Lesson: Showdown on Mount Carmel

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Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Elijah to teach kids who the real God is.

Needed: Bibles

Intro Game: Thumb Wrestling Tournament 

Have students find a partner. When you say, Go!, each pair of students thumb wrestle. The winners of each match pair up with another winner. The losers pair up with another loser. If someone loses twice, they’re out. The winners keep playing until one student wins the tournament.

Play again if time allows. Then, ask, What if God was in a thumb wrestling tournament with the other gods? Who do you think would win? (Explain that God would win because He’s the only God that’s real. The other gods couldn’t even play because they’re not real.)

Lesson

Say, Last time, we learned about how the prophet Elijah told King Ahab that God wasn’t going to let it rain anymore. Does anyone remember why God wasn’t going to let it rain anymore? (Because King Ahab was worshipping fake gods and not doing the right things that God wanted him to do.)

God said that it would only rain again when King Ahab started to believe in Him and do the right things.

Today, we’re going to learn about what God and Elijah did next.

After three years of not having any rain in the kingdom of Israel, King Ahab was getting desperate. All the grass had died, and they were going to have to start killing the animals because there wasn’t enough grass for the animals to eat or water for the animals to drink.

Elijah had been hiding from King Ahab because he was afraid that Ahab would kill him, but now, God told Elijah to go see King Ahab.

(Read 1 Kings 18:17-24 with your students.)

“When King Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, ‘Is that you, you troubler of Israel?’

“’I have not made trouble for Israel,’ Elijah replied. ‘But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.’

“So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’

“But the people said nothing.

Then Elijah said to them, ‘I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The God who answers by fire—He is God.’

“Then all the people said, ‘What you say is good.’”

So Elijah and the prophets of the fake gods, Baal and Asherah, are going to each kill a bull and put it up on an altar on the mountain. Then, they’re going to pray, and whichever god sends fire down from Heaven to burn up the bull, the Israelites will worship as the real god.

Do you think the fake gods, Baal and Asherah, will send fire down from Heaven to burn up the bull, or will the real God send fire down from Heaven to burn up the bull?

(Read 1 Kings 18:25-29 with your students.)

“Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.’ So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

“Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. ‘Baal, answer us!’ they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

“At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’ So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

Why do you think Baal won’t send fire down from Heaven to burn up the bull? (Because Baal isn’t real. He’s a fake god.)

(Read 1 Kings 18:30-35 with your students.)

“Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’ They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, ‘Your name shall be Israel.’ With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold [gallons of water]. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, ‘Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.’

“’Do it again,’ he said, and they did it again.

“’Do it a third time,’ he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.”

Why do you think Elijah keeps telling the people to pour water on the bull that he wants God to send fire down from Heaven to burn up? (To make it even harder for God to send fire down from Heaven and burn it up. Elijah wants to prove that God is so powerful, He can even burn up something that’s wet.)

(Read 1 Kings 18:36-40 with your students.)

“At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: ‘Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at Your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that You, Lord, are God, and that You are turning their hearts back again.’

“Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

“When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord—He is God! The Lord—He is God!’

Then Elijah commanded them, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!’ They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.”

Did God send fire down from Heaven to burn up the bull like Elijah prayed for? (Yes.)

And did the people believe in the real God again? (Yes.)

It says that Elijah took all the prophets of the fake god, Baal, and had them killed. Why do you think he did that? (Because they were teaching people to believe in the fake gods instead of the real God.)

What do you think the prophets of Baal would have done to Elijah if Baal had answered their prayer and God didn’t answer Elijah’s prayer? (They would have killed him.)

(Read 1 Kings 18:41-46 with your students.)

“And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.’ So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.

“‘Go and look toward the sea,’ he told his servant. And he went up and looked.

“‘There is nothing there,’ he said.

“Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’

“The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’

“So Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, “Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.”’

“Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.”

What does it mean when it says that the sky started to get cloudy? What was about to happen? (It was going to rain.)

God was going to make it rain again because the people started believing in God again.

Also, it says that King Ahab rode his chariot back to the city of Jezreel, but Elijah ran in front of the chariot the whole time. How could Elijah run faster than the horses pulling the chariot? (God gave him super speed during that time.)

This whole story is about God doing miracles to show that He’s the real God and that He wants people to believe in Him and only Him.

Game: Race Ya!

Have kids test their speed in a foot race. After the first race, congratulate all the runners and remind them that God gave Elijah the power to run even faster than the horses pulling Ahab’s chariot.

Then, you can mix up the race by requiring students to do different things on their way to the finish line. Suggestions include doing jumping jacks, hopping, skipping, doing the crabwalk, spinning, and running backward.

Closing Prayer

Father God, You are the only God. Help us to respect You and believe in You and follow You as we should. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Kings and Prophets.

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