Sunday School: Gospel Doctrine
Lesson 21: God Will Honor Those Who Honor Him

“Lesson 21: God Will Honor Those Who Honor Him,” Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual (2001), 96–100

“Lesson 21,” Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, 96–100

Lesson 21

God Will Honor Those Who Honor Him

1 Samuel 2–3; 8


To help class members understand the blessings of honoring and pleasing the Lord above themselves, others, or the world.


  1. Prayerfully study the following scriptures:

    1. 1 Samuel 2:12–17, 22–25. The sons of Eli commit transgressions and are counseled by their father.

    2. 1 Samuel 2:27–36; 3:12–14. A man of God warns Eli about the consequences of the wickedness in his family.

    3. 1 Samuel 3. The Lord calls Samuel, and he responds.

    4. 1 Samuel 8. The Israelites want a king so they can be “like all the nations.” Samuel warns them about the dangers of such a choice.

  2. You may want to ask one class member to prepare to summarize the account of the calling of Samuel (1 Samuel 3) and another class member to prepare to summarize the account of Israel desiring a king (1 Samuel 8).

  3. If you decide to discuss the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth (34285) in this lesson, bring a copy of it to class.

  4. If you use the attention activity, bring a picture of the Savior (62572; Gospel Art Picture Kit 240). If you prefer not to sketch the drawings on the chalkboard, bring a mirror, an object to represent other people, and a map, globe, or other object to represent the world.

  5. If the picture Boy Samuel Called by the Lord is available, you may want to use it during the lesson (62498; Gospel Art Picture Kit 111).

Suggested Lesson Development

Attention Activity

You may want to use the following activity (or one of your own) to begin the lesson.

Before class, display and cover a picture of the Savior. Sketch the three figures on page 97 on the chalkboard and cover them (or display and cover the three objects listed under “Preparation”). Explain that each hidden item has something to do with whom we honor and whom we try to please.

Tell class members that this lesson will discuss the blessings that come from honoring the Lord. Explain that you will uncover the hidden items at appropriate times during the lesson.

self, others, and world

Scripture Discussion and Application

As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

1. The sons of Eli honor themselves above the Lord.

Teach and discuss 1 Samuel 2:12–17, 22–25.

Hophni and Phinehas were sons of Eli, the high priest, and were priests themselves. However, they were wicked. When Israelites came to offer sacrifices at the tabernacle, Hophni and Phinehas forcibly took the flesh of the sacrificial animals before the fat portions had been burned on the altar. They also took some of the flesh that the offerer was boiling for the sacrificial meal (1 Samuel 2:12–17). These were serious transgressions of God’s laws, equivalent to robbing God. Eli’s sons also committed the extremely serious sin of seducing women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:22).

  • What effect did the actions of Eli’s sons have on other people in Israel? (See 1 Samuel 2:17, 24.)

  • What do the actions of Eli’s sons suggest about whom they chose to honor? (Uncover the first sketch or an actual mirror.) In what areas of our lives do we sometimes honor and please ourselves rather than the Lord? Class members may suggest areas such as the following:

    1. Entertainment

    2. Sabbath observance

    3. Dating and morality

    4. Fasting

    5. Church callings

  • Why do you think we sometimes choose to please ourselves rather than God? What are the consequences of honoring ourselves more than God?

2. Eli honors his sons above the Lord.

Teach and discuss 1 Samuel 2:27–36; 3:12–14.

  • What responsibility did Eli have when he learned of the wickedness of his sons? What did he do? (See 1 Samuel 2:22–25.) What was their response? (See 1 Samuel 2:25.)

  • After reprimanding his sons, Eli did nothing further to correct the terrible sins in his family and at the tabernacle. As a result, a man of God came and chastised him, telling him that he honored his sons more than God (1 Samuel 2:27–29). In what way had Eli honored his sons more than God? What did the man of God say would happen to the house of Eli? (See 1 Samuel 2:30–35.)

  • In what ways do we sometimes honor other people more than God? (Uncover the second sketch or the object representing other people.) Class members may suggest ways such as the following:

    1. We allow our peers to persuade us to do something we know is wrong.

    2. We act dishonestly because we are afraid of what other people might think of us.

    3. We fail to correct family members or friends in their wrongdoing because we want to maintain good relations with them.

    President Joseph F. Smith taught: “There should [not] be any of us so unwisely indulgent, so thoughtless and so shallow in our affection for our children that we dare not check them in a wayward course, in wrong-doing and in their foolish love for the things of the world more than for the things of righteousness, for fear of offending them” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 286).

  • How can parents fulfill their responsibility toward wayward children in a spirit of love? What is the responsibility of children as their parents strive to lead them in righteousness?

3. Samuel honors the Lord.

Teach and discuss 1 Samuel 3. You may want to have an assigned class member briefly summarize this chapter. Remind class members that the boy Samuel was serving in the temple after his mother, Hannah, had given him to the Lord’s service, as she had promised (1 Samuel 1).

  • Who spoke to Samuel in the night? (See 1 Samuel 3:4.) Whom did Samuel first think was calling him? (See 1 Samuel 3:5–6, 8). How did Samuel learn it was the Lord calling? (See 1 Samuel 3:8–9.)

  • How does the Lord communicate with us? (He communicates most often through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. Class members may suggest additional ways he communicates with us.) How can we prepare ourselves to receive and understand communications from the Lord?

  • In what ways did Samuel honor the Lord? (Uncover the picture of the Lord.) You may want to consider the following passages in your discussion:

    “I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind” (1 Samuel 2:35).

    “The Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I” (1 Samuel 3:4).

    “Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:10).

  • The Lord promised to honor those who honored him (1 Samuel 2:30). How did the Lord honor Samuel? (See 1 Samuel 3:19.) How do you think the Lord will honor us if we honor him as Samuel did?

4. The Israelites honor the world.

Teach and discuss 1 Samuel 8. You may want to have an assigned class member briefly summarize this chapter.

  • What type of government did Israel have during Samuel’s ministry? (See 1 Samuel 8:1. The Israelites were governed by judges.) Whom was Israel supposed to regard as their king? (See 1 Samuel 12:12.)

  • Why did the children of Israel want a king? (See 1 Samuel 8:5, 20.) In asking for a king “like all the nations,” whom did Israel reject? (See 1 Samuel 8:7.) What did the Lord instruct Samuel to say about the problems of having a king? (See 1 Samuel 8:9–18.) What was the response of the Israelites to Samuel’s warnings? (See 1 Samuel 8:19–22.)

  • In asking for a king, whom did the Israelites honor? (Uncover the third sketch or the object representing the world.)

  • In what ways do we sometimes desire to be “like all the nations”? (See 1 Samuel 8:5.)

    You may want to use the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth (34285) to discuss the standards the Lord has set for us so we will not participate in the wicked ways of the world. Explain that these standards apply to adults as well as youth.

  • The Lord Jesus Christ is our true king, just as he was the true king of the Israelites (Psalm 47:7; 89:18; 149:2). How should this knowledge affect our attitudes toward the ways of the world? How do we sometimes reject the Lord as our king?


Call attention to the four items that have been displayed during class. Explain that all of us must choose each day whom we will honor. Bear testimony of the blessings and joy you have received as you have honored the Lord. Invite class members to share their own experiences or testimonies.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. Value of the things we choose

  • Sometimes we exchange things of great value for things of lesser value. What did Eli and his sons give up because of their choices? What things did Samuel tell the Israelites they would give up if they wanted a king? (See 1 Samuel 8:11–17.) What things of great value do we sometimes give up for things of lesser value?

2. “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies”

President Thomas S. Monson made the following statement to show how the Lord honors those who honor Him:

“Some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this work is not yours and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 62; or Ensign, May 1996, 44).

Then President Monson told the following story:

“Should we feel [an] assignment too arduous or time-consuming, let me share with you the experience of a faithful home teacher and his companion in what was then East Germany.

“Brother Johann Denndorfer had been converted to the Church in Germany, and following World War II he found himself virtually a prisoner in his own land—the land of Hungary in the city of Debrecen. How he wanted to visit the temple! How he desired to receive his spiritual blessings! Request after request to journey to the temple in Switzerland had been denied, and he almost despaired. Then his home teacher visited. Brother Walter Krause went from the northeastern portion of Germany all the way to Hungary. He had said to his home teaching companion, ‘Would you like to go home teaching with me this week?’

“His companion said, ‘When will we leave?’

“‘Tomorrow,’ replied Brother Krause.

“‘When will we come back?’ asked the companion.

“‘Oh, in about a week—if we get back then!’

“And away they went to visit Brother Denndorfer. He had not had home teachers since before the war. Now, when he saw the servants of the Lord, he was overwhelmed. He did not shake hands with them; rather, he went to his bedroom and took from a secret hiding place his tithing that he had saved from the day he became a member of the Church and returned to Hungary. He presented the tithing to his home teachers and said: ‘Now I am current with the Lord. Now I feel worthy to shake the hands of servants of the Lord!’

“Brother Krause asked him about his desire to attend the temple in Switzerland. Brother Denndorfer said: ‘It’s no use. I have tried and tried. The government has even confiscated my Church books, my greatest treasure.’

“Brother Krause, a patriarch, provided Brother Denndorfer with a patriarchal blessing. At the conclusion of the blessing, he said to Brother Denndorfer, ‘Approach the government again about going to Switzerland.’ And Brother Denndorfer submitted the request once again to the authorities. This time approval came, and with joy Brother Denndorfer went to the Swiss Temple and stayed a month. He received his own endowment, his deceased wife was sealed to him, and he was able to accomplish the work for hundreds of his ancestors. He returned to his home renewed in body and in spirit” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 64–65; or Ensign, May 1996, 45–46).