Our story for today talks about Elijah sleeping under a broom tree. Unlike its name would suggest, it does not have large sweeping branches and leaves. In fact, it is just the opposite. A broom tree is actually a desert shrub with long slender branches, small leaves, and white fragrant blossoms. It has a large canopy which provides only a small amount of shade in the desert.
In Israel the white broom tree was used as kindling for stoves. The roots, trunks, and branches were used for coals because they retained the heat for long periods of time. A traveler through the desert would celebrate finding a broom tree. Although not much, it would provide some shade dur- ing the daylight hours. The traveler could then use the branches for a fire to cook his meal. He would cover the embers from the fire with 2-4 inches of sand for a cozy, warm mattress during the cold, desert night.
God used the attributes of a broom tree to renew Elijah’s strength and spirit.
Review: Last week we learned how God showed Israel once again that He is the one true God. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel led Israel to worship Baal. Elijah, God’s prophet, challenged the prophets of Baal. Whichever god called down fire and burned up the sacrifice would prove that he was the one true God.
The God of Israel easily won the challenge. What did God do to make sure there was no doubt that He was GOD? God burned up the wood, altar, stones, and even the water in the trench. Israel cried out saying, “The Lord He is God!”
Scripture Reading: I Kings 19
Memory Verse: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees in accordance with the entire Law that I com- manded your fathers to obey” 2 Kings 17:13b
- Elijah had just witnessed a miracle of God against the false god Baal. God also ended a drought in the land. Elijah should have been celebrating. Instead, he was afraid and on the run. What was the reason for Elijah’s behavior?
Queen Jezebel, a Baal worshipper, heard about what was done on Mt. Carmel, and said she was going to kill Elijah.
- Elijah went into the desert where he sat under a tree to pray. What did Elijah say to God?
Elijah told God that he had enough and wanted to die; then he went to sleep.
- Elijah had very quickly forgotten the power of almighty God. We are often like Elijah. Has there been a time when you gave up because you had forgotten what God had done for you?
- An angel came and fed Elijah. How long did Elijah travel after eating the food? Where did Elijah go?
Elijah traveled for forty days and forty nights. The Bible states that Elijah was strengthened by the food; this seems to indicate that the food gave Elijah supernatural strength to travel for so long without needing more food. Elijah traveled until he reached Mt. Horeb. This is an alternative name for Mt. Sinai where God gave Moses the Ten Command- ments.
- God told Elijah that He was going to pass by. What four things happened and at what point did God speak to Elijah?
There was a powerful wind, but God was not in the wind. There was an earthquake, but God was not in the earthquake. There was fire, but God was not in the fire. There was a gentle whisper. It was then God spoke to Elijah.
- What good news did God bring Elijah, and what did God tell Elijah to do? God told Elijah that there were 7,000 Jehovah-worshippers that had escaped death. Elijah was to anoint Hazael as king over Aram, Jehu as king over Israel, and Elisha to succeed him as prophet.
This is a wonderful story of God’s compassion and provision for his servant, Elijah. Psalm 103:13- 14 says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Even when we forget what God has done for us, He still loves us and wants only what is good for us.
PRAYUse your prayer time giving praise and adoration to God for who He is. Use the following verses to praise God for His characteristics:
- God the Protector: Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”
- God the Provider: Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glo- rious riches in Christ Jesus.”
- God is With You: Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”• God is Almighty: Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
Cut out the cards found Unit 13 – Names of God and display them for all to see. Discuss the names of God and what they mean. Read the following verses one at a time and see if your family can match the characteristic of God with what Elijah experienced.
I Kings 19:6—Jehovah Jireh
I Kings 19:8—El Shaddai
I Kings 19:11-13—Jehovah Shammah
I Kings 19:18—Jehovah Sabaoth
(Vista Dublin lesson January 25th, Vista Worthington Lesson, February 15th)