Scripture Reference: 1 Kings 17
Suggested Emphasis: The Lord will provide for our needs.
Memory Verse: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a, NIV
God sent the prophet, Elijah, to tell King Ahab (7th king of Israel) that a terrible drought would come upon Israel because of his disobedience. Ahab’s evil wife, Jezebel, was so angry that she started having prophets of the Lord hunted down and killed. The Lord sent Elijah into hiding by a brook of water. The Lord kept Elijah safe. Twice each day the Lord had bread and meat delivered to Elijah by unusual means – ravens. When the brook dried up, the Lord sent Elijah to the home of a poor widow. Miraculously, during the time Elijah stayed at the home of the widow, she never ran out of flour or oil to make bread. When the widow’s son died, Elijah raised him from the dead. The Lord took care of Elijah.
Many years have passed since the nation of God divided into two separate kingdoms – Israel and Judah. Over the years Judah went on to be ruled by both good and bad kings. Israel, on the other hand, only ever had bad kings.
Israel’s religious decline went on for its entire history. During these times, prophets of God were abundant. They travelled among the people of Israel and Judah declaring the word of the Lord. They prophesied of the rise and fall of kings in both kingdoms. Preaching the plain truth of God could be very dangerous. Disobedient kings did not want to hear about God’s judgement on them. The prophets were often in mortal danger.
Background information on the Divided Kingdom.
At the time of this week’s story, Ahab was the king of Israel. He worshipped false gods and married an evil foreigner named Jezebel. He even built altars and places of worship to Baal and other gods. Jezebel tried to kill off the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18:4).
The prophet, Elijah, was from a small town in Gilead located on the eastern side of the Jordan River. God sent Elijah to King Ahab to warn him that Israel was going to experience a terrible drought. This would happen because Ahab and Jezebel did not obey God. Israel is a hot, dry country during the summer months. The people rely on the rains during the winter and spring in order to get them through these dry months. If no rain came for even one year, they would not be able to raise crops. Not even grass would grow in the open fields for the cattle to eat. In this case, the drought went on for three and a half years. The rivers would be nothing but dry earth. People, as well as crops and cattle, would die from lack of food and water. A drought in this area of the world would bring massive famine to the people.
The drought came just as Elijah had prophesied. God knew that Ahab would try to blame everything on Elijah so He sent Elijah to a safe place. The brook of Kerith is believed to be located within the territory of Gilead on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Here Elijah had plenty of water. He probably lived in a cave near the brook. Since it was best that no one know where Elijah was, God even provided the food for him to eat. Ravens brought food twice a day for Elijah. The Lord protected Elijah from both the famine and Ahab’s anger.
When the brook dried up, the Lord sent Elijah to the home of a widow in Zarephath of Sidon (right in the middle of the area where Jezebel was from!) The widow and her son had been affected by the severe drought. They had just enough flour and oil to make one last loaf of bread. The woman agreed to hide Elijah and, because of the power of the Lord, the supply of flour and oil never ran out. The woman was happy that Elijah was there because her son became ill and died and Elijah raised him from the dead.
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Way to Introduce the Story:
Before class hide a picture of Elijah somewhere in the room. Tell the children that you have hidden a picture of a man named Elijah and that they must try to find him. The children may want to take turns hiding him too! After that, tell the children that you will be learning about a time when God hid Elijah. He hid him in the best place ever where no one could find him.
All of God’s people used to be one country. They had had kings like Saul, David and Solomon. Now they were divided into two countries. One country was called Israel and the other Judah.
Ahab was the king of Israel and he did not obey God. He married a very bad woman named Jezebel. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel made idols to false gods and then worshipped them. They wanted everyone in the country to worship the idols.
There was a man in Israel who did not like the things that King Ahab and Queen Jezebel did. He did not worship idols. This man’s name was Elijah and he only worshipped the one true God.
Elijah was a prophet of God. A prophet is someone who has a special message. God would tell Elijah things and Elijah would go and tell the people. Sometimes people liked what Elijah said and they thanked him for bringing the good messages from God. Sometimes the people did not like the message. Some people did not want to be told they were wrong.
God had a special message for Elijah. He told Elijah to take the message to the King and Queen. God told Elijah to tell them that He was very angry with them because they worshipped idols. Because they kept doing these things then the Lord would send a terrible drought. That would mean that there would be no rain for a long time.
Things happened just like Elijah prophesied. The rain stopped and everything became very dry. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel became very angry. They wanted to kill Elijah the prophet.
But God took care of Elijah. He made sure no one would find him. He told Elijah to go to a special place and to stay there. Even though the rest of the country was dry from the drought, Elijah was safe and always had enough water from a brook. The Lord also made sure Elijah had plenty to eat. Every morning and every evening ravens would fly in and bring Elijah bread and meat to eat.
After a while, the brook dried up and God told Elijah to go to the city of Zarephath. When Elijah travelled he must have noticed how dry everything was. Elijah wondered what he would find in Zarephath.
When Elijah got to the city he found a woman and her son collecting sticks. He asked the woman for a drink of water and she said that she would get some. Then Elijah asked the woman if she would also bring him a little bread. The woman was very sad. She was very poor. She said that she only had enough oil and flour to make one last meal for herself and her son. After that, they would not have anything to eat and they would die.
Elijah told the woman not to worry. She should go ahead and make some bread for Elijah. God would make sure that she still had enough for herself and her son.
Elijah had a special message from the Lord, “As long as the drought lasts, you will always have enough oil and flour to make bread for me and for your family.”
The woman rushed away and made the bread for Elijah. Then she made some for her son and for herself. She had enough flour and oil to make some for her whole family. Then she had enough to make more bread the next day, and the next. As long as the drought lasted, the woman had enough oil and flour.
As time went by the woman’s son became sick and died. She brought the boy to Elijah and asked him to help her.
Elijah carried the boy upstairs to the room where he was staying. He prayed to the Lord to help the boy. Another miracle happened. The Lord made the little boy alive again! Elijah carried him back to his mother and told her how the Lord raised him from the dead.
The woman was very happy! “Now I know that you are a true prophet of God. I know that the Lord is the only true God!”
Elijah continued to stay at the woman’s house for a long time. Even though other people were hungry and the land was dry, God made sure that his prophet, Elijah, was safe. God took care of Elijah.
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
- Who were the wicked king and queen of Israel? Ahab and Jezebel
- What did Ahab and Jezebel do that was wrong? They did not worship God and they built altars to false gods
- What is a prophet? Someone who has a special message
- What was the prophet of God who said that there would be no rain? Elijah
- When the Lord hid Elijah, how did he send him food? By ravens
- When Elijah stayed with the widow, what happened to her oil and flour? They never ran out
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Younger children could go on a walk to collect bird feathers
- Look up and sing songs out of the church songbook concerning God’s care.
- Children can take turns being Elijah and hiding from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.
- Have a race. The children must play like they are ravens and pick up “food” (small objects like clothes pegs) with their mouths and carry them to “Elijah” (their team captain) – no hands allowed!
- Make a Collage. Let children find pictures in old magazines of things that God gives us (food, clothing, houses, toys, family, etc.) Have them cut these and glue them to a poster with the title: “God Takes Care of Us”
- Make bread from oil and flour
- Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
Other Online Resources:
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (ravens bringing food to Elijah) at http://calvarycurriculum.org/
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Elijah helps the widow) at http://calvarycurriculum.org/
- Various Elijah and Elisha worksheets. Available at http://www.squidoo.com/bible-worksheets-OT. When you arrive at the page scroll down to “Samuel / Kings / Chronicles Sunday School Worksheets”.
- Craft: Raven finger puppet printable.
- Instructions at http://www.mssscrafts.com/crafts/raven/index.htm
- Craft: Handprint raven. Instructions at
- Craft: Paper plate raven. Instructions at http://www.daniellesplace.com/
- Craft: Paper bag raven. Instructions at http://www.dltk-kids.com/
- Craft: Adapt this chenille wire crow craft to make a raven at http://www.craftideas.info/
- Craft: Adapt this very cute footprint/handprint crow pattern at http://www.freekidscrafts.com/