Lesson: (Note: Always allow students enough time to think about and answer the questions before clarifying the teaching.)
Last time, we learned about King Solomon. Does anyone remember who Solomon’s father was? (King David.)
When Solomon took over as king, God told Solomon that he could ask for one thing and God would give it to him. What was the good thing that Solomon asked God to give him? (Wisdom.)
And what is wisdom? (Being smart enough to 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 just the real God.)
(Read 1 Kings 11-12 with your students, or read the following story as a summary.)
After Solomon died, his son, Rehoboam, became the next king of Israel. All the people of Israel came to Rehoboam and said, “Your father, Solomon, made us work very hard. If you will let us work a little less hard, we will serve you as our new king.”
Do you think Rehoboam should let the people work less hard?
Rehoboam wasn’t sure. He said, “Let me think about it for a few days and then come back.” The people left and Rehoboam asked the older men, who had served his father, Solomon, “What should I do?”
The older men answered, “You should let the people work less hard and then they will serve you as their new king.”
But Rehoboam didn’t want to let the people work less hard, so he asked his friends, “What should I do?”
And his friends said, “You shouldn’t let the people work less hard, you should make them work harder.”
Do you think Rehoboam should make the people work harder?
What do you think will happen if Rehoboam tells the people he’s going to make them work harder?
Three days later, the people of Israel came back to Rehoboam and Rehoboam said, “My father, Solomon, made you work hard. I’m going to make you work even harder!”
Some of the people of Israel decided to still let Rehoboam be their king, but most of the people decided not to let Rehoboam be their king. They started their own country and made a man named Jeroboam their king. Israel had been split into two countries. The smaller country that still had Rehoboam as their king was named Judah. The larger country that had Jeroboam as their king was named Israel.
King Rehoboam had done a bad thing by not listening to the people and letting them work less hard. But King Jeroboam in Israel also did a bad thing. When he became king of the new country of Israel, he made fake gods and set them up for the people to worship.
Why would it be wrong for Jeroboam to set up fake gods? (Because there’s only one real God and God says we’re only supposed to be believe in and worship Him.)
So the Israelites had two countries, and two bad kings. Next time, we’ll start learning about the prophets that God sent to deal with these bad kings.
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