TEXT: 1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:1-15
The students will be able to describe how God's power took Elijah to Heaven and also answered Elisha's request for a double portion of Elijah's spirit.
BIBLE LESSON OUTLINE
Introduction: Open your class session by distributing "double" treats to each of your students: two cookies, two stickers, two balloons, etc. Discuss what a double portion is.
- By throwing his mantle over Elisha's shoulders as he plowed in the field, Elijah indicated that Elisha would be his successor as prophet in Israel. Elisha immediately followed Elijah and became his helper.
- Elisha persisted in staying at Elijah's side, knowing that he would soon be taken from him.
- Elijah smote the waters of Jordan with his mantle, and the waters parted.
- Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit, and Elijah said this would be granted if he saw him when he departed.
- The chariot and horses of fire parted Elijah and Elisha, and a whirlwind took Elijah to Heaven. Elisha saw him go, and took up the mantle of Elijah when it fell to the ground.
Climax: Elisha smote the waters of Jordan with Elijah's mantle, and again the waters parted.
Conclusion: God granted Elisha's request for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. He performed many more miracles than Elijah according to scriptural records.
Response: Your students will be able to tell what Elisha requested of Elijah, and recount the events that took place when Elijah was taken to Heaven.
The fact that Elisha was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen when Elijah threw his mantle over him gives indication that he came from a wealthy family. Nevertheless, he immediately left it all to follow the man of God.
Elijah and Elisha were two of the greatest prophets Israel had ever known. But the two men were quite different in many ways. Elijah liked to live outdoors in the wilderness; Elisha lived in homes and liked the city. Elijah was rugged and forcefully impetuous in speech; Elisha tended to be more diplomatic. Elijah dressed in a cloak of camel's hair, but Elisha usually dressed like others of his day. Elijah spent his life in a struggle against the evils of his time, and went through a period of great depression. Elisha lived a more triumphant life as he mingled with his fellowmen. We have no record that he ever complained of his lot, fled from his enemies, or lost his courage.
There were, however, many parallels in the lives of the two men. Both smote the waters of the River Jordan: and passed over on dry ground, both brought waters in time of drought, both increased a widow's store of food, raised boys from the dead, pronounced sentences upon kings, and called down vengeance on unbelievers.
Elisha's reception of the cloak of Elijah, both when it was first cast over his shoulders at his initial call, and again when it fell from the whirlwind, is symbolic. Throwing a cloak over another's shoulders represented a transfer of power, of position, or a call to leadership.
- Use a chalkboard or paper to draw a field where Elijah found Elisha. Dolls can be dressed as the men. Then show a road and Elisha following Elijah around to the towns and then to the Jordan. Another scene would have Elijah's mantle striking the water and their crossing. After that have a flannelgraph figure of a chariot above them. Then Elisha strikes the water again with Elijah's mantle.
- Provide each student with a blank sheet of paper with a piece of carbon over it. Give them a sheet of paper with the starburst shape (see Patterns) printed on it. Have .them trace over the starburst pattern so the design will appear on the left side of the sheet underneath. As they trace, describe how Elisha wanted the power Elijah had. Have them write the words, "God's Power" in the center. Then tell how Elisha wanted even more, so he asked for a "double portion." Have them move the top paper over and trace the shape again, leaving the carbon in position over the sheet of paper underneath. When the carbon 'is lifted, the student should see two complete shapes. Write "Elisha Prayed for a Double Portion" across the top. If time permits, allow your students to color the starburst shapes.
- Use a divided sheet of paper for Elijah's and Elisha's works. List some of the things that Elijah did and then list the things that Elisha did. Elisha's list will be longer. Bring examples of how two are better than one: i.e., bicycle vs. unicycle; two feet vs. one foot; etc.
- What is the meaning of the lesson title—"A Double Portion"?
- Why did Elijah "cast his mantle" upon Elisha? What is a mantle? Do you think Elisha knew why Elijah did this? Why or why not?
- How does God call people today to serve Him?
- Was Elisha's call from Elijah or from God? Explain.
- What are some of the characteristics or qualities in Elisha that made him a good choice as Elijah's successor? What is the meaning of successor?
- What qualities is God looking for in the people He chooses to work for Him today?
- When Elisha desired to follow Elijah (no doubt he felt that God had called him to do so) why do you suppose Elijah said several times, "Tarry here"?
- What is the meaning of consecration? Do you suppose God tests people today regarding their consecrations? Explain.
- What did Elisha desire of Elijah and did he obtain his wish? How do you know?
- To show how "two are better," bring double treats for your children; two sticks of gum, two balloons, two pennies, two baggies of fish crackers.
- Show pictures (or use dolls) to illustrate a child's doing good deeds (sharing, obeying, being kind, etc.), but do each thing twice. For example: "Teddy shared his apple with Susie; he also gave some to Jamie." Elisha wanted to be able to do lots of good things for God.
- Color fire on picture of chariot (see Patterns).
Make a list, or show simple sketches representing the miracles Elijah did. Describe how Elisha prayed for a double portion of Elijah's spirit, then make a list or show sketches illustrating the miracles of Elisha. This list will be approximately twice as long. God answered his prayer!
If you have any twins in your group or the church congregation, enlist their help in presenting your review. Bring out one twin first, and explain how this one person could be a helper for Jesus. Give him/her some objects appropriate to the tasks you describe: a Bible, an invitation, a broom, etc. Then point out that two could do even more for Jesus. Have other twin appear. Elisha wanted a "double portion" so he could do even more for God.
- See Unit Support Material