Following God is not always easy…we have the great privilege and blessing of living in a time and country that are not too threatening for Christians, but this certainly has not always been the case. In the Bible, we see many instances of people suffering for serving God and obeying His instructions.
This story is one in a series following the prophet Elijah, who experienced more than his share of hardship for sharing God’s word. In Elijah we see perseverance, faith, and trust; and we see those attributes rewarded by God.
Lesson focus: God wants us to honor us first and foremost; He promises to reward our faithfulness with positive results, but poor choices will lead to negative consequences.
Passage: 1 Kings 17:1-6
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Small snacks (bread, crackers, gummy worms); clothespins; paper bags; feathers (dark); google eyes; paper.
Lesson Opening: Begin with a high-paced “raven relay race” today in honor of the birds of the story. This is best placed outdoor or in a large room, but could work anywhere. Have one or two children as “Elijah” (depending on how many total students you have) and the others as ravens (you might want to have two teams with an Elijah and ravens on each team). Have the Elijahs hide and explain to the ravens that they are to find and feed Elijah. Hand each raven a clothespin “beak” and show them a designated area where the snacks are set up. On signal, the ravens must run to the snack pile, retrieve a snack with the clothespin, and bring it back to Elijah. Try to see who gets the most the fastest!
Bible Lesson: Have you ever done or said something that was not very popular? Did you get in trouble or have people angry at you? This is not such an unusual situation (perhaps share an anecdote). But did your words result in a death threat? That is what happened in today’s story…
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” -1 Kings 17:1
Now, in the days that Elijah lived, there were some very bad kings ruling. These men had done some very EVIL things that God did not like, and one of the most wicked was named Ahab. Ahab took over when Elijah was a prophet. God wanted to warn the king that his horrible deeds would not go unpunished, so He sent Elijah to tell that to Ahab. However, this did not make the king too happy, and he wanted to have Elijah captured and killed. So God sent His messenger away and promised to care for Him. Elijah went:
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” 5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. -1 Kings 17:2-6
Now we do not necessarily know every detail, but notice how Elijah acted: he did not question or doubt God but left and followed instruction immediately and went out to an isolated area to hide. What happened to him then? God took care of Him.
Who has ever been camping? Discuss what you might want to pack for a camping trip—clothes, food, compass, flashlight, water, Band-Aids…Elijah did not have that. He trusted that God would follow His word and care for Him. God had a plan for Elijah and took care of him even in the wilderness. Sometimes we feel abandoned or alone…but God is there whether we feel it or not. This story has echoes later in the New Testament, when Jesus tells his disciples
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? -Matthew 6:25
What do we need in this life? Toys? Games? Nice clothes? God has promised to give us what we need. If we follow God and want what He wants we can know that He will care for us, just as He did Elijah.
Craft: A raven full of needs…make a bird puppet that doubles as a prayer and gratitude bag. Using paper bags and materials, craft a bird puppet to remember the ravens in the story. Add eyes, feathers, and more as desired. On slips of paper, write things that might be desired or wanted, but also things that are genuine needs. Place these things inside the raven bag to remember that God will supply all that we need.
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Ask God for wisdom and strength in making choices, and also for gratitude in what He has already granted. Ask God to help us honor Him in all that we say and do.