The first ten chapters of 1 Kings describe how Solomon, David’s son, reaped the rewards of his father’s military successes. He inherited peace, prosperity, and security and continued what could be called Israel’s “Golden Age.” As an individual, Solomon was promised and received wisdom, riches, honor, and a long life. People from all levels of society and from many nations sought wisdom from Him.
Solomon’s greatest accomplishment might be considered to be the building and dedication of a temple of God. It took approximately 200,000 men seven years to complete. Marvelous manifestations attended its dedication.
Solomon later turned from the Lord. As you study these chapters, notice why he was successful in his early years—both spiritually and temporally. Compare them with his later years and the actions that led to his fall and the fall of his people.
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
Calls to serve in the kingdom of God come by inspiration through the proper authorities (see 1 Kings 1:5–10, 28–31).
The Lord commands His people to build temples because they are vital to the great plan of happiness and are places where God pours out His blessings on His people (see 1 Kings 5; 6:14–38; 7:13–51; D&C 132:19–20).
Suggestions for Teaching
1 Kings 3. We receive according to our desires, whether they are good or evil. We should make our desires harmonious with the Lord’s will. (25–35 minutes)
What would you ask for if the Lord or His messenger came to you and said you could have whatever you desired? Why?
Read 1 Kings 3:3–5. Who received a similar offer?
Who made Solomon that offer?
Read 1 Kings 3:6–9. What did Solomon desire from the Lord?
Write an understanding heart or wisdom on the board and discuss why that was what Solomon wanted. Have students identify words and phrases that show Solomon’s attitude then. Compare his confession of being a “little child” to Matthew 18:1–5; Mosiah 3:19; or 3 Nephi 11:37–38. Have them read 1 Kings 3:10–14, and ask why Solomon’s request pleased the Lord.
Ask students to think about how Solomon’s request compares with what they would have asked for. Ask:
How do you think the Lord would feel about your personal request?
Besides wisdom, what else did the Lord give Solomon?
Write riches, honor, and long life, if obedient on the board. If you have time, read and discuss the well-known example of Solomon’s God-given wisdom in 1 Kings 3:16–28.
“What we insistently desire, over time, is what we will eventually become and what we will receive in eternity. ‘For I [said the Lord] will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts’ (D&C 137:9; see also Jeremiah 17:10)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 26; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 21).
Read Alma 29:4–5 and ask:
What does the Lord promise everyone who has righteous desires?
What are His promises if our desires are not righteous?
Does struggling with some desires that are less than righteous mean we are hopeless and can never become righteous? (see Ether 12:27).
Why do we not always receive what we ask for, even though the Lord has said “ask and ye shall receive” many times in the scriptures? (see Helaman 10:4–5; 3 Nephi 18:20; Mormon 9:27–28; D&C 8:10; 50:29; 88:64–65; see also Bible Dictionary, "prayer", the last three paragraphs, pp. 752–53).
1 Kings 6–9. A temple is a house of God and is vital to the plan of happiness. (20–30 minutes)
Show students a picture of a temple and ask why temples are so important to the plan of happiness. Share the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter:
“All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple. This is because the temple ordinances are absolutely crucial; we cannot return to God’s presence without them. I encourage everyone to worthily attend the temple or to work toward the day when you can enter that holy house to receive your ordinances and covenants” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 88).
Review 1 Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 2–4 with your students and discuss the cost and effort that went into building Solomon’s Temple. Ask: Why did David and Solomon—and why does the Church today—go to such effort and expense to build a beautiful building for the house of the Lord?
Write House of the Lord on the board. Ask students to think about and then give a thoughtful answer to the question: What does the phrase “house of the Lord” suggest? Have them read Exodus 25:8; 1 Kings 6:11–13; Doctrine and Covenants 124:25–27. Ask: Knowing that temples are houses of the Lord, what should be our attitude toward them?
Share the two following considerations as you discuss temples as houses of the Lord:
Temples are dedicated to the Lord. Have students read 1 Kings 8:1, 10–14 and report what happened on the day the temple was dedicated that showed it truly was the house of the Lord. Ask: What happened in 1 Kings 9:1–3 that also showed the Lord’s acceptance of the temple? You might want to compare the dedication of Solomon’s Temple with the dedication of the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110). If any students have been to a temple dedication, invite them to share their experience with the class.
No unclean thing should enter a temple after it is dedicated. Ask students: With such great spiritual experiences associated with the temple, why can’t everyone go into the temples and partake of the Spirit? Why is a temple recommend required? (see 1 Nephi 15:34; D&C 97:15–17). This relates to why we dedicate temples. Point out that after dedicating the temple, Solomon and the Lord gave the people specific counsel so that they would know that the temple did not automatically ensure them all blessings. Have students read 1 Kings 8:55–61 and 9:3–9 and list the counsel the people were given about their temple. Ask: How does this apply to receiving the blessings of the temple today? For example, when do the blessings of the endowment come to us? or the blessings of being married in the temple? (Not only when we receive them, but when we live according to the covenants we make at that time.)
Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:12–16 and share your testimony of temples today as houses of the Lord.