It is important to make the connection between previous stories and this one. Israel had divided into two: Israel (Northern Kingdom, 10 tribes, bad kings) and Judah (Southern Kingdom, 2 tribes, good and bad kings). Elijah was called to be a prophet and tell the people of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) what God has to say. To get their attention, God told Elijah to tell Ahab, the bad king of Israel, that there was going to be a drought in the land for several years, until Elijah came back to him. So Elijah rode out the drought next to a brook being fed by ravens and then at a poor widow's house where God miraculously provided food for her, her son, and Elijah.
Elijah and Obadiah
Three years later, God told Elijah to go back to King Ahab and declare that the drought was going to end. On the way to speak to Ahab, Elijah met a man named Obadiah. Obadiah worked for bad King Ahab, but he was a good guy. You see, Ahab's wife Jezebel was a really bad woman. She led King Ahab to worship false gods and was even killing the true God's prophets. Obadiah had great respect for God and so he was secretly hiding God's prophets in caves to keep them away from Jezebel. He was nervous that King Ahab would find out about it.
So when Elijah came upon Obadiah, and asked Obadiah to go get Ahab, he was scared. He thought for sure he would tell Ahab that he found Elijah, and then when Ahab came to where Elijah was, he would be gone - and Obadiah would be a goner... But Elijah reassured him that he wouldn't do such a thing to him, so Obadiah went to get King Ahab. And that's where the fun begins...
Elijah and the False Prophets on Mount Carmel
Elijah told Ahab to go get all the people of Israel, 450 prophets of a false god named Baal, and 400 prophets of a false prophet named Asherah (remember the Asherah poles Josiah destroyed?). So Ahab gathered everyone at Mount Carmel and Elijah issued his challenge.
He had 2 bulls brought to the mountain and placed on altars. His challenge to the prophets of Baal was that the god who sent down fire to burn up the bull on their altar without the prophet starting the fire would be the one true God. He had the prophets of Baal start first. They put their bull on the altar and called for their god named Baal. (Have fun with this when you tell the story) "Baal! Baal! Send fire down! Baal? Anyone there? Hellooooooo????"
Elijah started to make fun of them. "Maybe you need to yell louder? Maybe he is asleep? Maybe he's really busy or away on a trip? Maybe he's using the bathroom?" Baal never answered.
Now it was Elijah's turn. He decided to up the challenge. He built an altar out of 12 stones (anyone guess why 12 stones?). He put the bull on the altar just like the prophets of Baal, but he also dug a trench around the altar and had them pour buckets and buckets of water over the altar and the bull until the trench filled up. When he prayed, though, God sent fire down and immediately burned up the bull and licked up every drop of water around the altar. Woah - that must have been cool to see...!
The people believed that God was the one true God and they had all the prophets of Baal and Asherah put to death.
Tell us about a time when God answered one of your prayers.
Today, we're going to learn about a time when God answered Elijah prayer and something really amazing happened!
Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.
For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud 1 Kings 18:16-46
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?