The Kingdom Divided
King Solomon loved God. He received wisdom from the Lord and was dedicated to building His temple. But early on, we see hints that Solomon’s heart was not completely devoted to God. He married foreign wives who turned Solomon’s heart away from God. (1 Kings 11:4)
Solomon gradually abandoned what he had believed. Israel had a history of turning away from God, and Solomon was no exception.
God was angry with Solomon. He had warned him twice not to turn to false gods. God planned to discipline Solomon by taking the kingdom away from his family. God was going to take the kingdom from Solomon’s son Rehoboam—every tribe except for one. God graciously left one tribe for Rehoboam, keeping the promise He made to David. (See 2 Sam. 7:16.)
God set apart Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s servants, to become leader over 10 tribes of Israel. Parts of the tribe of Benjamin followed Jeroboam, and some followed Rehoboam. When Solomon died, all of Israel gathered to make Rehoboam their new king. They asked Rehoboam to lighten the burden of service Solomon had given them, but Rehoboam refused. In fact, he promised to make their work even harder.
Israel rebelled against Rehoboam and made Jeroboam king. Only the tribe of Judah stayed with Rehoboam. So the kingdom was divided into two kingdoms—the Northern Kingdom was called Israel (ruled by Jeroboam) and the Southern Kingdom was called Judah (ruled by Rehoboam).
King Solomon failed to lead God’s people perfectly. God’s people needed a better king, a perfect king! Through David’s family, God would send His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be a perfect King over God’s people forever. Jesus is greater than Solomon. Jesus brings His people together and leads them back to God.
Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
| Babies and Toddlers
God knows everything.
King Solomon’s sin split the kingdom.
People from David’s family were kings of Judah.
Jesus was born into David and Solomon’s family.
What does God know? God knows everything.
God divided Israel into two kingdoms.
What does God know? God knows everything about the past, present, and future.
God divided Israel into two kingdoms because Solomon sinned.
UNIT KEY PASSAGE
“Elijah and the Widow” (1 Kings 17)