Lesson: God provides For Elijah And Widow

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This lesson plan is next in the series following Elijah confronts Ahab.  After the brook dries up God lead Elijah to the widow in Zarephath where He provides a never-ending supply of oil and flour. This Bible lesson is targeted for an older elementary Sunday School class, but could be used in other ministry settings with some modification. See the list of related resources at the end of this post for crafts and other activities.
Activities for learning and discovery for this Lesson:
Depending on your class schedule you can do these activities to have the children participate in activities that meet their learning styles.  In our particular class schedule we have activities prepared for the children as they arrive.  Not all the students arrive on time so we prepare our class schedule to provide activities at the beginning so students do not miss out on the Bible Lesson.  For this lesson the teacher can prepare coloring pages, word puzzles or activity sheets that allow students to have something to write on or color as they visit with each other.  Another idea for this particular lesson that I prepared for our class was a Power Pictionary Game.  I printed up different categories such as Objects, People, and Nature.  In those categories I put appropriate examples of something that is powerful (example:  Object: dynamite, People: President, Nature: Tornado).  I put the names on construction paper that were color coded to the category.  The students would play pictionary with one student drawing a card and drawing the picture and having the other students guess what he/she is drawing.
Scripture: 1 Kings 17:7-16
Target Age: 3rd-5th Grade
Learning Objective(s):
Students will learn:
• God’s power never fails.
• Miracles are something only God can do.
• Obedience to God allows us to see His miraculous provision and care.
• When others see God’s power in our lives they may put their faith in God too.
Memory Verse:
Psalm 77:14 “You are the God who performs miracles; You display your power among the peoples.”
Optional: We have two free printable coloring sheets related to this lesson: The first is an activity maze with Elijah and the Widow. The second is a storyboard type coloring sheet featuring major stories about the prophet Elijah.
Memory Verse Activity:
For the Memory Verse Activity I typically do at the end of the lesson after we have the review questions. What I had in mind for this activity was the tribes on separate mountains (Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal) Deuteronomy 27:11-12.  I divided the verse in two parts and wrote the words on pieces of construction paper.  The students would be divided in half. They would stand in a line facing each other.  Each side would hold the words of the verse so the other side could see and they would read the verse. The other side would then read the second part of the verse and all the students would say the address.  The sides would switch so they could say the section of the verse that they had not said yet.

God Provides For Elijah and Widow Bible Lesson

(In our class we make sure each child has a Bible in their hands.  Most bring their Bible from home but we have Bibles for those who forget or don’t have one.  We want our students to actively follow along as we are teaching the Bible Lesson.  Students can participate throughout the Bible story by volunteering to read a verse that the teacher asks to be read aloud.)
Last week we heard about how God hid Elijah from the wicked King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Does anyone remember what happened that caused Elijah to hide?
Queen Jezebel was very angry with Elijah’s message from God. Since she couldn’t find Elijah and have him killed she tried to have all the prophets of God killed. A man named Obadiah who worked for King Ahab was a true believer in the One True God. When he learned that Jezebel was having God’s prophets killed he planned a way to protect some of them. He took 100 of them and put 50 in one cave and 50 in another and brought them food and water so they could live.
Meanwhile as Queen Jezebel tried to have all the prophets killed, Elijah was safe and sound in God’s care by the Brook Cherith (Kerith Ravine). God provided protection for His servant and daily provided food and water. Does anyone remember from last week how God provided food and water for Elijah?
Each day it didn’t rain, the land got drier and drier. Any water that was available began to evaporate making it more difficult to find water to drink. As Elijah drank from the Brook Cherith he must have noticed it began to dry up as well.
Elijah’s message to Ahab was that there would be no rain for 3 ½ years. As Elijah saw the brook dry up, he now had no water. Although the brook dried up, God’s power did not. When Elijah saw that there was no more water to drink he must have wondered how God would provide for this very important need in his life. Elijah had experienced a miracle when he was fed daily by the ravens. He knew that God could be trusted to provide. Elijah had the faith to believe that God would take care of him even if he didn’t know how.
1 Kings 17:8-9 says, “Then the word of the LORD came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” A widow is a woman whose husband has died and she has not remarried.
What a privilege it is that God would speak to His servant Elijah! We have that same privilege today. When we believe in the Lord Jesus as our Savior, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts and speaks to us through the Words in the Holy Bible.
This part of Elijah’s story is funny if you fully understand what God has told him to do. Remember who wants to have Elijah killed? (Jezebel) Let’s look on this map together. Ahab married a wicked woman that was not an Israelite woman. She came from this land (show on the map). Where did God tell Elijah to go? (Zarephath) Do you think it is interesting that God would send His prophet Elijah to the area where Jezebel was from? Do you think it was because Jezebel would’ve never thought to look for Elijah in her own land where everyone worshiped Baal?
Even though it may have seemed strange to Elijah to go to the land where people worshiped Baal, when he heard God’s words, He arose and went to Zarephath. When God speaks to us we need to obey Him immediately and not delay.
God provides for His people in miraculous ways. The widow in Zarephath most likely worshiped Baal and not the One True God. It might seem strange that God was going to use a woman who did not believe in Him to feed His servant. Just as God had power to cause the ravens to obey Him, He has power to work in an unbeliever’s heart to use her to help His servant.
Elijah traveled to Zarephath which was 100 miles away. He hopped on his motorcycle and zoomed out of town….no that’s not right there were not motorcycles back in the time of Elijah! Elijah tied up his sandals and began his long hike to Zarephath. The Bible doesn’t say but let’s guess how long you think it took for Elijah to walk a distance of 100 miles? However long it took him to get there, he must have been very thirsty unless he was able to find some trickling water along the way.
When Elijah arrived in Zarephath he must have wondered how he would recognize the woman God said would provide for him. God said she was a widow so that would be the best place to start looking. Where would Elijah find a widow in this place? As he arrived he saw a woman gathering sticks. Elijah asked the woman, “Could you bring me some water in a jar that I may have something to drink?” The woman turned to go and get him some water. Her quick response to his request for a drink caused Elijah to realize this must be the widow God had sent him to. As she was going to get his water, he asked her if she would bring him some bread to eat.
From our passage of Scripture I wonder if Elijah introduced himself to the widow as a prophet of God because of the way she responded to him. She said to Elijah, “As the Lord your God lives, (she didn’t refer to God as her Lord) I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”
“Don’t be afraid, go home and bake a small cake of bread for me first. Then bake some bread for your son and for yourself” Elijah said. Elijah could speak with boldness to the widow because the Lord said, “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.”
Because the woman said the ‘Lord your God’ let’s assume that this woman wasn’t a believer in the One True God. She was not a Jew (one of God’s children who had been taught His laws) and most likely worshiped Baal. A man of God has been sent to her with a message from the Lord God saying that she would have a never-ending supply of water and oil. This would be a miracle because no one could have a never-ending supply of flour and oil. (A miracle is something only God can do.) Baal couldn’t do this. Baal who was supposed to be a rain god couldn’t even send rain to the very dry land around them. The widow must have wondered if Elijah’s God could do this.
She went back to her house and did exactly what Elijah told her to do. She took a few spoonfuls of flour and placed them in a bowl. Poured a little oil into the flour and mixed it together and made a little patty of dough and placed it in a pan to cook for Elijah. Next she took some flour and oil to make bread for her son. Finally she made bread for herself. What should have been an empty jar of flour and an empty jar of oil was a jar with flour and a jar with oil. Her ingredients had not run out as she expected they would. This was a miracle! Only God could keep her oil and flour from running out. Imagine how excited she was when she took the bread and gave Elijah some to eat and told him about how there was still flour and oil left!
Elijah stayed with the widow and her son that night. The next day when the widow went to prepare the bread she still had ingredients left over when she made the bread. Each time she prepared the bread, she always had more flour and oil in their jars that she didn’t replenish by going to the market to buy. This was an amazing miracle! God’s power had caused the poor widow to have a never-ending supply of flour and oil!
God had once again provided for Elijah in a miraculous way. Not only had God provided for Elijah, His servant, He provided for a poor widow from Zarephath and her son.
When God showed His power to Elijah by providing a never-ending supply of oil and flour for the widow He was allowing this Baal worshipper to see that He was the One, True God.
God loves all people and wants them to put their faith in Him. Matthew 5: 45 “He makes His sun rise on the evil an on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” God is merciful to all people. He allows good thing to happen even to people who are doing sinful things. Romans 2:4 “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” God was kind to this widow from Zarephath and her son.
Nothing is too hard for God. God is powerful and He is able to take care of His children. When God shows His power in our lives others may see His power and come to believe in the One, True God too.
In the world that we live in there are many people who have not yet believed in the Lord Jesus as the Savior. God wants all people to be saved from sin. Sin leads to death and separation from God for all eternity. God has provided Jesus to save us from our sins. It is through Jesus’ death and resurrection that God has power to save us from our sins.
Maybe you are like the widow from Zarephath. You have experienced God’s kindness and have not yet believed in the Lord Jesus. Today you can call on Jesus and be saved from your sins. What you must do is believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.
If you are a believer then this story is a helpful reminder that God has power to take care of you in any kind of circumstance. Nothing is too hard for Him to help you overcome. Will you pray and ask Him to help you in your difficulty? Will you watch for how He shows His mighty power in your most difficult situations? As others see God helping you in your difficulties will you have the courage to share your faith in Jesus? Will you pray that those who around you who don’t yet believe in Jesus will see God’s power in your life and that will cause them to believe in Him?
Close in prayer. (Teacher: pray for those that have not been saved to see that God has made provision for them to not be separated from Him for all eternity. If they are hearing God calling them they can place their faith in Jesus today. Pray for the students who are saved to be obedient to God and trust Him to work in their lives in powerful ways. Pray that they will have eyes to see the unbelievers in their lives that God can reveal Himself to through their faithful obedience.)
• Where did God send Elijah when the brook dried up? (Zarephath)
• How far away was Zarephath? (About 100 miles)
• Who grew up in the area of Zarephath? (Jezebel)
• What did Elijah ask the widow in Zarephath? (a jar of water to drink)
• Why did the woman think she was going to die? (she only had enough oil and flour for one last cake of bread for her and her son)
• How did God show that He cared for Elijah, the widow and her son? (He miraculously provided never-ending oil and flour)
• What difficulty can you trust God to take care of you in?
• Can you share a time when God took care of you and your family in a difficult situation?
• (Personal question does not need to be answered out loud) Can you think of an unbeliever in your life that may be watching you in your difficult situation? Will you pray for that person to see God’s power in your life so they can believe in Jesus?
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