When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward. He prayed, “Lord, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Today let everyone know that you are God in Israel. Let them know I’m your servant. Let them know I’ve done all of these things because you commanded me to. 37 Answer me. Lord, answer me. Then these people will know that you are the one and only God. They’ll know that you are turning their hearts back to you again.” 38 The fire of the Lord came down. It burned up the sacrifice. It burned up the wood and the stones and the soil. It even licked up the water in the ditch. 39 All of the people saw it. Then they fell down flat with their faces toward the ground. They cried out, “The Lord is the one and only God! The Lord is the one and only God!”

Discuss Bible Lesson

  • So Elijah is the only one that believes in God!
  • He is going up against 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah.
  • Elijah tells them to get 2 bulls – 1 for the prophets and 1 for him.
  • The prophets start to “pray” to their god to try to light their sacrifice.
  • Nothing is happening with the prophets’ sacrifice.
  • Elijah starts to make fun of them.
  • Now it’s Elijah’s turn!
  • He doesn’t start praying to God to light his sacrifice.
  • He has the people pour 12 jars of water onto his sacrifice.
  • Remember that wet wood doesn’t light easily!
  • Elijah prays that God would light the sacrifice. But not for his glory…but so that the people would turn their hearts towards God.
  • God answers – burns the sacrifice – and all of the water around.
  • Elijah’s prayer came true!
  • All of the people turned towards God.

Bible Lesson Activities

Activity: Acting out the Story

  • Put the children in groups
  • Have the groups come up with a reenactment of the story to share with the class • Encourage them to really put effort and a little craziness into it (after all – it is a funny story)

Activity: Bible Verse Memorization

“Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord. The fire of the Lord came down. It burned up the sacrifice.” 1 Kings 18:30&38

Elijah rebuilt the altar: act like you are building something
Of the Lord: point to heaven
The fire of the Lord came down: raise arms up to the sky and them bring them down It burned up the sacrifice: wave arms in front of body as though nothing is there
1 Kings 18: hold up 10 fingers and then 8 fingers
30: hold up 3 fingers with one hand and make a 0 with the other hand
and 38: hold up 3 fingers with one hand and then hold up 8 fingers (with both hands)
Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization.

Activity: Fire Writing

  • Have the children write the Bible Verse on their Fire Picture from the Welcome Activity.

Evaluation: Have the children retell the parts of the story.


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