This lesson focuses on Elisha's ministry as a prophet to Israel. We will focus on 3 events in his ministry, but will list several more. Feel free to include any or all of these stories as you teach the children - based on their age and developmental level. You will most likely not find these in most storybook Bibles, although the Egermeier's Bible Story Book does contain most of them.
The Attack of the She-Bears (2 Kings 2:23-25)
This is one of those stories in the Bible that really captivates children - especially older children, and especially boys. Use your discretion if you want to teach this part of the story or not. Soon after Elisha took over the ministry from Elijah, he was walking to Bethel and some kids started making fun of him and calling him "bald-head". Then, in 2 Kings 2:24: "He turned around and looked at them. And he called down a curse on them. He did it in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods. They attacked 42 of the young fellows." (most translations say "she-bears")
So there you have it. The lesson of this story is that you shouldn't make fun of God's prophets. And tell the children to be especially careful if their preacher has a bald head! But seriously, this teaches us that God cares about how we treat his prophets and leaders.
Elisha Multiplies the Widow's Oil (2 Kings 4:1-7)
The wife of one of the prophets who had passed away came to Elisha needing help. Her husband was in debt to someone when he died, and she didn't have enough money to pay off the debt now that we was gone. And so this man was about to take her two sons as slaves to repay the debt. This would have been devastating to her in that time period to be completely on her own.
Elisha asked her what she had, and she replied that all she had was one jar of oil. Then, Elisha told her to go and ask all her neighbors for as many empty oil jars as she could find. Her neighbors were willing to help and brought her many jars. Elisha told her to start filling them with olive oil, and the oil just kept flowing until all of the jars were full. This allowed her to go sell the oil and make enough money to repay the debt.
Elisha Heals the Shunammite Woman's Son (2 Kings 4:8-37)
Elisha traveled a lot and passed by a town called Shunem frequently. He struck up a friendship with a man and a women who would feed him and let him stay at their house whenever he passed by. Elisha prayed for them to have a child since they did not have one yet. And sure enough, the next year, they had a son. But one day, when he had grown, he became sick and died.
His mother immediately got her servants to prepare a donkey for her and she went looking for Elisha. Elisha saw her coming and asked his servant Gehazi to run ahead and make sure everything was okay. When she got to Elisha and he heard the bad news, he had Gehazi take his staff and run to the house where the boy was laying and place Elisha's staff over his body. Then Elisha arrived and went up to the boy. He laid down on the boy twice and the boy began to start breathing again. He sneezed 7 times and then opened his eyes.
This was certainly a strange way to heal a child, but this was further evidence that God was working through Elisha's ministry.
There were other miracles Elisha performed as well:
The next lesson Naaman is Healed will go into further detail on that miracle.
What do you think your pastor does during the week?
Today, we're going to learn about the ministry of a man named Elisha. He was very busy doing God's work and God performed many miracles through Elisha.
Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.
For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.
For younger children, you can do the "Find the Oil Jars" reinforcement activity along with the lesson.
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: 2 Kings 2:23-25; 2 Kings 4:1-7; 2 Kings 4:27-37
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?
Scripture Then he went out to the spring. He threw the salt into it. He told them, "The Lord says, 'I have made this water pure. It will never cause death again. It will never keep the land from producing crops again.'" 22 The water has stayed pure to this very day. That's what Elisha had said would happen. 2 Kings 2:21-22
Scripture Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." 2 Kings 4:4
Supplies jars or cups, water, spoons
Scripture 2 Kings 4:1-7
Supplies Jar sheet, paint brushes, olive oil, washable markers
Scripture A man came from Baal Shalishah. He brought the man of God 20 loaves of barley bread. They had been baked from the first grain that had ripened. He also brought some heads of new grain. "Give this food to the people to eat," Elisha said. "How can I put this in front of 100 men?" his servant asked. But Elisha answered, "Give it to the people to eat. Do it because the Lord says, 'They will eat and have some left over.'" Then the servant put the food in front of them. They ate it and had some left over. It happened just as the Lord had said it would. 2 Kings 4:42-44
Supplies recipe for yeast rolls
Scripture Elisha went into the room. He shut the door. He was alone with the boy. He prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he got on the bed. He lay down on the boy. His mouth touched the boy's mouth. His eyes touched the boy's eyes. And his hands touched the boy's hands. As Elisha lay on the boy, the boy's body grew warm. 2 Kings 4:33-34
Supplies house picture (see Resource Sheet above), picture of Elisha praying (see Resource Sheet above), glue
Heads up! Be sure to hide the pictures before your students get to class!
Scripture Elisha said, "Go around to all of your neighbors. Ask them for empty jars. Get as many as you can." 2 Kings 4:3
Supplies Oil Jars (1 per page) resource sheet from above
Scripture Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. 2 Kings 4:3
Supplies jars, Strips of paper with parts of Bible story and directions