“Lesson 96: 1 Kings 18–22,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 96,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
The prophet Elijah called the children of Israel to repent. To show the people that the God of Israel was the only true God, Elijah challenged the priests of Baal to a contest. Elijah prevailed in the contest and then opened the heavens to rain. When Jezebel sought Elijah’s life, he fled. The Lord comforted Elijah and showed him there were 7,000 who were faithful to the Lord.
Using tape, make two lines on the floor as shown (or you could draw lines on the board).
Ask a student to stand in the middle where the ends of the lines are closer together and to place one foot on each line. Explain that one line represents the ways of the Lord, and the other represents false gods and the ways of the world. Then ask the student the following question:
What would happen if you tried to walk down both lines at the same time? (Eventually the student would have to choose which line to follow.)
Thank the student for participating, and invite him or her to be seated. Ask the class:
What are some ways we may be tempted to try to follow the Lord and the ways of the world at the same time?
Invite students to look for principles as they study 1 Kings 18 that can guide them when they must choose whether they will follow either the Lord and His prophets or the world.
To provide context for 1 Kings 18, remind the class that under the leadership of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, most of the people in the Northern Kingdom of Israel had chosen wickedness and were worshipping false gods. Consequently, Elijah had used the sealing power to bring a drought upon the land (see 1 Kings 17:1). Jezebel had killed many of the Lord’s prophets, but Elijah had survived. Summarize 1 Kings 18:1–16 by explaining that Elijah sent a man to tell King Ahab that Elijah was waiting to meet with him.
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 18:17–18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Ahab and Elijah said to each other.
What did Ahab claim Elijah had done? What trouble do you think Ahab was referring to? (You may need to explain that Ahab was likely referring to the drought upon the land.)
Point out that it had not rained in about three years.
What did Elijah say was the true cause of Israel’s troubles?
Explain that Elijah proposed a contest that would demonstrate that Jehovah was the true God. Invite a student to read 1 Kings 18:19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for whom Elijah told Ahab to send to this contest.
Whom did Elijah ask Ahab to send? (All the Israelites and 850 false prophets who worshipped Baal.)
You may want to draw the following diagram on the board to help students visualize this contest:
Ask a student to read 1 Kings 18:21–22 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Elijah said to the people. You may want to explain that the word halt in this case means to hesitate or waver in choosing whom to follow.
What did Elijah tell the people to do?
What truth can Elijah’s words teach us about what the Lord allows us to do? (Students may use different words, but they may identify a truth like the following: The Lord allows us to choose whether we will follow Him or the false gods and unrighteous ways of the world.)
To help students understand this truth, ask a student to read aloud the following statement from For the Strength of Youth:
“You are responsible for the choices you make. …
“While you are free to choose your course of action, you are not free to choose the consequences. Whether for good or bad, consequences follow as a natural result of the choices you make” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 2).
Invite students to look for consequences of the choice to follow the Lord or to follow Baal as they continue to study 1 Kings 18.
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 18:23–24 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the conditions of the contest between the false prophets and Elijah. (You may want to explain that a bullock is a young bull.)
What were the conditions of the contest?
Ask a student to read 1 Kings 18:25–29 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what happened when the false prophets called upon Baal.
What happened when the false prophets called upon Baal?
Explain that these false prophets were wicked people who deliberately led the Israelites away from worshipping the Lord. They promoted evil practices such as sexual immorality and the sacrifice of innocent children. Elijah’s words in verse 27 emphasized that the gods of these false prophets had no power to bless or save the children of Israel.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Kings 18:30–35. Ask the class to follow along and look for how Elijah prepared his sacrifice to the Lord.
To help students visualize Elijah’s preparations, you may want to display a bowl, place a few sticks in it, and pour water over the sticks.
Why might Elijah have poured so much water on the sacrifice and altar? (You may need to explain that it seems Elijah wanted to leave no doubt about the Lord’s power to consume the sacrifice with fire.)
Ask a student to read 1 Kings 18:36–37 aloud. Invite the class to look for what Elijah prayed for.
According to verse 37, in what ways did Elijah want the people to be affected by the demonstration of the Lord’s power?
Ask a student to read 1 Kings 18:38–40 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what happened after Elijah prayed.
What happened after Elijah prayed?
According to verse 39, what did the people say?
What truths can we learn from this account? (Students may identify several truths, including the following: The Lord’s power is greater than the power of men, and the Lord can help us know that He is the true God.)
Ask a student to read 1 Kings 19:1–2 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Ahab did after witnessing Elijah’s miracles and how Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, responded.
How did Jezebel respond to what Ahab told her? (Jezebel swore an oath that she would have Elijah killed within 24 hours.)
Summarize 1 Kings 19:3–8 by explaining that Elijah fled from the land of Israel and traveled many days until he came to Mount Horeb (another name for Mount Sinai).
What are some great events that took place at Mount Sinai during the time of Moses?
Ask a student to read 1 Kings 19:9–12 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what happened as Elijah came to the mount.
How did the Lord choose to communicate with Elijah on this occasion? (Through a still, small voice.)
What can we learn from this account about how the Lord will often communicate with us? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth: The Lord often speaks to us through the still, small voice of the Spirit. Consider writing this truth on the board.)
Invite students to be completely still and quiet for 30 seconds and to listen for any sounds they did not notice before.
What sounds did you hear that you did not notice before?
How might this activity illustrate what we must do to receive the messages the Lord may give us through the still, small voice of the Spirit?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“That sweet, quiet voice of inspiration comes more as a feeling than it does as a sound. Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind. The Holy Ghost communicates with our spirits through the mind more than through the physical senses [see 1 Corinthians 2:14; D&C 8:2; 9:8–9]. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings through promptings and impressions [see D&C 11:13; 100:5]. …
“This process is not reserved for the prophets alone. The gift of the Holy Ghost operates equally with men, women, and even little children. It is within this wondrous gift and power that the spiritual remedy to any problem can be found. …
“You can know the things you need to know. Pray that you will learn to receive that inspiration and remain worthy to receive it. Keep that channel— your mind—clean and free from the clutter of the world” (“Prayer and Promptings,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 44, 45).
What can prevent us from hearing the still, small voice of the Spirit?
When have you felt the still, small voice of the Spirit speak to you? How was that experience a blessing to you? (Remind students not to share anything that is sacred or too personal. You may also want to share an experience.)
Invite students to respond to the following question in their class notebooks or scripture study journals: What will I do to better listen to and follow the still, small voice of the Spirit?
Explain that the Lord comforted Elijah on the mount by teaching him that he was not alone. Invite students to scan 1 Kings 19:16–18 and look for who besides Elijah was still faithful to the Lord.
Summarize 1 Kings 19:19–21 by explaining that Elijah did as the Lord commanded and called Elisha to be a prophet.
Summarize 1 Kings 20–22 by explaining that the Israelites defended themselves in battle against the Syrians. Elijah prophesied that Ahab and Jezebel would die. His words were fulfilled, and eventually they were both killed (see 2 Kings 9).
You may want to conclude by testifying of the truths identified in this lesson. Encourage students to act on what they wrote about how they would listen to and follow the still, small voice.