Use this Elijah and Elisha children’s Sunday School lesson to teach children about how we can serve God best in this life and how we’re looking forward to going to Heaven one day.
Needed: Bibles, blanket or sheet or beach towel, drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils, various objects to hide
Intro Game: Up and Down
Give students blankets, sheets, or beach towels to hold between them. You can break the students into teams or have them complete the following challenges together.
1. Bounce an object 5, 10, and 20 times without dropping it.
2. See how high they can bounce an object.
3. Bounce more than one object for 30 seconds without dropping any of them.
4. Bounce an object while spinning their blanket, sheet, or towel. (Everyone in the circle moves one step between bounces.)
5. Bounce and object while hopping. (Everyone takes one hop between bounces.)
You can add more complicated challenges if your group is doing well. As you finish, point out that we all want to go up to Heaven someday and that today, you’re going to learn about a man who did go to Heaven.
Say, So far, we’ve learned about how the prophet Elijah challenged the prophets of the fake gods, Baal and Asherah, to prove if their God was real or not. Does anyone remember what the challenge was? (Elijah killed one bull and put it on the altar and the prophets of Baal and Asherah killed another bull and put it on their altar. The god who sent fire down from Heaven to burn up the bull would be proven to be the real god.)
And which god sent fire down from Heaven to burn up the bull, the fake gods or the real God? (The real God.)
Then, Elijah took the prophets of the fake gods, Baal and Asherah, and killed them because they were teaching the people to worship fake gods instead of the real God.
Then, the bad queen, Jezebel, tried to kill Elijah, but Elijah ran away into the desert for a little while so that the queen couldn’t find him. While Elijah was in the desert, God told him to go find a man named Elisha and to tell Elisha that God had chosen him to be a prophet too. Then, Elisha became Elijah’s helper, and Elijah taught Elisha how to be a prophet.
(Read 2 Kings 2:1-9 with your students.)
“When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.’
“But Elisha said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel.
“The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, ‘Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?’
“‘Yes, I know,’ Elisha replied, ‘so be quiet.’
“Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’
“And he replied, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So they went to Jericho.
“The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, ‘Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?’
“’Yes, I know,’ he replied, ‘so be quiet.’
“Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’
“And he replied, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them walked on.
“Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.
“When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’
“’Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied.”
What do you think Elisha meant when he said he wanted to have a double portion of Elijah’s spirit? (Elisha meant that he wanted to be twice as good a prophet as Elijah was. He wanted to be twice as powerful so that he could serve God even more.)
(Read 2 Kings 2:10-12 with your students.)
“’You have asked a difficult thing,’ Elijah said, ‘yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.’
“As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, ‘My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’ And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.”
What happened to Elijah? Where did he go? (God took him up to Heaven in a chariot of fire.)
Do you think God will take us to Heaven one day? (Yes.)
When will God take us to Heaven? (When we die.)
What do we have to do for God to take us to Heaven? (We have to believe in God and do the right things that God wants us to do.)
Then, immediately after Elijah went up to Heaven, Elisha became twice as powerful as Elijah had been. He took Elijah’s cloak and smacked the river, and the river moved out of his way, just as it had done for Elijah.
Then, he made a dirty river that was killing people, clean.
One time, when some young men were being disrespectful to him, Elisha called two bears out of the woods, and the bears killed the young men for being disrespectful to God and God’s prophet, Elisha.
After that, he made it so that a poor woman’s ingredients for bread kept getting more and more, just like Elijah had done. Elisha raised a dead boy back to life, just like Elijah had done.
He did all of these miracles from God and more because he had become an even more powerful prophet than Elijah.
Next week, we’ll learn about another miracle that Elisha did, but for now, I want to ask, Do you think Elisha should have wanted to be more powerful than Elijah?
I think it was okay for Elisha to want to be more powerful because he didn’t want to be selfish with his power. He wanted to serve God.
And we can also think about how we can serve God better too. Think about ways that you can serve God better than your parents or the pastor or me. Think about how you can serve God the best out of everyone. But remember that you don’t want to serve just to be better than someone else, but only to serve God the best you can.
Craft: How Can I Serve God Better?
Give students drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils and have them draw a picture of how they could imagine themselves serving God when they get older. When they’re finished, have them explain their drawings to the class.
Game: What’s Missing?
Place a variety of objects on the table or around the room. Have students close their eyes, and then, take one of the objects and put it in your pocket or outside the room. Have students open their eyes and guess what’s missing. Give them hints if they can’t figure it out. The first student to correctly guess what was missing then gets to take the next object.
Play until everyone has had a turn taking an object or as long as time allows. Explain that when God took Elijah up to Heaven, His body wasn’t on earth anymore. God took his spirit and his body up to Heaven. When we die, God will take only our spirit to Heaven. Then, when Jesus comes back to earth, He’ll bring our spirits with Him and will raise our bodies back from the dead to be like new. Then, our spirits will go back in our bodies, and we’ll live forever with God and Jesus.
Father God, we thank You for the story of Elijah being taken to Heaven. We pray that You’ll help us to believe in You so that You’ll take our spirits to Heaven one day. And we pray that while we’re here, You’ll help us to serve You the best that we can. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Kings and Prophets.