5 The Lord appeared to Solomon at Gibeon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you.” 6 Solomon responded, “You showed so much kindness to your servant my father David when he walked before you in truth, righteousness, and with a heart true to you. You’ve kept this great loyalty and kindness for him and have now given him a son to sit on his throne. 7 And now, Lord my God, you have made me, your servant, king in my father David’s place. But I’m young and inexperienced. I know next to nothing. 8 But I’m here, your servant, in the middle of the people you have chosen, a large population that can’t be numbered or counted due to its vast size. 9 Please give your servant a discerning mind in order to govern your people and to distinguish good from evil, because no one is able to govern this important people of yours without your help.” 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had made this request. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked for this instead of requesting long life, wealth, or victory over your enemies—asking for discernment so as to acquire good judgment— 12 I will now do just what you said. Look, I hereby give you a wise and understanding mind. There has been no one like you before now, nor will there be anyone like you afterward. 13 I now also give you what you didn’t ask for: wealth and fame. There won’t be a king like you as long as you live. 14 And if you walk in my ways and obey my laws and commands, just as your father David did, then I will give you a very long life.” 15 Solomon awoke and realized it was a dream. He went to Jerusalem and stood before the chest containing the Lord’s covenant. Then he offered entirely burned offerings and well-being sacrifices and held a celebration for all his servants.
In 1 Kings chapter 2 we see King David, sensing that his death is near, saying to his son Solomon “… be courageous and obey the law of Moses so that you will prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” David then reminds his son that God has promised the perpetuity of his lineage if his heirs walk in faithfulness of heart and soul.
I hope that you will go back and read this scripture at least one more time, as you are able, as there are many takeaways and yours might be different. For me, I don’t know why, studying this story of an event 3,000 years ago and seeing God and his actions and commandments totally unchanged from what we see in our bible today is overwhelming. Seeing what Solomon said and did at the age of twenty, when this story takes place, seems so full of God’s presence. I see in this story an amazing, endless, love of God for his people and a faithful response of the people in return.
You probably recall that King David was loved by God, but he was not perfect. Despite doing some shocking things God forgave David and he continued to be faithful to God’s commandments. We can see this displayed when Solomon speaks to God, saying he sees his father as a servant of God and thanks God for the love shown his father. Solomon is thankful for being born. He calls God Lord and thanks God for making him king despite his age and lack of ability to understand what the job fully entails. Solomon is humble, recognizing that the Jewish nation has grown so large that their number cannot be counted, he will be in charge, and he needs God’s help.
A measure of Solomon’s character is found in his asking God for an understanding mind to govern the nation, an ability to discern between good and evil. God is pleased that Solomon’s request is selfless and gives him a wise and discerning mind so strong that no person, before or after, shall be an equal. God ends the dialogue by telling Solomon to walk in his ways, to keep God’s statutes and commandments, as his father David did, and his life will be lengthened.
This past Sunday we heard a sermon by Rev. Marv Wills which adds, for me at least, another dimension to the 1 Kings scripture. Marv spoke about joy and cited John 15 where Jesus reminds the disciples that if they remain in his love, and obey his commandments, the joy of Jesus will be in them. The joy and love seen in God, David and Solomon has been passed through Jesus to each of us and we are surely blessed.
by Clarence Beverage
For Pondering & Prayer
Do you see a consistent path from Old Testament scripture through Jesus to us today that helps you to feel joy filled? What did you see in this scripture that you found particularly helpful or moving?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for your Word, which reminds us of how highly you value discernment and good judgement. Thank you for the presence of your Holy Spirit to lead, teach and help us to know you and to serve you. Amen.