Elijah vs. the Prophets of Baal
Worshiping the one true God
A blue ribbon that could be given as a prize.
Scripture: When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” 1 Kings 18:39
Activities + Resources
Children's Sermon: Elijah vs. the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:39)
Have you ever entered a contest? What kind of contest was it? (Give the children time to respond.) There are many types of contests. For example, we might pass out the coloring page that goes with today's Bible lesson and have a contest to see who can color it the best. We might even give a blue ribbon like this one to the person who wins the contest. (Show them the ribbon.)
Our Bible lesson today is about a contest between a prophet of God named Elijah and the prophets who served a false god by the name of Baal. This contest was very important because it would show everyone who the one true God is.
Why did Elijah have a contest with the prophets of Baal? During the time of Elijah, there was a King in Israel by the name of Ahab. King Ahab was an evil King. He was so evil that he would kill someone just so he could take their land. Ahab did not love God or worship him and because of that, many of the people of Israel were led away from the worship of the one true God.
God was very sad to see His people worshiping false gods. He wanted them to know that He was the one true God who loved them and cared for them. So, He decided to send His prophet Elijah to teach the people a very important lesson.
Elijah was a brave man who loved God very much. He knew that it was not easy to stand up against the evil King Ahab and the false prophets of Baal. But he trusted in the one true God and was ready to do what God asked him to do.
God told his prophet Elijah to go and face up to Ahab. So Elijah went to see Ahab and he offered him a challenge. “Let’s have a contest," he said. "Each of us will build an altar and prepare a sacrifice and place it on an altar. Then you will ask your god to set fire to your sacrifice. I will ask my God to set fire to my sacrifice—and we’ll see who wins.”
King Ahab agreed to the contest, and he gathered all the prophets of Baal together. There were 450 prophets of Baal, but only one prophet of the one true God, Elijah. This made the contest even more exciting and challenging.
The prophets of Baal went first. They built their altar and placed their sacrifice on it. Then they started praying and calling on their god, Baal, to send fire to burn the sacrifice. They prayed and shouted for hours, but nothing happened. They even started dancing and cutting themselves to show their devotion to their god, but still, there was no fire.
Elijah watched them and knew that their god would not answer because their god was not real. He knew that the one true God would show His power and love for His people. So, Elijah decided to make the contest even more difficult for himself.
He built his altar and placed his sacrifice on it. Then, he dug a trench around the altar and asked the people to pour water on the sacrifice and the wood. They did this three times, making everything very wet. It seemed impossible for the fire to burn the wet sacrifice.
But Elijah had faith in the one true God. He walked up to the altar and prayed, "O Lord, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant." Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the sacrifice that Elijah had placed on the altar! The fire was so strong that it even burned up the wet wood, the stones, and the water in the trench!
When the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!” They realized that they had been wrong to worship false gods and turned back to the one true God.
Elijah's contest with the prophets of Baal taught the people a very important lesson. They learned that there is only one true God who is powerful and loving. They also learned that they should always trust and worship Him, no matter what challenges they face in life.
We should also learn from this story and remember that the one true God is always with us. He is always ready to help us when we need Him, and He wants us to trust and worship Him every day.
Let's make a promise to ourselves and to God that we will always choose to follow the one true God and never be led away by false gods or ideas. We can pray and ask God to help us be strong and faithful, just like Elijah.
Let us pray. Lord God, help us to see, as Elijah demonstrated, that you are the one true God. May we always serve you and follow your commands. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.