Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about the life of Solomon to teach kids to be faithful to God their entire lives.
Needed: Bibles, index cards (some with names of various gods written on them and some with “God” written on them), a piece of paper for each group of students with the basic scenario of the two women claiming one baby written on it
Intro Activity: Peer Pressure Playacting
Have students form groups of three. Give them a few minutes to think of how to act out a scene in which one or two of them pressure the other(s) to do something wrong. Then, all the groups perform their scene for the class.
You can allow them to think of their own scenarios or give them cue cards to base their scene on. Ideas include Smoking, Drinking, Doing drugs, Stealing, Lying, Making fun of someone, Cheating, Cursing, Telling a Dirty Joke, and Watching a TV Show they Shouldn’t.
Say, Today, we’re going to learn about a King who gave in to the pressure of what other people wanted him to do.
(Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)
Read 1 Kings 1-11 with your students, or read the following story as a summary.
When King David was old, he made his son, Solomon, the next king. Solomon loved God and did what was right. One night while Solomon was sleeping, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Solomon, I want you to ask Me for something, and whatever you ask for, I will give it to you.”
If you were the king or queen of the country and God told you He would give you one thing, what would you ask for?
Solomon answered, “Lord, You were always very kind to my father, David, and now You have been kind to me by making me king. But, God, being a king is a big job. If I can ask You for one thing, I want to ask You to give me wisdom.”
What is wisdom? (Wisdom is being smart enough to make the right decisions and to do the right things that God wants us to do.)
God was very happy with Solomon because he asked for wisdom. God said, “Solomon, you could have been selfish and asked Me to make you rich or to help you live a long time or to help you defeat your enemies, but instead, you did the right thing and asked for wisdom. Now, as a reward, I’m going to give you wisdom and gold and a long life, and I’m going to help you defeat your enemies.”
So, Solomon became the wisest, richest king there ever was. He always made the right decisions, and kings and queens from other countries would even come to learn from Solomon.
Game: Solomon’s Wisdom
Divide students into groups of two or three. Give each them a piece of paper with this scenario and question written on it.
Two women were living in the same house.
Both had a baby the same week.
One of the babies died while the women were sleeping.
Both women claim that the living baby is theirs.
How can King Solomon use his wisdom to decide which woman should keep the baby?
Underneath this section, you can add a picture of two women and a baby.
Give the groups approximately five minutes to brainstorm. Then, have them present their ideas.
Explain that because Solomon didn’t know which woman the baby belonged to, he said to cut the living baby in half and give one half to the first woman, and the other half to the second woman. The woman who knew that it was her baby said, “No! Give my baby to the other woman.” She was willing to give up her baby to the other woman to save her baby from being cut in two. The other woman didn’t say anything. So, Solomon knew that the woman who said not to cut the baby in half was the baby’s real mother.
Solomon built a Temple to God. His father, King David, had wanted to build a Temple, but God said that Solomon was going to be the one to do it. It was a great Temple for God where everyone could go and worship God and where the priests could live.
There was a curtain in the Temple, and behind that curtain, it was called the Holy of Holies. That’s where they put the Ark of the Covenant with the stone tablets that God had written the Ten Commandments on, and a piece of the manna that God had used to feed the Israelites when they were walking through the desert after they crossed the Red Sea and left Egypt with Moses.
When the Temple was finished, Solomon prayed, and God’s Presence came down from Heaven like a cloud and went into the Temple. God’s Presence lived behind the curtain in the Holy of Holies, and no one was allowed to go behind the curtain and see God except for the high priest once a year.
So, Solomon was very wise and very rich, and he did a great job building the Temple for God. But then, Solomon made a very big mistake. Can anyone guess what bad thing Solomon did?
Solomon married very many women. That wasn’t the wrong thing because God said that men could have a lot of wives back then. Today, men are not allowed to have more than one wife, but back then, they could. Solomon had very many wives. In fact, he had one thousand wives! That’s a lot, right?
And some of Solomon’s wives were from other countries where the people didn’t believe in and worship the real God. They believed in and worshipped fake gods. These wives told Solomon that they wanted him to believe in and worship their fake gods too, and not believe in and worship the real God only.
Do you think Solomon should listen to his wives and believe in and worship fake gods and not the real God only? (No.)
What would you do if someone wanted you to believe in fake gods and not the real God only?
God’s number one rule is that we believe in and worship only Him because He’s the only real God that there is. But Solomon started to believe in and worship the fake gods too, and that made God very angry. It made God so angry that He decided to make someone else king instead of Solomon’s son when Solomon died.
But we’ll learn about that next time. For now, let’s see if we can remember some things from our story today. What was the good thing that Solomon asked God to give him? (Wisdom.)
And what is wisdom? (Being smart enough to make the right decisions and to do the right things that God wants us to do.)
But then Solomon started listening to his wives instead of to God. What was the bad thing that Solomon’s wives told him to do? (To believe in and worship fake gods and not the real God only.)
Game: gods vs. God
Print out or write the names of various gods and the word “God” on a set of index cards. You should have an equal number of cards that various gods’ names as God.
Divide students into two teams and have the teams line up on separate sides of the room in single file lines. Mix up the cards and give each student a card randomly. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes, depending on how many students you have. When you say Go! the first student on both teams run toward each and show each other their cards.
If one says the name of a god and the other says God, the student with God scores a point for their team. The person with a god does not score. If both say God, both score a point, and if both say a god, neither does. Both return to the back of their lines and trade their cards for a new card.
As soon as they leave the center, the second two players run up and do the same thing. Play continues until the timer runs out. The team with the most points at the end wins.
Play again if time allows.
God, we pray that You will give us wisdom too so that we can know the right things that You want us to do. And we pray that You will always help us to listen to and believe in only You as our God. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Kings and Prophets.