Lesson 95: 1 Kings 17
previous next

“Lesson 95: 1 Kings 17,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 95,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 95

1 Kings 17


Because King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, established the worship of Baal throughout the Northern Kingdom, the prophet Elijah sealed the heavens, causing years of drought. The Lord preserved Elijah and eventually led him to a widow in Zarephath, who fed him for many days. Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead.

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Kings 17:1–16

A widow in Zarephath provides for Elijah and is blessed with food

Write the following question on the board: What are some choices the Lord and His prophets have asked you to make that require you to exercise faith?

You may want to discuss this question as a class and have students write their responses on the board. Or you may want to divide them into small groups and ask them to discuss their answers. (Answers may include paying tithing, living the standards of the Church [such as those outlined in For the Strength of Youth], and preparing for missionary service.) You may want to share an experience when you faced a decision in which you had to choose whether or not to act in faith.

Invite students to look for principles as they study 1 Kings 17 that can help them understand the blessings they will receive as they make righteous choices with faith.

Remind students that Ahab became the king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and married Jezebel, a Phoenician princess, outside of the covenant. She was a devoted follower of Baal—a false god commonly worshipped among the Canaanites. Together Ahab and Jezebel promoted idol worship in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (see 1 Kings 16:30–33; see also Bible Dictionary, “Jezebel”).

Explain that during this time the Lord sent a prophet named Elijah to deliver a message to King Ahab. Elijah held the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, “by which things that are bound or loosed on earth are bound or loosed in heaven (D&C 128:8–18)” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Elijah”;

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Elijah said to Ahab.

  • In your own words, how would you summarize what Elijah said to Ahab?

Point out that Ahab and others who worshipped Baal claimed that Baal—rather than the Lord—had power over the weather.

  • What purposes do you think the Lord may have had in sending Elijah to tell Ahab that it would not rain until Elijah said so? (It would provide evidence of the Lord’s power and Elijah’s calling as a prophet. A drought might also help to humble Ahab and encourage him and other Israelites who had strayed from the Lord to repent.)

  • How might a drought throughout the land also affect Elijah?

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:2–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord instructed Elijah to do during the drought.

  • How was Elijah blessed for following the Lord’s instructions?

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:7–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what happened next.

  • Where did the Lord tell Elijah to go after the brook dried up? Why? (You may want to explain that the word sustain in this context means to nourish by providing food.)

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:10–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened as Elijah obeyed these instructions from the Lord.

  • What did Elijah ask the widow to do?

  • Why was the widow hesitant to bring a piece of bread to Elijah?

  • If you had been in Elijah’s position, how might you have felt after learning about the desperate circumstances of this widow and her son?

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:13–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how Elijah responded to the woman.

  • What did Elijah instruct the woman to do?

  • How would it test the woman’s faith to feed Elijah before she fed her son and herself?

  • What blessings did the Lord promise to give the woman if she fed Elijah first?

Refer to the question you wrote on the board at the beginning of class and the responses students gave.

  • How is the choice this woman faced similar to some of the choices the Lord and His prophets have asked us to make?

  • What might you have done if you had been in the widow’s position? Why?

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:15–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the woman chose to do.

  • How did the woman show her faith after listening to what Elijah said?

  • What blessings did she receive after she acted in faith?

Invite students to identify a principle illustrated by the account of this widow. They may identify a variety of principles, including the following: Before we can receive the Lord’s promised blessings, we must first act in faith. Consider writing this principle on the board.

  • Why do you think it is important for us to first demonstrate faith before we receive the Lord’s promised blessings?

  • When have you, or someone you know, acted in faith and experienced the Lord’s blessings as a result?

1 Kings 17:17–24

Elijah raises the widow’s son from the dead

Invite students to ponder the following question:

  • Have you ever felt like you were doing your best to exercise faith and obey the words of the Lord and His prophets, but you still experienced challenges in your life?

Explain that after the woman acted in faith on Elijah’s words and received the promised blessings, tragedy struck in her home. Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:17–18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened.

  • What happened to the woman’s son?

  • How might this event have been a challenge for her faith?

  • What feelings do you think Elijah might have had when this happened?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Kings 17:19–23. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Elijah did after the boy died.

  • How did Elijah show his faith in the Lord? What happened next?

Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:24 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how this experience affected the widow’s faith and testimony.

  • What did the woman say she now knew after all that she had experienced?

  • As you consider the woman’s actions and her resulting testimony recorded in 1 Kings 17:24, what principle can we learn about knowing the truth of the Lord’s words? (Students may use different words, but they should identify a principle similar to the following: As we exercise faith in the Lord’s words, we can come to know and testify that His words are true.)

To help students explain, share, and testify of the doctrines and principles they have identified today, invite them to write a two- to three-minute talk using the following outline:

  1. Choose a section in For the Strength of Youth. Read the section you chose, and identify promised blessings that you feel are important to youth today. (For example, some of the promised blessings listed in the “Honesty and Integrity” entry of the booklet include “strength of character,” “peace of mind and self-respect,” and being “trusted by the Lord [and] worthy to enter into His holy temples” [For the Strength of Youth (booklet, 2011), 19].)

  2. Using For the Strength of Youth and related scriptures as resources, explain how we must act in faith to receive the promised blessings you identified.

  3. Give an example of an experience when you or someone else acted in faith and received promised blessings.

  4. Share your testimony that the standards the Lord has given us through His prophets are true.

After students have had sufficient time to prepare, you may want to assign them to use their talks to teach one another or invite a few to give their talks to the class. (If there is not time to give their talks during this class, consider asking some students to use their talks as part of class devotionals in the future. You might also encourage them to use their talks during family home evening or in conversations with family members or friends.)

Conclude by testifying of the principles you have discussed. Ask students to ponder what they feel the Lord would have them do to act in faith so they can receive His promised blessings. Invite them to act on the promptings they receive.

Book Icon
Scripture Mastery Review

Divide the class into groups of four or five. Give each group a six-sided die and a pencil. (If dice are not available, consider adapting the activity by placing six small pieces of paper, each with one of the numbers from 1 to 6 written on it, in an envelope or other container.) Each student will also need a blank piece of paper. Have each group of students sit closely around a table or in a circle. Invite them to open their scriptures to 1 Samuel 16:7 or another mastery passage they are working to memorize. Explain that the object of the activity is to be the first person in the group to write out the passage in its entirety. However, because there is only one pencil per group, only one person in the group can write at a time. A person qualifies to use the pencil by rolling a 1 on the die. Have the members of each group take turns rolling the die (or taking a piece of paper and then returning it). When a person rolls (or selects) a 1, he or she takes the pencil and begins writing, saying aloud each of the words while writing them. Meanwhile, the others in the group take turns rolling the die to qualify to use the pencil. When another student in the group rolls a 1, that person takes the pencil from the previous writer and begins writing the verse on his or her paper while saying the words. The previous writer joins the rest of the group in rolling the die. When students qualify for the pencil and have already written a portion of the verse on their papers, they must read aloud the portion they have written before writing more of the verse. (This provides the repetition that will help students to memorize the verse.) The activity concludes when a student from each of the groups writes the passage in its entirety.

Ask the class to repeat the verse in unison after the activity.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Kings 12–15. Faith

President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained faith in a way that can help give understanding to the faith that the widow of Zarephath demonstrated in 1 Kings 17:12–15.

“Faith, to be faith, must center around something that is not known. Faith, to be faith, must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. Faith, to be faith, must go into the unknown. Faith, to be faith, must walk to the edge of the light, and then a few steps into the darkness. If everything has to be known, if everything has to be explained, if everything has to be certified, then there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it” (“What Is Faith?” in Faith [1983], 42–43).

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that there are three basic elements of faith. Each of these elements of faith is illustrated in 1 Kings 17:

“(1) faith as the assurance of things hoped for that are true, (2) faith as the evidence of things not seen, and (3) faith as the principle of action in all intelligent beings. I describe these three components of faith in the Savior as simultaneously facing the future, looking to the past, and initiating action in the present.

“Faith as the assurance of things hoped for looks to the future. This assurance is founded upon a correct understanding about, and trust in, God and enables us to ‘press forward’ [2 Nephi 31:20] into uncertain and often challenging situations in the service of the Savior. …

“Faith in Christ is inextricably tied to, and results in, hope in Christ for our redemption and exaltation. And assurance and hope make it possible for us to walk to the edge of the light and take a few steps into the darkness—expecting and trusting the light to move and illuminate the way. The combination of assurance and hope initiates action in the present.

“Faith as the evidence of things not seen looks to the past and confirms our trust in God and our confidence in the truthfulness of things not seen. We stepped into the darkness with assurance and hope, and we received evidence and confirmation as the light in fact moved and provided the illumination we needed. The witness we obtained after the trial of our faith [see Ether 12:6] is evidence that enlarges and strengthens our assurance.

“Assurance, action, and evidence influence each other in an ongoing process. This helix is like a coil, and as it spirals upward it expands and widens. These three elements of faith—assurance, action, and evidence—are not separate and discrete; rather, they are interrelated and continuous and cycle upward. And the faith that fuels this ongoing process develops, evolves, and changes. As we again turn and face forward toward an uncertain future, assurance leads to action and produces evidence, which further increases assurance. Our confidence waxes stronger, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” (“Seek Learning by Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, Sept. 2007, 61–63).

1 Kings 17:1. Elijah seals up the heavens

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that the power by which Elijah sealed the heavens was the same sealing power he restored to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple in 1836. President Smith taught:

“There is something very significant in [Elijah’s] edict [in 1 Kings 17:1]. I want you to get it. Follow me … closely: ‘As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.’ The reason I put emphasis upon this is to impress you with the sealing power by which Elijah was able to close the heavens that there should be no rain nor dew until he spoke. …

“The keys that Elijah held were the keys of the everlasting priesthood, the keys of the sealing power, which the Lord gave unto him. And that is what he came and bestowed upon the head of Peter, James and John, and that is what he gave to the Prophet Joseph Smith” (Elijah the Prophet and His Mission [1957], 15, 30).