2 kings 2
Elijah & Elisha – I Kings 19:14-21 & II Kings 2
This first passage comes on the heels of an amazing display of God’s power when Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel (last week’s lesson!). After such a victory, we would expect to find Elijah exulting, but instead he’s sulking. Why? Things didn’t turn out the way he thought they would. Scripture doesn’t tell us explicitly, but we can infer that perhaps Elijah pictured a dramatic revival breaking out after God so clearly and dramatically defeated Baal. Instead, evil Queen Jezebel hit the warpath, and Elijah was her chief target. He felt lonely, afraid and maybe even depressed. God responded to Elijah’s complaints in verse 14 with action. He let Elijah know about an upcoming, major power shift in governmental leadership to give him hope that things were soon changing, and then, God provided true emotional and spiritual support for Elijah in the form of a friend and mentee, Elisha. God is the source of all power, but sometimes He allows us to experience it tangibly through someone else ministering to us.
God knew best how Elisha’s encouragement would minister to Elijah. There is power in godly friendships. This was no casual commitment Elisha made to Elijah. Elisha killed his yoke of oxen and turned them into a neighborhood barbeque on the fire of his burning farm equipment. His commitment to Elijah was total and deep; he wasn’t turning back, no matter what. Our kids need to see wholehearted commitment to God and deep, godly friendships. They need to know that when they commit to godly friendship, they can become God’s ministers in the lives of others. Elisha’s commitment to Elijah stood the test of time. In the second passage, after a number of years have passed, we see Elijah encouraging Elisha to leave him because Elijah knows his life on earth is near its end, but repeatedly Elisha stands firm. “I will not leave you.”
Friendship is an arena where we can see faith nourished and passed. Shortly before Elijah is taken to heaven, he asks Elisha, “What can I do for you?” Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit – really the Holy Spirit. What a great request! What would happen if what we each most wanted was more of God’s spirit? We know that God honored Elisha’s request because after Elijah was taken to heaven, Elisha repeated a miracle that Elijah had just done - he parted the Jordan River with Elijah’s cloak. All the prophets who saw the incident knew immediately that God’s power, which had been evident in Elijah, had passed to Elisha. What if people looked at us and knew that we were also acting in the power of the Holy Spirit? What would that look like? God gives us, His people, the Holy Spirit so we can live lives that bring Him glory and so we can boldly tell others about Him.
Game – Pass the Baton – have kids run a relay race where they must pass a baton from one to another. Discuss:
- • Who in our story passed something from one person to another? Elijah to Elisha
- • What was passed? His ministry
- • Name some people who have passing faith on to each child. Parents, grandparents, teachers, etc.
- • What would have happened in our race if someone hadn’t grabbed the baton? The team would be disqualified, so the baton had to be handed off but also grabbed
- • Is it possible for someone not to “grab” the baton of faith? Yes, we each must trust Jesus for ourselves. None of us can inherit faith from our parents or friends. Elisha had to decide for himself to leave everything and go with Elijah. He got rid of everything that would hold him back.
- • Activity – Make Whirlwinds – remove wrapper from plastic water bottle. Using a funnel, add a squirt of dishwashing detergent and a teaspoon of glitter. Screw cap back on tightly and swirl water to create a “whirlwind.” When the time came for Elijah’s life on earth to end, he didn’t die. Instead, God swept him up to heaven in a whirlwind – a tornado. He and Enoch are the only people recorded in the Bible who didn’t die. This whirlwind can remind you of Elijah. What are some things you could tell your families about Elijah?
- o He was full of God’s spirit, so he performed many mighty miracles, such as defeating the prophets of Baal, parting the Jordan River with his cloak, being kept alive by ravens bringing him food, raising a child from the dead, helping a widow not run out of food by keeping an endless supply of flour and oil. (See I Kings 17-19).
- o In spite of being a follower of God and having God’s spirit, Elijah was prone to sadness and maybe even depression. God provided people to help and encourage Elijah, such as the widow of Zarephath and Elisha. How did Elisha encourage Elijah? He was committed to Elijah and refused to leave him.
- o How could God use you to encourage others?
- o Who are some people God has placed in your lives whom you could encourage? Help kids to think of friends, neighbors, grandparents, even parents and siblings
- o Just before Elijah left the earth, Elisha asked if he could have a double portion of God’s spirit. How do we know that God honored that request? Elisha performed the same miracle Elijah had just done – he parted the Jordan River with Elijah’s cloak. Also, Elijah told Elisha that if they were together when he was taken, God would grant his request, and they were together.
- o Have you ever asked God to have more of His spirit? To know Him better? God is pleased by these requests. He wants us to know Him more. Ephesians 1:17-18 –“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you….”
What did you learn about God/Jesus?
- • God has a plan for our lives.
- • God is creative and does new things (like taking people to heaven in a whirlwind).
- • God provides encouragement when we need it.
- • God is patient with us when we are tired and discouraged.
- • God provides power to His people in the form of the Holy Spirit.
- • God is pleased when we desire more of Him.
What did you learn about people?
- • People honor God when they are faithful.
- • People can encourage others.
- • People should ask God to know Him better.
What did you learn about yourself?
- • I want to know God and to serve Him.
- • I want to be an encouragement to others.
- • I need other people to encourage and support me.