This free Bible lesson is based on the story where the King of Syria sends his armies to capture Elisha because he reveals his military plans to Israel’s king. Elisha calms his servant’s fears by praying that God would allow him to see the heavenly armies protecting them. This lesson was prepared with upper elementary age students in mind. The story can be simplified on site for a preschool class. This lesson could also be used for Children’s Church. At the end of the lesson are links to additional resources for you to teach to the individual needs of your class.
Scripture: 2 Kings 6:8-23
Romans 8:31 (NIV) “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Activity to teach the verse: Play musical chairs. Have verse written on board for students to see. When the music stops ask the student still standing a difficulty a student their age might face. When the student names the difficulty, have the students recite the verse together. On the following turns, after the students say the verse have them choose one word (or phrase depending on time) to erase from the board. Play until the verse is completely erased and see if the students as a group recite the verse without seeing it written (If individuals want to try to do it alone that’s ok. It is usually safer to do it as a group because the students will not feel intimidated and they usually will participate better if they say it as a group.)
Students will learn:
- God is all-knowing (Omniscient).
- God is all-powerful and protects us in difficult circumstances.
- God’s love enables us to bless our enemies.
Bible Lesson Elisha’s Enemies
(The following story is just a guide for you as a teacher. Please pray for God to enable you to teach to the individual students in your class using age appropriate language and applications that God will use to speak to them. After praying and preparing for your class trust the Holy Spirit to give you the words to speak as you teach your students. Reading a lesson to your students hinders you from looking into your students eyes and being in tune to their needs.)
For this lesson I have flannel graphs from the Child Evangelism Fellowship Lesson series on Elisha. I will be placing flannel graphs that match each scene for the students to be able to see as well as hear the story.
Before the lesson give all students a Bible who did not bring their own. I try to encourage my students to bring their own Bible. I give them this illustration when they say they forget. When you get dressed and ready to come to church keep in mind that you are not fully dressed if you do not have your Bible in your hand (it is part of the armor of God ? ). You wouldn’t leave the house without a shirt, pants or your shoes would you? It’s a fun way to remind them of the importance of bringing their own Bible if they have one.
How many of you have an enemy? Responses may vary so if someone does raise their hand ask them: Without naming the person, what does your enemy do to you that makes him/her an enemy?
Did you know that everyone in this room should have raised our hands when I asked who has an enemy? We can’t see this enemy but he exists. He is God’s enemy and his name is Satan. Since Satan hates God he attacks what is most special to Him. People are God’s most special creation.
God loves you and me very much so Satan wants to destroy us and keep us from knowing God and the love He has for us. Whenever we face a person that is our enemy we need to remember that Satan is our real enemy, not that person. (Ephesians 6:12) Satan uses that person to try to upset us and become angry or fearful. He is hoping to cause us to turn our eyes away from God so we won’t look to Him for help. Any time we face an enemy we need to remember that God is with us. We need to keep our eyes on Him because He gives us His power to do what is right in our difficult situation.
Activity: Hide and Seek. Before getting into the lesson choose one student to hide and the other to be the one to seek. Have the student seeking stand outside the door to allow the other student to hide. After the student has hidden have a student go to the student outside the door and whisper where the student is hiding. The student comes in and immediately finds the hiding student. Ask the students, “How was he able to find her so quickly?” Would this game be very fun if someone always told the person seeking where others were hiding? Why not? Today in our story we have a similar situation that takes place.
Let’s turn in our Bibles to 2 Kings 6:8-23. Last week we learned about the commander of the Syrian army. Who remembers his name? (Naaman) God healed Naaman from his leprosy when he came to Elisha for help.
Today the King of Syria is trying to attack Israel. The Syrians were Israel’s enemies. The Syrian king called his army commanders together. This is what he might have said, “This is what we are going to do. We are going to secretly set up our camp in this area (have a board that looks like it has battle plans on it). While we secretly camp out here we will attack Israel and have a great victory over them. The commanders of the army thought the King’s plans were good so they would send their soldiers to set up their camp in the place the King told them to.
One of God’s character traits is a big word: Omniscient. Let’s say that word together. Omniscient means all knowing. God knows everything. There are no secrets that can be kept from God. He knows every thing we think and hears every word we say no matter how quietly and privately we speak. Hebrews 4:13
Meanwhile, back in Israel there is a man of God. Who remembers his name? Elisha. As a prophet of God, Elisha would hear the Lord’s voice and tell others what God told him to say.
God spoke to Elisha and told him the Syrian king’s secret plans to attack Israel. God told Elisha exactly where the army would be hiding. Elisha took the message that God gave him and went to the King Jehoram of Israel and said, “Be on guard, don’t have any of your armies go near this particular area because the Syrians are coming there and are planning a surprise attack.”
The King of Israel listened to Elisha’s warning and sent a spy out to the area and sure enough, Elisha’s message was true. The King of Israel didn’t send anyone to that area so the Syrians were not able to attack them.
The King of Syria decided to come up with another secret attack in another area of Israel. He told his commanders a new place for the armies to take up their positions. The armies went and set up their camp and waited to surprise Israel and attack them.
Again, the Lord told Elisha the Syrian king’s secret. Again, Elisha went and warned the King of Israel of the Syrian king’s secret plans. The King of Israel listened to Elisha’s warning and was on guard. He didn’t fall into the enemies’ plans to be destroyed.
This happened time and time again. The King of Syria became suspicious of his own men. How could this happen? Every time he set out to surprise Israel with an attack, they didn’t show up in that area? The king decided there had to be a spy for Israel in his own army. He asked them, “Which one of you is going to Israel and telling them our plans?”
One of the commanders of the army said, “None of us are doing that your majesty. You see there is a man of God named Elisha who lives in Israel. This man tells the King of Israel the very words that you have spoken privately.”
“Is that right? Well then we will just gather up an army and capture this Elisha! He will no longer be able to ruin our plans to attack Israel. Where is he?”
“We have learned that Elisha is in Dothan, your majesty.”
The King of Syria sent a very large army with horses and chariots. They arrived in Dothan at night and surrounded the city. They planned to capture Elisha and take him as a prisoner to their king.
The King of Syria must not have thought his plan out thoroughly because if God told Elisha where his armies were going to attack Israel, what made the king think that God wouldn’t tell Elisha that he was sending armies to capture him?
In our studies on Elisha we have learned that he has had a servant or helper. Last week the servant’s name was Gehazi. In our lesson today Elisha has a different servant and we do not know his name.
It was early in the morning in Dothan. Elisha’s servant got up and went to look out the window. He was startled by what he saw. As far as his eyes could see there were armies from Syria surrounding their town. This frightened him and he quickly went to Elisha with the news.
• Elisha was a man of God and knew that God was in control of all things. He knew that God was all-powerful and was able to protect His people. I don’t know if God told Elisha about the King’s plan to capture him or not. Either way, Elisha was calm and had a peace when his servant was startled.
“Elisha, what shall we do? Don’t you see the armies surrounding us?”
Let’s read verse 16 and see what Elisha said to his servant. (Have a volunteer read.) “Don’t be afraid. Those who are on our side of the battle are more in number than the armies that surround us.”
The servant looked at Elisha and looked back outside. What was Elisha talking about? “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them?”
Elisha had a deeper understanding of God and the unseen spiritual world. He knew that his servant didn’t understand. Elisha prayed to the Lord for his servant. He said, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”
God heard Elisha’s prayer and the servant looked out the window and saw the hills filled with a heavenly army. There were horses and chariots of fire surrounding the town Elisha was in. Elisha’s servant could now see that God was protecting His servant and didn’t need to be afraid of the human army surrounding Dothan.
The Syrian army must have seen movement at the place where Elisha was staying so they began to move in to capture him. As they moved in, Elisha prayed to the Lord again. A few minutes earlier he was asking God to open the eyes of his servant. Now he prayed and asked the Lord to blind the eyes of the Syrian army. God heard Elisha’s prayer and the army lost their sight. They began to stumble around and bump into each other. They must have been confused and a bit frightened not to be able to see where they were going.
Elisha went to the blinded soldiers and said, “You are not on the right road. Let me take you to the city and help you find the man you are looking for.
The Syrian army began to follow Elisha (the man they were hunting). He led them for 12 miles into the center of Samaria. Once in the center of the city where the King of Israel was, Elisha prayed that God would give them back their sight. God opened their eyes and they saw that they were in the middle of their enemies’ territory surrounded by Israelites. Imagine how embarrassed and frightened they must have been.
What do you think they thought their enemy Israel was going to do to them (allow students to answer)?
Before the King of Israel did anything he asked Elisha a question. Have volunteer read verse 21. Elisha told him no. “You wouldn’t kill those you captured on the battlefield. You don’t kill prisoners of war.”
Elisha was reminding the king that he hadn’t captured this army-God had done it. God wanted the soldiers to live so they could go back to Syria and tell what Israel’s God had done. Have volunteer read the second half of verse 22 for Elisha’s instructions to the king. “ You are to set food and water before them so they may eat and drink and return to their own land.”
These Syrian’s were Israel’s enemies. They were always trying to attack them and destroy them. It would have been a natural reaction to want to destroy these men so they wouldn’t bother them anymore.
• God’s ways don’t always match what feels normal to us. He wants people to learn about Him and be saved from their sins. He has told His people to love their enemies and pray for them. (Luke 6:27-36) This does not come naturally to us when someone hurts us. God gives us his power to do things His way if we will allow Him to.
The King obeyed Elisha’s instructions and prepared a great feast for his enemies. When the soldiers were filled, they were allowed to go back home to the King of Syria.
Elisha showed Israel’s enemies God’s kindness. The result of being kind to these enemies who wanted to harm Elisha and the Israelites was that the Syrian army didn’t try to attack Israel again for a very long time.
God protected His people from their enemy and He gave them power to show kindness to them as well. The enemies weren’t expecting kindness from Israel.
As believers in Christ, we don’t always know how our obedience to God is going to be used to help our enemies. We need to daily spend time with God by reading the Bible, pray and obey what His Word teaches.
We always need to be on guard for our enemy the devil. Sometimes we hear phrases like “be on guard for your enemy the devil”. In order to fully understand what that phrase means let me give you some ways the devil (your enemy) may try to attack you this week. Your brother or sister does something to you that really irritates you. Your enemy, the devil wants you to get angry and say something unkind or hurt them physically. At school someone might make fun of you. Your enemy, the devil wants you to say something mean back to them or get you to tell all your friends not to like that person. When you want to do what pleases God this week and you fail, your enemy the devil will tell you it’s too hard to live a Christian life you should just give up. Your enemy the devil doesn’t want you to have God’s joy and peace in your life so he will look for chances to make you sad and scared so you won’t have joy and peace. All of these situations are examples of ways that your enemy the devil may try to attack you.
God’s Word helps us to be able to stand firm against our enemy the devil. Will you be on guard for your enemy, the devil this week? Will you listen carefully to God’s voice so you can know how He wants to protect you? He promises that He is with us. In a few minutes we are going to learn a memory verse that will help us when we face difficulties.
This week will you choose to do things God’s way and be His light in this dark world around us? He wants others to see His love through us. Will you choose to do things God’s way? He will give you victory over the enemy and help you to grow stronger and stronger as a Christian.
If you are not a Christian you will not have God’s power and protection as Elisha did. God gives His power to those who have believed in His Son Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 1:14) When a boy or girl understands that they are a sinner, someone who has broken God’s rules and realizes there is nothing they can do to be close to God until they have those sins removed. When he/she believes that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for the punishment for his/her sins and that God raised Him from the dead on the third day he/she will be saved and becomes a child of God. That is how a person becomes a Christian. Once a person becomes a Christian, God comes to live in his/her heart in the Person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives Christians the power to do what God wants them to do. He goes with His children wherever they go. He gives them the power to do what God tells him/her to do. If you are not a Christian and you want to become one, please speak to me or (co-teacher). We will share with you from the Bible how you can become God’s child today.
- Who was planning secret attacks against Israel?
- Who knew the King of Syria’s secrets?
- What happened to the King of Syria’s plans to attack Israel?
- What did the King of Syria send his soldiers to do?
- Why was Elisha’s servant afraid?
- How did Elisha pray for his servant?
- What did Elisha’s servant see?
- How did Elisha trick the Syrian army?
- What unexpected kindness did the Syrian army receive?
- Who is our true enemy?
- What new thought did you learn from this lesson?
- How will you respond to your difficult circumstances this week?