Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Showdown on Mount Carmel - Youth Sunday School Lesson on 1 Kings 18:16-46


Showdown on Mount Carmel


Brief: God wants to reveal Himself to us, and He does so in powerful ways.

(Printable Student Sheet available for Patreon supporters or with a purchase of Elijah, the Bold and Fearful Prophet.)

Scripture: 1 Kings 18:16-46


Ahab tries to blame Elijah for the drought, but what does Elijah say is the cause of Israel’s trouble?

Abandoning the Lord’s commands and following false gods is at the root of Israel’s problems.

Why would not following God cause trouble? 

God is the only One to whom we owe our love and devotion and obedience.  Because He is the ultimate authority, we should expect punishment when we disobey Him.  When God makes a rule, He doesn’t do it arbitrarily.  God’s rules are “Daddy rules.”  He has set up this world and made us.  He knows that when we don’t follow Him, our lives necessarily take a turn for the worse because we were not made to live in disobedience.  When something is used for a wrong purpose, it doesn’t work as well as when it is used for what it was intended.

In verse 21, Elijah gives the people a choice.  He makes it clear that God alone should be worshipped or not at all.  Why would God rather have people not follow Him than only follow Him partly?

God is holy.  Giving God lip service and not our total devotion is an insult.  It’s like having a wife or a husband who tells you they love you but then cheats on you.  It would be better if they didn’t tell you they love you at all than lie to you.

What evidence do we see today of people only wanting to serve God part way?

God requires complete devotion.  When we don’t give Him our whole lives, we are trying to serve Him and ourselves at the same time. It comes down to whether or not we obey Him in everything.  God is Savior, but He also needs to be Lord (Master).

Elijah makes it a point to mention that, as a follower of God, he is in the minority.  What is the significance of this?

God often uses the minority or the weak to show His power.  He likes doing a lot with a little so that people can see His power more clearly.  Today, genuine Christians are in the minority.  That’s a good thing because it means that God can use us in big ways.  Jesus only had a limited number of disciples compared to the whole Jewish nation and the entire Roman Empire, but look at what they accomplished.

Contrast the prayers and actions of the prophets of Baal to those of Elijah.  

The prophets of Baal shout, dance around the altar, slash themselves, and prophesy frantically for hours and hours with no result.  Elijah is calm and confident and prays for only a few moments.  

Why is Elijah so calm when the prophets of Baal are so frantic?

Elijah knows that he does not have to beg God to reveal Himself.  There is nothing God wants to do more than answer Elijah’s prayer and show Israel that He is God.  God commanded him to do all this.

Notice that Ahab does not stop Elijah from killing the prophets of Baal.  What do you think Ahab is thinking after seeing what has happened?

Hopefully, Ahab has come to a turning point in his life.  Maybe he realizes that he’s been wrong, that his god, Baal, does not exist, and that he’s sinned against the Lord.  Not only has he sinned, but he is responsible for causing a lot of other Israelites to sin.  I think we all have times in our life after we realize something about God that we just need to be quiet and feel sorry for our sin and think.

This passage mentions three geographic places (“Mount Carmel,” “Kishon Valley,” “Jezreel”).  It specifies the times of day when certain events occur (“morning,” “noon,” “midday,” “the time for the evening sacrifice”).  And it refers back to Israel’s past (“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.’” and calling the Lord the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.”)  Why should all these things be important to us?

The Bible is usually very specific in terms of geographic locations and times in order to prove that it’s true.

What evidence do we see in this passage of God and people communicating with each other?

Elijah says that God commanded him to do these things.  Elijah prays.  God answers Elijah’s prayer.

This lesson is included in my book, Elijah, the Bold and Fearful Prophet: Youth Bible Studies on 1 and 2 Kings.
Elijah, the Bold and Fearful Prophet: Youth Bible Studies on 1 and 2 Kings - Perfect for Youth Sunday School Lessons by [Wilson, Rev. Stephen R.]
Kindle $1.99, Print $4.99


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