As King David neared his death, he named his son Solomon as heir to the throne. The Lord blessed Solomon and established him as a wise and prosperous ruler. King Solomon built a temple and dedicated it to the Lord. The Lord accepted the temple as a place where He could dwell among His people if they remained faithful to Him.
Ask students to think of a time when they sincerely wanted to help a family member, friend, or someone else who was facing difficulties but felt they were not able to help as much as they would have liked. Invite a few students to share their experiences with the class.
Invite students to look for truths as they study 1 Kings 1–4 that can help them when they seek to serve others but do not feel capable of doing so effectively.
Summarize 1 Kings 1:1–3:8 by explaining that David settled a conflict concerning who would succeed him as the king of Israel by naming his son Solomon as the heir to the throne. Those who sought to cause division in the kingdom were either banished or put to death. Solomon traveled to Gibeon to offer sacrifices upon an altar, and the Lord appeared to him and asked what blessing he desired.
Invite students to read 1 Kings 3:9 silently, looking for what Solomon desired.
What did Solomon desire?
According to verse 9, why did Solomon seek an understanding heart?
What does this request tell us about the kind of king Solomon wanted to become?
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Kings 3:10–14. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord felt about Solomon’s desire.
How did the Lord feel about Solomon’s desire?
Why do you think the Lord was pleased?
How might Solomon have been able to better serve his people because of the additional blessings of riches and honor?
From the Lord’s response to Solomon, what principle can we learn about what the Lord will do when we seek His help to better serve others? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: When we selflessly seek the Lord’s help to serve others, He will magnify our abilities to serve. Consider writing this principle on the board.)
Explain that in 1 Kings 3:16–23, we read that Solomon went to Jerusalem, worshipped the Lord, and provided a feast for all his servants. During the feast two women petitioned King Solomon to judge a difficult circumstance. The two women lived with each other and bore children about the same time. One night one of the women woke up to find that her baby had died. Rather than mourn the loss of her baby, she switched her dead baby with the other woman’s baby. The next morning, when the second woman awoke to nurse her child, she found a dead baby that was not her son. The first woman denied the other woman’s accusation fervently. They sought King Solomon’s judgment to settle the matter.
Why would this be a difficult situation to judge?
What might you have done to find out which woman was telling the truth?
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 3:24–25 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Solomon handled the matter.
How do you think the true mother of the child would react to this plan?
Invite another student to read 1 Kings 3:26–27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Solomon identified the rightful mother.
Refer to the principle you wrote on the board.
How did the Lord magnify Solomon’s ability to judge this situation righteously?
When might you seek the Lord’s help as Solomon did to better serve someone?
Explain that in 1 Kings 3:28 we read that all of Israel heard of this experience and recognized that God had blessed King Solomon to be wise in judgment. In 1 Kings 4, we learn that knowledge of Solomon’s wisdom spread to other nations.
Display one or more pictures of a temple.
Why does the Church go to such great lengths to build temples all over the world?
Why do some Latter-day Saints sacrifice so much in order to worship in the temple?
Remind students that David had desired to build a temple, but the Lord instructed him not to. Invite students to read 1 Kings 5:5 silently, looking for what Solomon intended to do. Ask students to report what they found.
Explain that while the people were building the temple, the word of the Lord came to Solomon. Invite a student to read 1 Kings 6:12–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the promise the Lord made to Solomon and his people. You may want to explain that the word statutes refers to the Lord’s laws.
What principle do these verses teach about what the Lord expects of His people in order for His presence to dwell in the temple? (If we walk in the Lord’s ways, then the Lord will be with us in His temple. Consider writing this principle on the board.)
What are some of the Lord’s statutes and commandments in our day that we must obey to be worthy to enjoy His presence in the temple?
Explain that Solomon’s temple was different than our temples today because it was patterned after the tabernacle the children of Israel carried with them through the wilderness. Nevertheless, like the ancient tabernacle and the temples today, the temple Solomon built was a symbol of the Lord’s presence with His people. By making every effort to be worthy to enter and serve in the temple, we demonstrate our desire to enjoy His presence.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:
“Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. …
“Your sacrifice may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify you” (“The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 92–93).
Invite students to reflect on what they can do to more fully walk in the Lord’s ways in order to enjoy His presence in the temple.
Ask students if they have ever participated in the dedication of a temple or a ward meetinghouse. Invite students to share their experiences with the class.
Why do you think these meetings are often very spiritual occasions?
Summarize 1 Kings 8:1–21 by explaining that Solomon gathered many Israelites to participate in the dedication of the temple. After they placed the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, the glory of the Lord appeared as a cloud that filled the temple. Explain that 1 Kings 8:22–53 contains the dedicatory prayer Solomon offered on this occasion. After Solomon declared the goodness and might of the Lord (see verses 22–28), he prayed that having a temple among them would be a blessing and help the people maintain their commitment to the Lord.
Invite a student to read 1 Kings 8:29–30 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a desire Solomon expressed during his dedicatory prayer.
What desire did Solomon express?
Divide the class into four small groups and assign each group one of the following passages from the dedicatory prayer of Solomon’s temple: 1 Kings 8:33–34, 35–36, 37–40, and 46–49. Write the following questions on the board and invite students to search their assigned verses for the answers:
When students have finished, invite each group to explain to the class what they learned.
What principle about participating in temple worship can we learn from these verses? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that if we worship the Lord in the temple, then the Lord may grant us blessings to help us with challenges we face. Consider writing this principle on the board.)
To help students understand this principle, ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“The temple is … a place of personal inspiration and revelation. Legion are those who in times of stress, when difficult decisions must be made and perplexing problems must be handled, have come to the temple in a spirit of fasting and prayer to seek divine direction. Many have testified that while voices of revelation were not heard, impressions concerning a course to follow were experienced at that time or later which became answers to their prayers” (“The Salt Lake Temple,” Ensign, Mar. 1993, 6).
When have you or someone you know been blessed to better face a particular challenge after participating in temple worship? (You may also want to share an experience.)
Explain that in 1 Kings 9–10, we learn that the Lord fulfilled His promises to Solomon. Divide the class in half. Invite half the class to read 1 Kings 9:1–9 silently and look for an illustration of the following principle: If we walk in the Lord’s ways, then the Lord will be with us in His temple. Ask the other half of the class to read 1 Kings 10:1–9 silently and look for an illustration of the following principle: When we selflessly seek the Lord’s help to serve others, He will magnify our abilities to serve. Invite students to report what they found.
Invite students to reflect on the principles learned in this lesson and determine what they will do to live these principles. You may want to invite students to record their goals in their class notebooks or scripture study journals.