Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Elisha to teach kids about being merciful to their enemies.
Needed: Bibles, soft balls or paper wads, drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils
Intro Game: Spy Among Us!
Have students close their eyes. Explain that when you walk among them and tap one student on the shoulder, that student is the Spy. When you tap them, they should look up and point to another student.
Have everyone open their eyes and say that the student the Spy pointed is not the Spy. Students then have the opportunity to guess who the Spy is. If they guess more than one person, have them take a vote. If the majority votes for the actual Spy, they win and the game is over. Choose a new Spy and play again.
If the majority is wrong, the person the Spy pointed at is out. Have everyone close their eyes and then, ask the Spy to point to another student. The game continues until students guess the real Spy or the Spy is one of the last two students left. If the Spy makes it to the end, they win.
Play as long as time allows. Then, explain that your story today is about a king who thought there was a spy in his army.
Say, So far, we’ve learned about how Elijah went up to Heaven. Does anyone remember how Elijah got to Heaven? (God sent a fiery chariot down to get him and carry him up to Heaven.)
Then Elijah’s helper, Elisha, became an even greater prophet than Elijah. Today, we’re going to learn about one more miracle that Elisha did.
(Read 2 Kings 6:8-10 with your students.)
“Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, ‘I will set up my camp in such and such a place.’
“[Elisha, the] man of God sent word to the king of Israel: ‘Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.’ So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.”
So, the king of Aram keeps taking his soldiers and having them camp at different places so that they can attack Israel, but the prophet Elisha keeps telling the king of Israel where the Aramean army is. How does Elisha know where the Aramean army is? (God keeps telling him.)
Did you know that God knows everything? Anything that we do, anything that we say, anything that we think, God knows about it. So, God knew exactly where the Aramean army was, and He told Elisha.
(Read 2 Kings 6:11-14 with your students.)
“This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, ‘Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?’
“’None of us, my lord the king,’ said one of his officers, ‘but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.’
“’Go, find out where he is,’ the king ordered, ‘so I can send men and capture him.’ The report came back: ‘He is in Dothan.’ Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.”
Why is the king of Aram sending his army to Elisha? (To capture him so he can’t tell the king of Israel where the Aramean army is going to attack anymore.)
Do you think God will let the Aramean army capture Elisha?
(Read 2 Kings 6:15-17 with your students.)
“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked.
“’Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’
“And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
The Bible says that there were invisible horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha, protecting him. Where do you think those horses and chariots came from? (They came from God.)
Those invisible horses and chariots of fire were from Heaven. God sent them down to protect Elisha from the Aramean army. They were angels. Did you know that there are angels all around us too? We can’t see them most of the time, but God sends His angels down from Heaven to protect us and help us. They’re always with us, just like God is always with us, even if we can’t see them.
(Read 2 Kings 6:18-22 with your students.)
“As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, ‘Strike this army with blindness.’ So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
“Elisha told them, ‘This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.’ And he led them to Samaria.
“After they entered the city, Elisha said, ‘Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.’ Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
“When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, ‘Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?’
“’Do not kill them,’ he answered. ‘Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.’”
So Elisha tricked the Aramean army and took them to the king of Israel. The king of Israel wanted to kill the Aramean soldiers, but Elisha said not to. Why do you think Elisha didn’t want to kill the Aramean soldiers? (They didn’t need to kill them. The Arameans had already been captured and couldn’t fight, so there was no need to kill them.)
God likes it when we are merciful and forgive our enemies. If someone does something mean to us, we shouldn’t try to hurt them back but should be nice to them.
(Read 2 Kings 6:23 with your students.)
“So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
What happened when Elisha was nice to the Aramean army? (They stopped attacking Israel.)
Even though the Arameans had come to capture him, Elisha was nice to them. And because he was nice to them, they stopped attacking. If we are nice to people who are mean to us, that might make them feel bad for being mean to us and try to be nicer to us next time.
So, remember, God likes it when we are nice to the people who are mean to us.
Game: Angels’ Protection Dodgeball
Divide your play area in half and divide the students into two teams. Give each team an equal number of soft balls or paper wads to throw. They have to stay on their side of the play area.
The trick to this version is that each team can choose one or two players to be Angels. The Angels run in front of the balls or paper wads to protect their teammates. They can’t get out. Remind students that God sends His invisible angels to protect and help us.
The team who gets all of the opposite team’s regular members out first wins.
Craft: Angels All Around!
Give students paper and crayons or colored pencils. Have students draw themselves in a scary situation. Then, instruct them to add angels to the picture to protect them.
Remind students that God’s invisible angels are always with us to protect us and help us, just like God is always with us.
Lord, we thank You for sending Your angels to help us. Help us to trust in you as Elisha did and to be merciful to people who are mean to us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Kings and Prophets.