Lesson 2

The Wisdom of Solomon

(1 Kings 2&3)
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Introduction: King David is dying. His son, Solomon, sits on the throne as King. David gives his final instructions to his boy, the King. Parents, if you were in David's position, what would you tell your child? Let's dive into our lesson and find out what David tells his son - the man whom we later learn from our lesson will become the wisest guy on earth.

  1. Final Spiritual Instructions

    1. Read 1 Kings 2:1. Parents, would you like an opportunity just before you die to give your children some last instructions?

      1. If you said, "yes," is that because you have been failing to give them instructions all along?

      2. Would it be better to have everything important said before the last minute?

    2. Read 1 Kings 2:2. What is the very first piece of advice that David gives his son? ("Be strong, show yourself a man.")

      1. What does this mean?

      2. Is this Biblical advice? Or, is this just the advice of the world? The advice of an old warrior?

      3. Look at 1 Chronicles 22:9. What kind of disposition does it say Solomon possessed? (Man of peace and rest.)

      4. Is David's advice about "being a man" an attempt to put some steel in Solomon's spine? Was this advice given because Solomon was a peaceful kind of guy? (The advice sounds like it comes from an old warrior. However, this is Biblical advice. Paul gives essentially the same advice in 1 Corinthians 16:13. Our Christian walk, our lives in this world, often require us to be strong and courageous.)

        1. Are the ladies left out of the "be a man" advice? (I don't think being strong and courageous is gender specific.)

    3. Read 1 Kings 2:3. What is David's second bit of final advice to Solomon?

      1. Why does he advise obedience to God? (This is a point that we should always make to our children - even though it seems to be somewhat unpopular today. If you obey God, you will be blessed. Deuteronomy 28 is the clearest statement of this principle, and it is repeated several times in the New Testament (see, e.g., Luke 6:38, Matthew 6:33). We make a mistake when we fail to point out to our children the practical as well as the moral reasons for obedience. God promises material blessings to those who obey. Hebrews 11 points out some "exceptions" in the timing of the blessings, but whatever the timing, they are sure!)

    4. Read 1 Kings 2:4. Is this advice contrary to salvation by faith? (This promise was repeated to Solomon by God in 1 Kings 9:4-6. David and God are not talking about salvation here. They are talking about how you live your life and God's blessings upon godly living.)

      1. Did this happen? Did David's descendants remain on the throne of Israel forever? (Solomon and his descendants did not follow God's law. However this promise (despite failures of Solomon's descendants) was fulfilled in Jesus. See 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and Matthew 1:1.)

  2. Final Practical Instructions

    1. Read 1 Kings 2:5-6. What do you think about this advice?

      1. Would Solomon have done this on his own? (I doubt it. You will remember from last week that Joab was part of the conspiracy to make Adonijah king. Since Solomon did not kill Adonijah, I think he would have been unlikely to kill Joab.)

        1. Why did David tell Solomon to kill Joab when David never killed him? (This really seems to be an odd situation. However, when you consider David's personality - that he never disciplined his sons - it fits that David did not discipline Joab either. In addition, Joab was the one who followed David's instructions to put Uriah (Bathsheba's husband) in the area of battle where he would be killed. ( 2 Samuel 11:14-15) This, like many other situations, deprived David of the "moral" authority to have Joab killed for killing others. However, David's instructions to Solomon give a just basis for executing Joab. Solomon has the "moral authority" to do this, it is just and it will help to protect Solomon's reign.)

    2. Read 1 Kings 2:7-9. Remembering the case of Shimei, would you want to enter into a contract with David? (The distinction made by David is not supported in American law. You are as guilty of killing someone if you tell someone else to do it as you are when you do it yourself. If this were a proper way to look at the "promise" to Shimei, then David could have had Joab kill him at any time.)

      1. Can you think of any proper reason for David to order the death of Shimei? (If you have time, read 1 Kings 2:36-46. In all of this Shimei seems to admit the reasonableness of Solomon's actions. I think the key to considering this in the proper light is vv. 44-46. These verses reveal that Shimei was a security risk for Solomon. With his death (and that of a few others) Solomon's throne was "firmly established.")

    3. 1 Kings 2:13-46 tells us that Solomon followed David's instructions (and more) and ultimately executed those who were a risk to his kingdom. The practical result was that Solomon was now firmly in charge. Let's move on to more pleasant topics.

  3. The Dream

    1. Read 1 Kings 3:5-6. If God came to you and said, "What would you like?" What would you tell God?

      1. Would you agree that God blessed David by giving him a son to succeed him? Is this true when applied to your own children? (No doubt. Parents are blessed by children who follow in their path of allegiance and service to God.)

    2. Read 1 Kings 3:7-9. What do you think of Solomon's request? Would you have made the same request?

      1. Is the offer made to Solomon made to us today?

      2. Consider Solomon's request in light of the carnage of the second part of 1 Kings 2. Does what Solomon did seem more reasonable in light of his request in 1 Kings 7-9? (Yes. Solomon was essentially following David's instructions. Solomon says to God, "I'm new at this job, I'm not sure what to do, I need wisdom to do it correctly." If Solomon were not sure what to do, it would make perfect sense for him to follow his father's commands exactly.)

        1. I used the word "wisdom" here, but what does Solomon actually request God to be able to understand? (He asks to be able "to distinguish between right and wrong.")

          1. Is that wisdom?

          2. Is the ability to distinguish between right and wrong something you seek to better understand?

    3. Read 1 Kings 3:10-12. What did you want God to give you? What does God say is a superior request?

    4. Read 1 Kings 3:13. Why does God now give Solomon what he did not ask for?

      1. Is this offer only available to Solomon? Or, is it also available to you? (Read Matthew 6:33. This is an offer made to us all. If we first seek God's kingdom, He promises us "things." These things, according to Matthew 6:32, are the same things "the pagans run after." Compare Malachi 3:10. God says pay a faithful tithe to Him (make Him first) and He will give you blessings for which "you will not have room." This is talking (in part) about real stuff because spiritual blessings do not take up any room. This goes back to the earlier reference to the promises and warnings of Deuteronomy 28.)

    5. Read 1 Kings 3:14. What other conditional blessing does God offer to Solomon? (Long life.)

      1. Is this also offered to us today? (A number of Bible texts suggest just that. See Proverbs 3:13-16, Ephesians 6:2-3, Deuteronomy 6:2, Exodus 20:12.)

    6. Read 1 Kings 3:15. Oh no! It turns out this was just a dream. Guess you can forget the lessons from this, right? Or, wrong? (Read 1 Kings 3:28. This was not Solomon's mind playing tricks on him while he slept. This was God speaking to him through a dream.)

    7. Friend, what about you? Is your primary goal in life to please God in everything you do? Do you want to be able to discern between right and wrong? Have you ever thought about how this would change your life? God promises blessings to those who make His will first in their life. Will you decide today to make God first in your life?

  4. Next week: The Rise and Fall of the House of Solomon.

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