Because King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, established the worship of Baal throughout the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the prophet Elijah sealed the heavens, causing years of drought. The Lord preserved Elijah and eventually led him to a widow in Zarephath, who fed him during the drought. Elijah raised the widow’s son from the dead.
Write the following question on the board: What are some choices the Lord and His prophets have asked you to make that require you to exercise faith?
You may want to discuss this question as a class and have students write their responses on the board. Or you may want to divide them into small groups and ask them to discuss their answers.
You may want to share an experience when you faced a decision in which you had to choose whether or not to act in faith.
Invite students to look for principles as they study 1 Kings 17 that can help them understand the blessings they will receive as they make righteous choices with faith.
Remind students that Ahab became the king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and married Jezebel, a Phoenician princess, outside of the covenant. She was a devoted follower of Baal—a false god commonly worshipped among the Canaanites. Together Ahab and Jezebel promoted idol worship in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (see 1 Kings 16:30–33; see also Bible Dictionary, “Jezebel”).
Explain that during this time the Lord sent a prophet named Elijah to deliver a message to King Ahab. Elijah held the sealing power of the Melchizedek Priesthood, “by which things that are bound or loosed on earth are bound or loosed in heaven (D&C 128:8–18)” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Elijah”; scriptures.lds.org).
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Elijah said to Ahab.
What did Elijah tell Ahab? (There would be a drought in the land.)
Point out that Ahab and others who worshipped Baal claimed that Baal—rather than the Lord—had power over the weather.
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:2–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord instructed Elijah to do during the drought.
How was Elijah blessed for following the Lord’s instructions?
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:7–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened next.
Where did the Lord tell Elijah to go after the brook dried up? Why? (You may want to explain that the word sustain in this context means to nourish by providing food.)
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:10–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened when Elijah met the widow.
Why did the widow feel she could not feed Elijah?
How would it test the widow’s faith to feed Elijah before she fed her son and herself?
What blessings did the Lord promise to give the woman if she fed Elijah first?
Refer to the question you wrote on the board at the beginning of class and the responses students gave.
How is the choice this woman faced similar to some of the choices the Lord and His prophets have asked us to make?
What might you have done if you had been in the widow’s position? Why?
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:15–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the woman chose to do.
How did the woman show her faith after listening to what Elijah said?
What blessings did she receive after she acted in faith?
Invite students to identify a principle illustrated by the account of this widow. They may identify a variety of principles, including the following: Before we can receive the Lord’s promised blessings, we must first act in faith. Consider writing this principle on the board.
Why do you think it is important for us to first demonstrate faith before we receive the Lord’s promised blessings?
Ask students to describe an experience when they, or someone they know, acted in faith and received the Lord’s blessings as a result.
Invite students to ponder the following question:
Have you ever felt like you were doing your best to exercise faith and obey the words of the Lord and His prophets, but you still experienced challenges in your life?
Explain that after the woman acted in faith on Elijah’s words and received the promised blessings, tragedy struck in her home. Invite a student to read 1 Kings 17:17–18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened.
What happened to the woman’s son?
How might this event have been a challenge for her faith?
What feelings do you think Elijah might have had when this happened?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Kings 17:19–24. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Elijah did after the boy died and how the experience affected the widow’s faith and testimony.
How did Elijah show his faith in the Lord? What happened next?
What did the woman say she now knew after all that she had experienced?
As you consider the woman’s actions and her resulting testimony recorded in 1 Kings 17:24, what principle can we learn about knowing the truth of the Lord’s words? (Students may use different words, but they should identify a principle similar to the following: As we exercise faith in the Lord’s words, we can come to know and testify that His words are true. Write this principle on the board.)
Consider inviting students to think about how they have come to know that the Lord’s words are true. Invite a few students to share their testimonies of this principle. You may also want to share your testimony.
Ask students to ponder what they feel the Lord would have them do to act in faith so they can receive His promised blessings. Invite them to act on the promptings they receive.
Show students the picture Elijah Contends against the Priests of Baal (Gospel Art Book , no. 20; see also LDS.org). Explain that in their study during the coming week, they will learn about a confrontation between Elijah and the priests of Baal; how God blessed Elijah to defeat the priests of Baal; and how the wicked queen Jezebel finally met her end.