Into the Lesson
Display an image or a video clip of a genie rising from a magic lamp. Ask the class, “Given=ft wishes, what would most people name? Give time for responses, noting the egocentric, materialistic nature of most. Then say, “Given a much greater opportunity to satisfy personal needs and wants, Solomon made an altogether different request.”
Make a transition by saying in a manner similar to PBS’s Sesame Street, “Today’s lesson is Brought to you by the number 3 and the letter I.”Display large images of both 3 and I.
Into the Word
Direct the class to read silently today’s text in I Kings 3:3-14, noting elements that appear in threes. After a time of reading and pondering, ask the following questions, either in the order of the verses (as given here) or in some random artier. Suggested answers are in italics.
(1) “What three attributes of Solomon indicate his relationship with God?” (loved the Lord, walked in the statutes of his father David, and offered sacrifices—vv. 3, 4);
(2) “What three attributes of God are indicated to Solomon at Gibeon?”;God appeared, God spoke, God offered a gift—v.5):
(3) “What three characteristics of David are toted in verse 6?” (walked in truth, righteous, up-right—v. 6);
(4) “What three expressions of humility and inadequacy does Solomon make in response to God?” (too young, not smart enough,3versvhelmed by the number of people—re. 7, 8)
(5) -What three end results does Solomon want when he asks God for an understanding heart?”for governing wisdom. for ability to distinguish good and evil, and for strength to deal with so many people—v. 9):
(6) “What three things does God commend Solomon for not asking?” (long life, riches, and victories over enemies(v. 11);
(7)”What three ‘extra’ things did God grant Solomon?” (riches, honor, and long life. 13, 14).First Kings 4 ends with a summary statement of the nature and extent of the wisdom God granted to Solomon. Arrange with a student be-fore class to do the following: After surveying the lesson text (having used the preceding activity),turn to your prearranged helper and ask, “(Student’s name), did God grant Solomon’s requestor wisdom?” Tell your helper to answer enthusiastically and emphatically with words such as, “Did He? Why . . .” and then have the helper read 1 Kings 4:29-34. Once the helper finishes, affirm, “God does answer prayer especially when it is not self-centered and when it is for the welfare of His people.”
Now ask the class to explain how “this class is brought to you by the letter I.” Accept reasonable answers. These will certainly include the ideas that Solomon’s request refused to focus on “I”(himself) and that God’s “I” statements clearly revealed His personal intentions of what He would do for Solomon.
Note to your class again the unselfish nature of Solomon’s request and the abundant grace God showered as a result. After a brief discussion of the things people typically pray for, ask, “What are some of the nonmaterial things the Scriptures admonish as to pray for?” When someone suggests wisdom (based on James 1:5), stop and ask, “Yes, but what kind of wisdom?”Have someone read James 3:13-18. List the characteristics of earthly wisdom: envy, strife, confusion, every evil work. Ask, “How do these things keep one from praying for the right things?” (Ex-ample: envy certainly keeps one from praying for others, for it is others who are being envied.)Continue with a list of the wisdom that is “from above.” Once that list is made (from James3:17, 18), ask the class, “And how do these attributes give impetus to praying for the right things? (Example: ‘full of mercy” gives direction to prayers of compassion for the needy and the distressed.)Recommend that your learners keep this passage open during their times of prayer this week, as a guideline for how to pray in wisdom.
Into the Lesson