The Christian life is one that loves God and loves people. Use this Elisha and the Widow lesson to encourage children to watch for people who need help, especially those who are most vulnerable.
Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 4:1-7
- Air dry clay or air-dry modeling clay
- Olive oil
- Wick (pull from an old candle or purchase a package like this https://a.co/d/7Znn17I through Amazon.)
- Pencil (for making shape of spout for lamp, and small decorative hole designs, if desired)
- Matches or lighter to light wick (Please do not leave lamp unattended, or allow children to get too close or touch.)
Make a small clay oil lamp per directions below. If you have the time, resources, and older children, consider having the children make oil lamps from clay as well.
Roll a golf ball size piece of clay it into a ball.
Use a pencil to make a hole in the top of the ball. (Don’t let pencil go through bottom.)
Pinch around the hole in the top of the clay until you create a round bowl shape. Don’t let the edges get too thin.
Use a pencil to create a little spout to hold the wick by pinching out a little area, raising it, then wrapping it around the end of the pencil.
Put the wick in spout.
Once the basic shape is made, go back and make sure the edges are high enough to hold oil.
Then, if desired, use the pencil to make a design on the lamp.
Allow it to dry before teaching.
Here is a great video showing examples of these lamps and a short explanation devotional:
Geography: The Northern Kingdom of Israel in 892-832B.C
Background: Elisha was a prophet who came after Elijah. He was a disciple of Elijah. He became Elijah’s successor, and Elisha was given a double portion of Elijah’s spirit – he did twice as many miracles as Elijah. Elisha’s name means “God is Salvation.” Elisha held the office of “prophet in Israel” from 892 – 832 B.C., during the reigns of Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and Joash of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Object Lesson for Elisha and the Widow:
- What is light? [Allow for answers. Explain that part of the science of physics studies light, what it is and what is does. Light is electromagnetic waves that travel extremely fast. It is not matter. Light does not need air or water to travel from one place to another. It is similar to the energy of what causes ocean waves to move.]
- Why is light important to us? [Allow for answers; it allows us to see; it causes darkness to go away]
Bible lesson for Elisha and the Widow:
- Do you remember Elijah from a different lesson? [Review that Elisha was Elijah’s follower and servant. When Elijah was taken into heaven, Elisha took over as prophet for Israel. He asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and God graciously granted his request, Elisha did twice as many miracles as Elijah.]
[Read 2nd Kings 4:1-7. Ask:]
- What is a widow?” [A lady whose husband has died. In Bible times, a widow was often a person who had no protection. Once their husband died, they often had no way of making money for themselves, and if their husband left them with no money or with debt, like this widow, they were in real trouble. Losing her home and having no way to feed her children was a real possibility.]
- Why did the lady go to Elisha for help?” [Allow for answers; The lady’s husband was a prophet – a messenger from God, one who served Elisha. She knew that Elisha was the prophet who spoke to kings and commanders on behalf of God’s people. She trusted that he would be able to do something for her in her desperate situation]
- What did Elisha ask her? [What do you have in your house?]
- What did the widow answer to Elisha? [Nothing, except a flask of olive oil.]
- What did Elisha tell her to do? [Borrow as many jars as she could from her friends and neighbors, then go into her house with her sons and start pouring oil into the jars, setting each one aside as it is filled.]
- What happened when the last jar was filled to the brim with oil? [The oil stopped flowing. When she told Elisha what happened, he told her to go and sell all the oil. The money made would pay off her debt and allow her and her sons money to live.]
- Why would people have been willing to pay a lot of money for just olive oil? [Allow for answers; Back in Bible times, olive oil was used for more than just cooking. People used it to heal wounds (see Luke 10:34), as a skin soother or cosmetic (Psalm 104:15), for anointing (see 1 Samuel 16:13), and for light (see Matthew 25:3)]
- How could people use olive oil for light? [Allow for answers; It was usually used in small clay lamps, with a bit of cloth or braided string to make a wick, where the lamp was lit. The oil would soak the wick and help it burn steadily and not burn right up, as it would if it was just the cloth or string. Olive oil was a better burning oil than most others they had access to. It was cleaner and burned brighter.]
[Show the clay lamp. Add some oil and light the wick. Dim the lights and show the video, or if you prefer, sing a hymn or praise song in the light of the lamp.]
- How do you think Elisha knew what to do for the widow? [He was a prophet who heard from God.]
- Was it Elisha who provided all the oil for the lady and her sons? [No, it really came from God. He just told Elisha what to do.]
God is full of mercy. Yes, He has rules for us to follow, however, He cares so much for each of you. The rules He gives us in the Bible are there to protect us.
Another way He takes care of people is through those who believe in Him. God showed mercy to the widow through Elisha.
- What would have happened if Elisha had ignored the woman? [Allow for answers; perhaps she and her sons would have been enslaved to pay off the debt, or they could have died; maybe God would have raised up a different person to show mercy to the woman; Elisha would have missed out on a wonderful miracle of God]
- Have you ever stopped to help someone? [Allow for answers; if the children cannot share an example, share one of yours and discuss the needs met and the blessing of helping.]
- Have you ever ignored someone who needed help? [Allow for answers; if the children cannot share an example, share one of yours and discuss why you chose to not help and what you regretted.]
[Point to the lamp.]
Light makes the darkness go away. One way you can act like the light is to help people who need help. Sometimes you do not have to do much. Just smiling at someone can make the darkness go away for that person. Remembering a person’s name when no one else does is another way.
- Can you think of some other ways you can help others? Be creative! [Allow for answers]
- Who are some people you can help? [Allow for answers]
Jesus tells us in the Bible to be the light of the world. The world can have troubles and be a dark place. Elisha is a wonderful example of a light. He knew that God could provide whatever resources the widow needed, and He did.
What is God saying through Elisha? When you choose to be kind, patient, or loving, then you are acting like Elisha. We need to remember that God’s resources are limitless and that He cares for those who are most vulnerable.
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