Monday, October 01, 2007

Solomon's Request

David has died.
His son Solomon is now the King of Israel.
In I Kings 3 we find Solomon in the midst of a dream.

5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." 6And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?"

Solomon first praised God for what he did in the life of David. He did this in a dream. To me that speaks volumes of what his relationship with God was at this point in his life. To initially praise God, and then to describe himself as a servant, who is yet a child needing guidance. Shows his humility and trust in God.

And what does Solomon ask for? When I taught this in Sunday school, I asked my students what they would want of God if they could ask anything of him. Answers such as... to have lots of money, to have lots of friends, and so forth came up. Not to have wisdom and discernment. And I have to admit, that probably wouldn't be the first thing to roll off my tongue either. But in retrospect, it was the best thing to ask for.

See God's response:
10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."

God gave Solomon what he asked for, and more! No caveats placed on the wisdom and discernment gift of God. God also promised him wealth and honour, beyond compare. And then God said, that if Solomon continues to walk in the ways of God, he will have long life as well.

15And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

And so Solomon awoke, and made an offering to God.

Ah, that this immediate desire to Praise God would be a ready part of my life. I was doing up the church newsletter the other day and found this Piper articles on Gratitude. The opening lines just grabbed me:

Imagine for a moment that your city is surrounded by enemy forces who aimed to destroy you. And you are aware that enemy sympathizers live and work in the city with a view to undermining the city's defenses. And suppose you discover that there is a song which the enemy and their sympathizers cannot tolerate or approach. Whenever they hear it, they pull back and run the other direction.

Isn't it certain that you would want to learn this song? And after you learned it, you would sing it when you went to bed at night and when you got up in the morning. You would sing it on the way to work, and whenever you were among strangers. And as your confidence grew you would even venture outside the city and sing it as you walked boldly through the enemy lines on your way to another town. The more deeply embedded in your mind the song became, the more steady and deep and serene and fearless your life would become. Others would see and hear and learn the song from you. And in the end you would conquer the enemy, and there would be no threat at all.

I want the heart of gratitude that Solomon showed before the Lord, even while sleeping.
I want to sing the praises of God as David and other church leaders have shown.
To be able to show the greatness and glory of God? wow.. wouldn't that be cool? What a neat way to focus on God and live a life of confidence and victory.

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