Come, Follow Me

  • 2 Samuel 5-7, 11-12; 1 Kings 3, 8, 11: “Thy Kingdom Shall Be Established Forever” (June 20-26)

    King David Playing the Harp,” by Gerard van Honthorst (1622)

    This week, we are studying the reigns of King David and King Solomon. Here are some of the major themes:

    The City of David (2 Samuel 5-7)

    Jerusalem has deep symbolic significance. Soon after David became king, he took possession of the city, made it the capitol of Israel, and renamed it “the city of David.” It was also known as Zion. (See 2 Samuel 5:7.)

    When Jesus Christ visited the American continent, he prophesied that a city called the New Jerusalem would be built just prior to His Second Coming. (See 3 Nephi 20:22, 3 Nephi 21:23-24.) Here are a couple of blog posts about the significance of this city to David and for us:

    David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12)

    Even though David was king, he was not above the law. When he committed a serious set of crimes—adultery followed by murder—the prophet Nathan held him accountable. In one of the most dramatic passages in the Old Testament, Nathan describes a crime similar to David’s. When the king becomes angry and decrees the ultimate penalty for the unnamed offender, Nathan responds, “Thou art the man.” (See 2 Samuel 12:1-10.)

    To David’s credit, he acknowledged his sin and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. Some of his expressions of remorse and pleas for reconciliation appear in the book of Psalms, and a few of those are duplicated in the book of 2 Samuel. Here are two examples of those heartfelt pleas:

    Solomon’s Deepest Desire (1 Kings 3)

    When God asked Solomon what he most desired, he didn’t ask for riches, health, or military might. Instead, he requested “an understanding heart.” God gave him what he asked, but also promised him many blessings he had not requested. (See 1 Kings 3:1-15.) The other blessings followed naturally from the first. No wonder Solomon later wrote, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her” (Proverbs 4:7-8).

    The Temple of Solomon (1 Kings 8)

    David wanted to build a permanent house for the Lord, but the Lord did not allow it. (See 2 Samuel 7.) Instead, his son, Solomon, had the privilege of building the first temple. Solomon’s dedicatory prayer (1 Kings 8) established a pattern for future temple dedications. Joseph Smith followed this pattern when he dedicated the Kirtland Temple. (See Doctrine and Covenants 109.)

    Both of those dedicatory prayers feature a plea for rapid reconciliation when God’s people turn away from Him. See the following post about this supplication: “Any of Them”

    A Kingdom Divided (1 Kings 11)

    During Solomon’s reign, he struggled to keep his kingdom united. After his death, the northern ten tribes broke away and formed their own kingdom, which they called Israel. The remaining tribes became known as the kingdom of Judah. Here is a blog post about the significance of this schism and the fate of those who broke away:

Latest Posts

King-men

Why would a person vote to eliminate their own freedom? I’ve been intrigued the past couple of weeks by the children of Israel, who insisted on having a king, even after the prophet Samuel warned them of the terrible consequences of this decision: Their children would suffer, they would lose control over their possessions, and… Continue Reading →

Overcoming Temptation: Lessons from David and Corianton

We are all tempted. Lehi taught that there is a devil and that he “seeketh that all men might become miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27). Alma identified Zeezrom’s combativeness as “a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people” (Alma 12:6). And King Benjamin warned his people, “beware lest… Continue Reading →

An Understanding Heart

After Solomon became king of Israel, God invited him to ask for a blessing (1 Kings 3:5, 2 Chronicles 1:7). Solomon could have requested so many things, including longevity, increased wealth, victory in battle, or a good reputation among leaders of other nations. But he didn’t request any of these. He framed his simple request… Continue Reading →

“I Will Build Thee an House”

Sometimes we need to be reminded just how unequal our relationship with God is. King Benjamin taught that if we serve God with all of our souls for the rest of our lives, we would still be “unprofitable servants.” God has already given us far more than we could ever hope to repay, and the… Continue Reading →

“I Will Go Before Thee”

At the end of Moses’ life, he encouraged the children of Israel to move into the promised land with courage and faith: “The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee,” promised Moses (Deuteronomy 31:3). And he reiterated this promise to Joshua, who would lead the Israelites after Moses’ departure: “The Lord, he it… Continue Reading →

Thousands vs. Ten Thousands

How easily we can become unsettled when we compare ourselves with others. Saul, who was king of Israel, heard that women across his country were singing, “Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” How could this be? He was the king; he was supposed to get the most “likes.” He thought to himself,… Continue Reading →

The Lion and the Bear

An awareness of prior miracles we have experienced can strengthen our faith to meet new challenges. When David saw his compatriots cowering before the giant Goliath, he was perplexed and disappointed. As he explained to King Saul, he had no doubt that he could defeat the giant with God’s help: Thy servant kept his father’s… Continue Reading →

“I Feared the People”

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point…. Pilate was merciful till it became risky. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, 161 Saul may have been the king, but he was afraid of his people. The first time he failed to follow instructions from the… Continue Reading →

“The Lord Looketh on the Heart”

As we grow closer to God, we learn to see other people differently. When Samuel met with Jesse in the small town of Bethlehem, he brought his own preconceptions and biases to the task of selecting a new king. The current king, which he had also selected, was tall and strong. He stood out in… Continue Reading →

The Voice of the People

When the prophet Samuel was old, he tried to appoint his sons to succeed him as leaders over Israel. But the Israelites were not willing to follow his sons, and they requested that he appoint a king. Samuel was troubled. He didn’t think it wise to give one person that much power, and he thought… Continue Reading →

My Ebenezer

Near the end of Joshua’s life, he called his people together and challenged them to commit to follow God. They made a covenant to obey and serve God. In order to remind them of their covenant, Joshua “took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.” He told… Continue Reading →

Finding Grace

When Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, arrived in Bethlehem, they needed a way to obtain food. Ruth said, “Let me now go to the field, and glean [fallen grain] after him in whose sight I shall find grace” (Ruth 2:2). Even though the law required farmers to leave their extra grain for the poor, she… Continue Reading →


Names and Titles of Jesus Christ

In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.

Sermon Summaries

In 2018, I wrote summaries of many of the sermons in the Book of Mormon. Each summary describes the setting, the purpose, an outline of the sermon’s content, and my takeaways from the sermon.

In 2019, I used the Book of Mormon to study 365 questions—one per day. Here is a list of those questions, grouped by category, with a link to the blog post for each question.