An old, familiar hymn reminds us where to put our hope. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.” It can be so tempting to put our hope in the “sweet frame” of the people in our lives, especially if they are generally trustworthy! But even the most stable and Christlike man or woman you know is still a sinner. While the truth that people will disappoint can be kind of a downer, there is an even sweeter truth it points us to – God always keeps His promises.
HOPE: Having Confidence in God's Promises
MEMORY VERSE: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 (NLT)
This Week’s Finish Line: People will disappoint, but God will always keep his promises.Many years after King David and King Solomon, the people of Israel started to forget about God. False prophets came and started telling them about other gods and idols they could worship instead. The people of Israel started to believe these false prophets and put their confidence in what they said. God sent His own prophet, Elijah, to the people of Israel to remind them that He alone is God and He always keeps His promises. In 1 Kings, Elijah challenged the false prophets who worshipped an idol named Baal to a contest. They would each get a bull to sacrifice – the false prophets to Baal, and Elijah to the one True God. This sounds pretty crazy to us today, but sacrificing a bull back then was a way to worship! (But these days, let’s stick with singing worship songs, reading our Bibles, and telling others about God’s love.) After they prepared their sacrifice on a wooden altar, they would each pray and ask their god to set fire to the wood. They agreed that whichever god sent fire would clearly be the true God. The false prophets went first and when they called on the name of Baal…nothing happened. No matter how hard they prayed or how loud they yelled, there was no sign of the manmade god. Then it was Elijah’s turn. Elijah really wanted the people to see that even though people and manmade idols and gods will disappoint, God always keeps His promises. He poured water all over his altar and sacrifice multiple times, and he prayed to the Lord, asking that the people would see that He alone is God and worthy of our trust and hope. Immediately, fire came down from heaven, proving that God is who He says He is. But it didn’t just burn up the bull. God’s fire burned up the wood, stones, and dust around the altar, and even all the water that Elijah had poured! God went above and beyond to prove that we can have confidence in His promises.
- Look at verse 21. What question did Elijah ask the people? (The Israelites were going back and forth between putting their hope in the real God and putting their hope in what the false prophets were telling them. Elijah told them they needed to choose one or the other because you can’t put your hope in God along with anything else.)
- What contest did he suggest to prove if Baal or God was truly worthy of worship? (They would each prepare sacrifices and whoever’s god set it on fire was the real god.)
- What did the prophets of Baal do? (They did whatever they could to get Baal’s attention: yell, dance, prayed to Baal.) What happened to their sacrifice? (Nothing) What did Elijah do differently than the prophets of Baal? (He rebuilt the Lord’s altar with 12 stones, dug a trench around the altar and poured water over everything.)
- How does Elijah’s prayer show you that he put all his hope in the Lord and not in himself or other people? (Elijah wanted everyone to see and know who God is.)
- How did God show His power? (God immediately sent down fire from heaven) What was left after the fire came down from heaven? (Nothing, the fire burned up the sacrifice and wood and even the rocks and water!)
READ 1 KINGS 18:20-39
Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:
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Teacher: Meal TimeReview 1 Kings 18:20-39. What do you think it means to you to put your hope in God and not in a person? You probably don’t have false prophets trying to get you to bow down to an idol, but can you think of some people you might put your hope in instead of God? How can remembering God always keeps His promises help you hope in Him instead of others? Review the list of God’s Promises and have everyone share which one is their favorite.
Friend: Drive Time
Play “Spot the Lie” as you drive around this week, focusing specifically on people vs. God. Whether it’s billboards, talking about movies or shows you’ve watched, or thinking about each of your destinations, where do you see the world trying to convince you that you should put your hope in people? What truth from God can you use to combat those lies?
Thank God for never disappointing you. Ask Him to help you to trust Him when you’re tempted to put your hope in a person instead of fully on Him. Thank Him for all the promises He has kept and all His promises that are waiting to be fulfilled.
Later this summer, we’ll have our last We Believe Weekend of the year. Spend time this week reviewing questions from our We Believe Weekends so that your kiddos can come ready to learn more! Click here for flash cards to use to make a matching game, to keep in your car for summer road trips, or come up with some other fun ways to review together as a family!
God, thank you for keeping your promises. Thank-you for calling us sons and daughters. Help us to go to you when we are scared, sad, or tempted to sin. Help us rest in your promises and thank-you for your son and our Savior, Jesus. Amen.
Next week, we will continue learning about how we can have hope because the world's promises are temporary, but God's promises last forever!
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