The topic of this class is Solomon, and how we can learn from him. This lesson correlates with lesson twenty-six in the Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Sunday School Class of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This lesson plan can be used by Sunday School or other church group teachers, Bible study groups, or individuals to enrich their study of the Bible. If you are teaching, feel free to adapt the material to the needs of your class and as prompted by the Spirit.
This lesson covers 1 Kings 3-11 in The Old Testament.
Scriptures (especially The Old Testament, but also The New Testament, The Book of Mormon, and The Doctrine and Covenants–abbreviated D&C)
Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Sunday School Class Teacher’s Manual of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (click here to view this section online)
Over the past several weeks, we have learned about David. Although David committed some serious sins, he also had a testimony of the Lord and had many spiritual experiences throughout his life. Some of the Psalms were written by David. When David was old and knew that he was approaching the end of his life, he called his and Bathsheba’s son, Solomon, to him. He gave Solomon advice, much of telling him to live righteously. After the death of his father, Solomon became king (See 1 Kings 2). Solomon, like his father, was known in his early reign for his integrity and spiritual strength. Unfortunately, also like his father, he eventually grew away from the Lord.
Like a Child
Read 1 Chronicles 29:1. Solomon is described by his father as being “young and tender”. There is a lot of debate about how old Solomon actually was when he became king. It is clear from his actions, though, that he was not a young child. He may have been a young man, but he was certainly a grown man.
Why, then, is he described as “young and tender”? In this case, it is describing his state of being rather than his age. He is not childish, but child-like. [You may want to ask a class member to explain the distinction between these two terms. You may want to use this great talk on this subject: “As a Child” by Elder Henry B. Eyring in the May 2006 Ensign.]
So what is it to be child-like?
To illustrate, I brought my four-year-old into the class. I asked her to tell the class about Jesus, prayer, and faith. I also asked her about her family and “being good”. Although she is only four, she has a sweetness of spirit and love for the Saviour that we can all learn from. If you can, you may want to ask a child to help you or ask for a primary class to visit.
Being child-like means having a unique blend of confidence and humility. If you tell my daughter that she’s good at drawing, for example, she says, “Thanks. I know.” She’s not being prideful (usually), she just recognizes that it’s a talent of hers. At the same time, children are so incredibly humble. They trust (their parents and the Lord) implicitly.
We are instructed to be like children. Christ himself taught that children are “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-4) [You may want to use Elder Marlin K. Jensen’s talk “To Walk Humbly with They God” from the July 2001 Liahona.
Solomon identified himself as being as a child.
Loving the Lord
Read 1 Kings 3:3-4. I love that it says that “Solomon loved the Lord.” We don’t read that he was perfect or that he was better than everyone else. The scriptures state simply that his heart was full of love. He loved the Lord, and that motivated his actions. Christ himself taught the importance of love. Read Matthew 22:36-40. Solomon did not merely proclaim love of the Lord, he lived it. we read that he walked righteously, worshipped in holy places (they did not have a temple at this point, although Solomon would later oversee the building of one), and offered sacrifices.
Other scriptures that show the importance of a pure, loving heart are: 1 Chronicles 29:9 and Psalm 51.
Read 1 Kings 3:5 and D&C 112:10. Liken unto us.
What did Solomon ask for? Read verse 9. Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment so that he could better serve the people that he had been anointed to lead.
What do we ask the Lord for? Do we, like Solomon, think of what the Lord would give us, or what we want? Do we ask to bless other people or for things for ourselves? Read D&C 46:7-8. 30.
In verse ten, we read that the Lord was “pleased” with Solomon’s answer, and so he blesses him with the wisdom he wanted. Read verse 12, and then 1 Kings 4:29 and 1 Kings 8:58, 61. In addition, the Lord gives him many more blessings (verses 13-14).
After his vision, the first thing that Solomon does is to offer thanks to the Lord. (verse 15) He remembers where the blessings come from, and he is grateful to the Lord. He also uses these blessings to bless the lives of others.
How can we show gratitude?
The prophet, Thomas S. Monson, said, “Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings.” (“Finding Joy in the Journey”, October 2008 General Conference)
The above material will probably fill a full 45 minute to hour long class session. If you have time, you can cover further events from Solomon’s live in chapters 3-11 in 1 Kings (building the temple, building his palace, etc.).
Reiterate what you have learned from 1 Kings 3 and the story of Solomon’s vision. Express gratitude for the scriptures, and that we too can communicate with the Lord and receive the answers that we need (through prayer).