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Elijah and the bully

To identify the loneliness felt in a bullying situation and to recognize that we are rarely alone at these times (SEAL theme 3, ‘Say no to bullying’).

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To identify the loneliness felt in a bullying situation and to recognize that we are rarely alone at these times (SEAL theme 3, ‘Say no to bullying’).

Preparation and materials

  • Read the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19.
  • On a whiteboard/blackboard draw a circle of hands.

Assembly

  1. Explain to the children that you are going to tell them a story today about a man who felt very lonely, and very afraid. This man was a well-known messenger of God whom God had used very powerfully to do many miraculous things. In fact just before the part of the story we are going to hear about today, this man had just called on God to light a fire from heaven on a very, very wet pile of wood … and God did!

    But Elijah had made an enemy of a woman whose name was Jezebel. You wouldn’t think that a man like Elijah would be afraid of a woman, but believe me he was. It has to be said that Jezebel was the queen of the land, so she was pretty powerful. She was used to getting her own way and she had done some pretty nasty things to people. It was her words that terrified Elijah.

    ‘By this time tomorrow you are a dead man!’ she had threatened.

    Do you know what Elijah did? He was so afraid of Jezebel and her threats that he ran for his life. He ran, and ran, and ran, far away from Jezebel, and then, just to make sure he was really far enough away, he went a day’s journey into the desert. You can imagine how exhausted he was. The Bible tells us that he sat down under probably the only tree for miles and prayed that he might die.

    ‘I have had enough, Lord. Take my life.’ He lay down under the tree and fell asleep. He was absolutely exhausted.

    Now God knew that the first things Elijah needed now were a good sleep and then some food. So after Elijah had had a long sleep, an angel was sent with bread and water. Elijah sat up, ate this, and then fell asleep again. The angel came with food a second time. I wonder if you have ever felt better after a good night’s sleep and some good food!

    After that Elijah got up and travelled for 40 days and nights, guided by God. He spent the night in a cave on the hillside.

    ‘What are you doing here?’ God finally asked him.

    Now it was time to talk, and talk Elijah did. He poured out all his fears to God. He told God how he had tried to follow in God’s ways, he told God all about Jezebel and what a bully she was, and he told God how very lonely he felt. ‘I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me.’

    God is a very good listener and he is a very powerful friend. While Elijah stood inside the cave God sent a great and powerful wind which tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks. Then he sent a massive earthquake, then a great fire. All this was to show Elijah that he had a very powerful friend in God.

    After this God spoke in a gentle whisper to Elijah. This is what he said: ‘Go back, Elijah, the way you came and you will find some people to help you. Two will become kings and one will become a prophet and a very good friend. And by the way, Elijah … there are seven thousand people back in Israel who are my friends and your friends! You are not on your own!

    And do you know, Jezebel never got her hands on Elijah! In fact she came to a very sticky end, but that is another story.
  2. Ask the children if any of them can identify with the story of Elijah. Perhaps there have been occasions when they have been bullied by someone stronger. Perhaps they have felt afraid and very lonely.

    Explain that this should never happen and is never acceptable in our school. Explain that like Elijah there will always be many people around to support us if this should ever happen to us.

Time for reflection

Draw the children’s attention to the circle of hands on the whiteboard.
Explain that this represents a circle of friendship around each one of us, people who care for us, people to whom we can go when we are in trouble.
Ask the children to think about the adults and children in their lives.
Whose names would they write on their circle of friendship?

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that you helped Elijah.

Thank you that you have promised to help anyone who asks you.
Thank you that we also have adults and friends who care for us,

people we can talk to about our fears.
Help us also to look out for one another.
Amen.

Song/music

‘There are hundreds of sparrows’ (Come and Praise, 15)

Publication date: February 2010   (Vol.12 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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