SOLOMON ASKS FOR WISDOM
Scripture: 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12; 3:3-15; 2 Chronicles 1:7:13
Memory verse: Proverbs 8:11
"For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her."
Introduce this week’s lesson by asking the students what they think the word ‘success’ means. Let them give you examples of how they would identify a successful person.
Tell the students that many people think lots of money or power is success. Others think large houses, lots of new clothes, or fancy cars are signs of success. Still others think being smart is what success is. Mention that none of these gives us the true picture of success. Then ask the following questions:
1. Is a person really successful if he earns a lot of money and spends it all on strong drink?
2. Is a person really successful if he uses his power to hurt innocent people?
3. Is a person successful if he gives a lot of attention to the things he owns instead of to his family?
4. Is a person successful if he is extremely intelligent but uses that intelligence to do unlawful things?
Of course the answer to each of these questions is “No!” Explain that as the students listen to this week’s lesson, they will learn about one man who knew how to look for true success.
Hearing God’s Word
Think about what it must be like to be the leader of an entire nation. Most people think of this as a very successful position. However, most leaders quickly recognise their need for help with so many responsibilities. One such leader is in our lesson this week.
David Names His Successor
David has been a good king. His leadership brought strength and respect to Israel. During his reign as king, he loved and obeyed God. David wasn’t perfect; he made some mistakes. But David always asked God to forgive him. God saw that David was truly sorry for his sins, and helped him be a good king.
Now King David was an old man and could no longer effectively carry out his duties as king. The Israelites needed a new king. David had a son named Solomon, and David knew Solomon was God’s choice to be the next king. One day shortly before David died, he and Solomon had a serious talk. (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 2:1-4.) David told Solomon to stay true to God and keep all His laws and commandments. If Solomon would do that, he would be a successful king and rule God’s people well.
Soon after their talk, David died. He had been king over God’s people for 40 years. Solomon was now the new king. All the people of Israel looked to him for leadership. Solomon had a big job ahead of him.
When Solomon began his reign, he kept in close touch with God. (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 3:3.) Solomon loved and obeyed God just as his father David had. He worshiped God by offering Him sacrifices and incense. One day Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings to God at a place called Gibeon. That must have taken a lot of time, money, and effort. But because Solomon loved God, he wanted to show it by doing all he could to please Him. God saw Solomon’s heart and his love for and desire to serve God. This pleased God.
God Speaks To Solomon
After Solomon had offered the thousand burnt offerings, and while he was still at Gibeon, a very unusual thing happened to him. As he lay in bed one night, God appeared to him in a dream and asked him a question. What was it? (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 3:5.)
Ask: “What would you ask for if someone said that to you?” (Allow responses.)
Solomon could have thought, “Wow! Here’s my chance to become the richest and most powerful king in the world!” After all, God offered to give Solomon anything he desired. Solomon could have asked to become the most famous king the world had ever known. He could have also asked for wealth and power.
How did Solomon respond to God’s offer? (Have a student read 1 Kings 3:6.) First, Solomon praised God. He wasn’t so excited about God’s offer that he forgot who God is and what God had done for him. Solomon praised God for giving him a fine father who had taught by example how to worship and serve God. Then he thanked God for the opportunity to sit on the throne and be king over all of Israel.
His response to God’s question showed the secret of King Solomon’s success. First, he gave God all the credit for every good thing that had happened to him. He wasn’t boastful or proud. He knew he had to depend totally on God in order to be a good king.
Solomon hadn’t actually answered God’s question yet. He had some things to tell God before he could answer. What were they? (Have a student read 1 Kings 3:7,8.)
Solomon knew he had a great task before him as king of Israel. He no longer had his father to give him advice and encouragement. Solomon saw himself as a little child who hardly knew which way to turn. He felt his abilities just didn’t match the job he had been given to do.
Then King Solomon finally gave God an answer to His question. (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 3:9.) Solomon asked for something far more valuable than money could buy or power could win. He asked God for a discerning, or understanding, heart filled with knowledge and wisdom. He saw that his greatest need was the ability to rule and judge God’s people correctly. He wanted God’s wisdom. It was the only way he could be a fair and just king.
The Importance of Wisdom
Ask: “Would you have thought of asking for knowledge and wisdom? What can you buy with knowledge? What pleasure is there in being wise? Aren’t wisdom and knowledge just knowing how to figure out hard problems? (Allow responses.)
Our memory verse this week tells us how important wisdom is. (Repeat the memory verse several times.)
There is a difference between wisdom and knowledge.
Ask: “What do you think it is?” (Allow responses.)
Knowledge is the knowing of facts. Wisdom is the ability to use those facts in the right way. It is knowing when, where, and why certain facts can be used to solve a problem.
An example of this is an auto mechanic who uses tools. The mechanic may know all the names of an engine’s parts, and he may know all the mechanical tools. But if he can’t put that knowledge to work and use to properly fix a car when something goes wrong, he is not a wise mechanic.
Solomon probably had a good idea of how to rule God’s people, but he wanted to know more. He wanted to know how to use his knowledge in the best way. Even more than that, he wanted to do what was pleasing to God.
God’s Response to Solomon
God was pleased with Solomon’s answer. God would have given Solomon wealth, power, a long life, and protection if he had asked for them. But Solomon asked for something far more important than any of these things, and God was happy to give it to him.
What did God say to Solomon? (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 3:12.) God granted Solomon’s request in full. He told Solomon he would be the wisest and most understanding king there had ever been. He also promised Solomon that there would be no one after him that would equal or surpass his wisdom and discernment.
Wait! God granted Solomon more than he requested. What else did Solomon receive? (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 3:13, 14.) In Solomon’s case, God chose to give him other things in honour of his wise choice.
If we are careful to put God first in our lives, He will take care of our needs, just as He took care of Solomon’s need for wisdom. (Ask a student to read Matthew 6:33.) We don’t have to worry about having necessary things when we are under His care. This doesn’t mean we will become rich, powerful, and famous. But God does promise to meet our needs. Solomon received what he needed in order to be a good king of Israel - wisdom. God supplied this need because Solomon put God first. That’s the way it works for us too.
Accepting God’s Word
Remind all of the students in your class that it is important to make God a part of our everyday lives. This begins when we ask Jesus to come into our hearts. Asking Jesus to forgive our sins is a very wise choice. When He comes into our lives, He brings peace within and He is with us to help us make wise choices.
The joy of being a Christian is to know and love God personally. Ask if there are any students who have never accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour but would like to do so now.
Lord, thank You for the Afar people. Each one is created in Your image and is of immense value. You instructed the believers in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” That includes the Afar.
You went on to say in Mark 16:16, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Lord, the equation is very clear: believe = saved, do not believe = condemned. The Afar need and deserve an adequate witness of Jesus Christ’s saving power. Thank You for allowing us to view their pictures, read the statistics and stories. Our hearts are touched.
Lord God Almighty, please send messengers to the Afar so that they can see the living Christ revealed in a transformed life. May the young and the old hear, believe and be saved! We ask for the salvation of the Afar in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.
Study 5 | God's Character/O.T. Kings | africaatts.org/go-teach