1 Kings 6–9
When Solomon became king over Israel God had him build a beautiful temple in Jerusalem. The temple was double the size of the Tabernacle that the Israelites built in the wilderness! When it was finished, God’s glory descended on it like a cloud and the whole of Israel celebrated and worshipped God.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV
King David united the kingdom of Israel and expanded its borders. David brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem. He wanted to build a temple but God said no thanks! and told him to leave the job to his son to complete after him. After David died his son Solomon became king.
As a welcome activity you could have the children build and decorate a cardboard temple according to the instructions in 1 Kings 6. It doesn’t have to be exact but it’s a way to explain a few key elements:
- There were 2 giant pillars at the entrance to the temple.
- The entrance hall was called the vestibule.
- The inside of the temple was called the Holy Place and it was decorated with palm trees and it was all covered with gold!
- It reminds us of the garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve could be with God.
- Inside the Holy Place there was a room called the Most Holy Place, and it had 2 giant cherubim statues.
- The Ark of God would go inbetween the 2 cherubim.
Solomon Brings the Ark into the Temple
Props: A cardboard ‘temple’, a bottle of water, a piece of dry ice in a plastic container
Explain to the kids that the Ark was in Jerusalem but that it was still in the tabernacle, which was a big tent. The temple was now finished, and they were ready to ‘move in’! Solomon called everyone to the temple and he sent the priests to go fetch the Ark and the other things that they used for worshipping God.
Read 1 Kings 8:6
- Place the plastic container with the dry ice inside the temple as you explain that the Ark of the covenant represented God’s presence. It was like God was now at home in the new temple! But what happened next?
Read 1 Kings 8:10–13
- Pour water over the dry ice in the container as you read this portion. The temple will start filling with a carbon dioxide ‘cloud’.
- Explain that the cloud was a sign that God’s presence was there. The cloud was so thick that the priests couldn’t even carry on what they were doing!
- Explain that Solomon then said thanks to God for coming into the temple. He also worshipped God saying:
Read 1 Kings 8:27
- Explain that even though God’s presence was in the temple, Solomon knew that even the temple wasn’t big enough for God to live in!
Did you know that God’s presence still dwells in a temple today? Listen to this verse carefully and see if you can figure out where that temple is today:
Read 1 Corinthians 3:16
When we trust Jesus to be our Lord, the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us! That means that God’s presence is inside of God’s people. It means we can talk to God at any time and he can guide us and give us wisdom.
We should give thanks just like Solomon did!
Prayer: Thank God that his presence fills us when we open up our hearts to him! Pray that the children would walk and talk to God just like Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden. Pray that those who don’t know Jesus would come to know him through us.
- Who did God ask to build the temple?
- How long did it take to build Solomon’s temple?
- How was it decorated inside?
- What did it remind them of?
- What happened when they brought the Ark into the temple?
- How are we the temple today?
Image Credit: Dedication of Solomon’s Temple, woodcut, c 1700, from Historie des Ouden en Nieuwen