Scripture: I Kings 18:1-19:18
- Students will learn God is the only god we should worship.
- Students will learn that just like Baal, false gods like money, beauty and even power have no strength or value compared to God.
- Students will learn sometimes God shows himself to us in quiet ways like the whisper to Elijah.
- Students will learn about different false gods idolized in the Bible.
Guiding Question: How can students learn why different false gods were idolized?
Materials: Bibles, paper, pencils, drawing utensils
Procedure: Teach the story of Elijah and Mt. Carmel from the scriptures above. Emphasize the people’s dependence on idols and how the idols distracted them from the true God. Explain that idols are not just statues like the story. Idols can be anything that distracts us from God or becomes a priority in our life. Idols can be a multitude of things – a job, other people, TV, video games, sports, etc. Remind the students that there is nothing wrong with enjoying things like our jobs and TV but they should never come before God. Distractions can keep us from the important things in life. Listening to God requires attention and focus on Him, not on distractions and idols. Explain that there was a “direct” competition between God and the false god Baal promoted by Jezebel. Baal was the god associated with rain, so for God to have caused a drought, won this competition and then brought rain showed God was alive and active. There are many other false gods in the Bible and often the things God did was a way of once again proving God was real and superior to the various false gods. Bring in photos of the depictions of the various gods below, as well as their descriptions. Give students the stories where they are addressed in some way by God’s people when applicable. Have students create a guide to the various false gods in the Bible they can refer to when they are reading the Bible independently. They may choose to illustrate with drawings based on the photos you show.
Hapi – Egyptian god of the Nile. The plagues in the Ten Plagues that impacted the Nile in some way showed God’s superiority
Heket – Egyptian goddess of fertility that had the head of a frog. The plague of frogs in the Ten Plagues showed God was superior to her.
Baal – probably the most familiar false god in the Old Testament and the one featured in this story. He was a Canaanite and a Phoenician god of fertility and rain and is often depicted as a bull
Asherah- a false goddess thought to be the wife of Baal. She was a Canaanite goddess and is associated with the Asherah poles often mentioned in the Old Testament.
Ashtoreth or Ishtar also names for the false goddess thought to be the wife of Baal in other cultures. She was the goddess of fertility and war.
Aphrodite or Venus – a Greek and Roman false goddess of love
Bel – chief false god of Babylon. He was the sun god and is also known as Marduk.
Chemosh – chief god of Moab (where Ruth was raised)
Dagon – is the false god in the story in I Samuel 5. He was a god in Babylonia and Philistia
Molech – chief god of Ammon
Rites of some of these gods can be found in I Kings 14:23-24, 19:18, Jeremiah 7:31 and Hosea 13:2
Some of the Greek and Roman false gods and goddesses may be familiar to older children. The ones mentioned in the New Testament are:
Zeus and Hermes- Acts 14:12
Artemus- Acts 19:24-28
Castor and Pollux- Acts 28:11
Additional Questions: How can students explain the impact idols have on us today?
Supplemental Activity: Have students create a guide of things that can become idols today. Students can create dramatic looking pictures of the idols, name them, and explain how these “idols” serve as distractions.