Carmel Competition – Elijah

Aim:

To help the children understand that God is the only God, the greatest, and he’s real!

Bible base:

1 Kings 18:1-40

You will need:

  • Some items which the children are likely to choose between, for example, an apple and an orange, a football and a book, some Smarties and a tube of fruit pastilles.
  • A few simple props for the story, for example, a crown for Ahab, a cloak for Elijah, a bucket etc.

Preparation

Familiarise yourself with the story from 1 Kings 19 and look carefully at the script so as to know how to use your volunteers.

Presentation

Introduction

  1. Discuss with the children times they have made decisions. Are there times when it’s difficult to make up your mind?
  2. Show the children your items which they may have had to choose between.

Background

  1. Explain to the children that God’s people the Israelites had many bad kings. Probably the worst king was King Ahab, and his wife Jezebel was even hastier than him!
  2. Ahab did not care about God. Jezebel worshipped a false god called Baal and soon the people were so confused that they could not make up their minds about God at all.
  3. God had already sent one message by his special messenger Elijah to try and make Ahab listen. There had been no rain for three years, Ahab was in a foul mood and God sent Elijah to Ahab again.

Story

Choose some volunteers to help you tell the story:

a king Ahab, an Elijah, a few prophets of Baal, all the other children in the assembly will be the crowd watching the competition which takes place.

Story script:

When Ahab and Elijah met, Ahab was so angry he could hardly keep still. (Have Ahab and Elijah standing facing one another, Ahab shaking with rage!)

He was twitching and shaking with anger.

‘You have caused this trouble!’ Ahab shrieked, his voice shrill and squeaking.

‘No, it’s not me,’ said Elijah. ‘You have forgotten to take any notice of God. Now he is going to show you something more about himself.

Get all the people to Mount Carmel.

Get all the prophets of Baal together.

Collect everyone in one big crowd.

There’s going to be a competition.’

Soon, a huge crowd of people were gathered and 450 prophets of Baal, all ready for a big competition.

(Elijah faces the rest of the children.)

‘Listen,’ said Elijah to the people. ‘You’ve got to make up your minds who you think is real. You can’t be on God’s side and Baal’s side. You’ve got to choose.’

But the people said nothing.

They had heard there was a competition coming and they wanted to see it.

‘OK’, said Elijah, ‘bring out two bulls.’ The people obeyed. Normally bulls were burned as a sacrifice to God to show respect and honour, like a kind of present.

(Ask a volunteer to mime bringing out the sacrifice.)

‘The competition will be to see which god brings down fire to burn the sacrifice,’ said Elijah. ‘Do you agree?’

The prophets of Baal stamped and shouted and whooped and made a great noise.

(Prophets of Baal stamp, shout, whoop, etc.)

‘Is that a yes?’ said Elijah.

‘Yes!’ they roared.

(Prophets and Elijah mime appropriately as the story continues.)

The prophets put the large piece of meat on a pile of stones and started to pray.

‘Baal, hear us! Baal hear us! Bring fire – and make it hot!’ (Prophets could say this after you.) But nothing happened.

So they yelled, ‘Baal hear us! Baal hear us! Bring fire and make it snappy!’

But nothing happened. ‘Perhaps he’s out with a friend? Or shopping? Or on the loo? Suggested Elijah, smiling.

The prophets of Baal went crazy: dancing and leaping and screaming.

But nothing happened.

Hours passed.

Elijah said very quietly to the people, ‘Gather round.’ And they did. He built a pile of twelve stones, put on the wood and put the meat on top. Then he asked for a spade. He dug a deep ditch round the stones and asked for a bucket of water.

‘Water?’ said the people. ‘He’s definitely crazy.’

Elijah poured water over the meat. Splash!

‘Doesn’t he realise?’ said a little old woman, ‘It’ll never cook like that.’

Elijah poured on water a second time. Splash.

And a third time. Swoosh.

Water trickled down into the deep ditch. ‘When God wins this competition,’ said Elijah, ‘it will NOT be by chance.’

‘Now God,’ he said, ‘show these people that you are alive, that you are the greatest, that you are the only God, that you are the REAL THING.’

Then God sent fire – it licked up the water like a hungry beast. Flames roared round the stones, the wood, the meat and leapt red and yellow into the sky. When all the people saw this they jumped up in surprise.

‘Wow!’ they yelled. ‘It’s amazing.’

Then they knelt down.

‘It’s true. God is the only God, the real thing. God is the greatest.’

Time to reflect

Ask the children to think about the story they have just heard and seen.

Ask them to think about what they will decide or have decided about God.

Prayer

Invite the children to join in the following prayer (or similar) by saying ‘Amen’ if they wish to:

Dear God, help us to know that you are real and with us even though we can’t see you with our eyes, hear you with our ears or touch you with our hands. Thank you that you are the one true God, the greatest, the real thing. Amen.

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