KING AHAB IS CHALLENGED
Scripture: 1 Kings 16:29-33, 17:1, 18:1-40; Isaiah 46:9
Memory verse: Isaiah 46:9
"I am God, and there is other; I am God, and there is none like me."
Explain that life is full of imitations that try to get us to believe something that is not real. Although these things may fool us and others, there can be only one original. Everything else is just a copy. Even though imitations can be OK in some things, in other areas of our lives only the real will do.
Tell the students this week’s lesson is about a time when the real and the imitation were tested.
Hearing God’s Word
God hadn’t wanted an earthly king for His people. He wanted the people to let Him personally guide them. But the people had insisted on being like the nations around them. When God gave them their request for a king, they gradually turned farther and farther away from God.
Ahab Is Very Wicked
After Jeroboam died, other kings succeeded him as ruler of the Northern Kingdom, or Israel. Once a king named Ahab was in power. He was married to a wicked queen named Jezebel. Jezebel was from a neighbouring group of people called the Sidonians (from Sidon), that worshiped a wicked and false god called Baal. Sadly, Ahab let Jezebel have a great influence on him. He started worshipping the false god called Ball along with her.
Jezebel not only worshiped this false god called Baal, she insisted that everyone else must worship it too. She hated anyone who worshiped the one true God and tried her best to destroy God’s followers. (Ask a student to say the memory verse.) Jeroboam had been the worst king of Israel until Ahab. Now Ahab was the worst king of all.
Famine In The Land
One day the prophet Elijah announced to King Ahab there was going to be a drought in the land. The drought was to last until Ahab saw Elijah again, which turned out to be about 3 ½ years later.
During the drought, all the grassy hillsides became dry and brown. The soil was hard and cracked. No crops could grow. With no crops there was nothing to feed the sheep and oxen and other animals. This in turn made a food shortage for the people. Everyone in King Ahab’s kingdom suffered.
One day King Ahab asked Obadiah, the governor, to go with him to search for some grass to feed the animals. Obadiah had stayed faithful to the one true God, even though many others were worshipping idols. In fact, when Jezebel was trying to get rid of God’s prophets, Obadiah risked his life to hide 100 of them.
As Obadiah looked for grass, he met Elijah. “Go tell Ahab that Elijah is here,” he told Obadiah. Ahab had been looking everywhere for Elijah, but couldn’t find him in any kingdom or nation. Obadiah knew this, and Elijah’s words frightened him. He didn’t want to tell Ahab he had finally found Elijah only to have Elijah carried away somewhere by God’s Spirit. He was afraid Ahab would kill him for letting Elijah get away. Elijah finally convinced Obadiah to tell Ahab.
King Ahab went with Obadiah back to the place where Elijah was waiting. Ahab blamed Elijah for the long drought. “Are you the one who has been causing all the trouble in Israel?” Ahab accused.
“I’m not the one who has caused the trouble,” Elijah answered. “You’re the one who has brought this on the land. You have forsaken God’s commandments. But I’ll give you a chance to show what your god, Baal, can do. As the Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel has commanded, gather all the people and all the prophets of Baal together and have them meet me on Mount Carmel.”
Confrontation On Mount Carmel
Ahab obeyed Elijah because he wanted the drought to end. When the people had gathered together, Elijah asked them a question. What was it? (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 18:21.)
There were 450 false prophets who worshiped Baal and only one prophet of God standing on Mount Carmel. Elijah’s life was surely in danger. But Elijah trusted God to be with him and was confident in God’s protection because he had been obedient to God and worshiped God exclusively.
Two bulls were brought as sacrifices – one for Baal and the other for God. The prophets of Baal were given the first chance to prove their god’s power. They were instructed to build an altar, put the sacrifice upon it, and call upon Baal to send down fire and burn up the sacrifice.
The prophets of Baal cried out to their god all morning, but nothing happened. Noon came and went. Still no fire appeared to burn up the sacrifice.
Elijah began to tease the false prophets. “Where is your god?” Elijah asked. “Has he gone on a trip? Perhaps he is deep in thought. Shout louder. Maybe he is asleep and needs to be awakened.”
The prophets of Baal shouted louder and even cut themselves with knives. They were doing everything they could to get their god’s attention. Still the fire didn’t fall. Finally the prophets of Baal had to give up.
God Answers Elijah
By this time it was evening. “Come near. It is my turn.” Elijah told the people. Elijah used 12 stones to build an altar. Then he dug a trench around the altar. When he placed the wood and sacrifice on the altar, he asked for four barrels of water to be poured over the altar.
The people must have thought Elijah was crazy. The sacrifice would never burn if it was wet. But Elijah wasn’t finished. Three times the barrels were filled. Twelve barrels of water were poured over the sacrifice. By this time water was all over the altar. It even filled the trench around the altar. Then Elijah prayed a simple prayer. What was it? (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 18:36, 37.)
When Elijah finished praying, fire fell from heaven and burned up the sacrifice. It even burned up the wood, the stones and all the water around the altar. When the people saw the fire they fell on their faces and shouted, “The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God!” God showed that He alone is worthy of worship.
Our memory verse this week reminds us of this truth. It says, “I am God, and there is no other, I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isaiah 46:9). (Repeat the memory verse together with the students.) God alone is worthy of our love and praise.
Elijah – one man against all the others – dared to be different. Because of his courage, all the people recognized that the true God is in control.
We Can Be Like Elijah
Do you have the courage to stand alone for God? If Elijah hadn’t stayed true to God, perhaps his whole generation would have worshiped Baal or some other false god. If Christians throughout history hadn’t stayed true to God, you might never have had the chance to hear that God loves you. You might never know He sent Jesus to die for your sins.
God sends workers who will reach our generation with the gospel. Two important places to stand for Jesus are in your home and in your school. God helped Elijah when Elijah called on Him. He will help us have courage too. Stay close to God through daily Bible study, daily prayer, regular church attendance, and obedience to Him. Then, when temptations come, He will give you the courage to say no, and really mean it.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a great way to be like Elijah. God helped Elijah have faith in Him. God gives us spiritual gifts too. When we have the baptism in the Holy Spirit, He can give us faith. He can help us have wisdom in what to say. He can help us talk to God in words we don’t understand.
Accepting God’s Word
God had power to send fire from heaven. God displayed even more power and love when He sent His only Son, Jesus from heaven to die for us. Then Jesus came back to life. This is the ultimate display of God’s power – providing salvation from sin and from sin’s eternal punishment.
Ask if anyone would like to accepted God’s Son into their life. Pray individually with each one who wants to receive God’s gift of love and power – salvation.
Lord, we thank you for what you are currently doing among the Hausa. Many have been serving you for a long time. You have started a good work among the Hausa and we believe You will bring many more into Your Kingdom. The apostle Paul said of the Philippians, "Being confident of this, that he (Jesus) who began a good work in you (Hausa) will carry it on to completion" (Philippians 1:6).
These are difficult days for Hausa believers because of heavy persecution. May they continue to stand firm and be true to their faith in Jesus Christ. Lord, grant your children protection from the vicious attacks of persecutors. We claim your promise in Psalm 91:4,7, "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge...A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you."
May Hausa believers be channels through which the Lord can manifest the light of the gospel. May unbelieving Hausa see Jesus' love revealed in the response and testimony of each believer. We ask for many Hausa to accept Jesus during these troubled days, to find real peace in surrender to Jesus Christ. Amen.
Study 10 | God's Character/O.T. Kings | africaatts.org/go-teach