November 26, 2023
Even though a few of David's sons had conspired to sit upon their father's throne, it was Solomon, one of the younger sons, who was ultimately chosen as successor. He was the "son of the promise"; a promise made by King David to his wife Bathsheba, Solomon's mother. Before his death, David spoke with his son, exhorting him to be faithful to God by following all of His ways and decrees as put forth in the law of Moses, thus insuring that he and his people would succeed in all of their undertakings. But David also passed on to him another promise, the very promise that God had made to him; "if your sons are careful how they behave, and walk loyally before me with all their heart and soul, you will never want for a man on the throne of Israel." (1 Kings 2:4) David knew that the only way his dynasty would endure was if his 'children's children' were to walk faithfully before their God, so before his death, he made sure that Solomon understood that his inheritance was not only a natural reality, but a supernatural one as well.
David's hope was that this understanding between he and God would continue through every succeeding generation until a son would come, the very King of the Promise, the King of Kings, and that this Son would take up his throne and rule as the ultimate heir of the promise.
So we see Solomon starting out very well, having been strengthened in purpose and dignity by his father's words and legacy. The scriptures say that Solomon loved Yahweh and that he followed the precepts of his father David. (1 Kings 3:3)
In 1 Kings 3: 5-15, the scriptures show us Solomon going to Gibeon at the beginning of his rule to seek God, and sure enough, he had a dream there, a dream that would impact the whole of his ministry as king of the chosen people:
At Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream during the night. God said, 'Ask what you would like me to give you.' Solomon replied, 'You showed most faithful love to your servant David, my father, when he lived his life before you in faithfulness and uprightness and integrity of heart; you have continued this most faithful love to him by allowing a son of his to sit on his throne today.
Now, Yahweh my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. And here is your servant, surrounded with your people whom you have chosen, a people so numerous that its number cannot be counted or reckoned.
So give your servant a heart to understand how to govern your people, how to discern between good and evil, for how could one otherwise govern such a great people as yours?
It pleased Yahweh that Solomon should have asked for this. 'Since you have asked for this,' God said, 'and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as no one has had before and no one will have after you. What you have not asked I shall give you too: such riches and glory as no other king can match. And I shall give you a long life, if you follow my ways, keeping my laws and commandments, as your father David followed them.'
Then Solomon woke up; it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh; he presented burnt offerings and communion sacrifices and held a banquet for all those in his service.
There is not much interpretation skill needed to decipher this dream: God appears, tells Solomon that he can ask whatever he wishes for and Solomon gives his answer. Then the Lord grants Solomon's petition and gives him even more than he originally asked for! So this is a very straight-forward dream; the dream happened, the petition was put forward and God gave His answer. The scriptures testify to this very real and historical event. However, what is really amazing about this dream is everything that surrounds it.
God - the Holy One of Israel - the creator of the entire universe - appears to Solomon in a dream. And not only that, but they have an actual conversation even though Solomon is still sleeping. This is pretty extraordinary! It proves that when we go to bed at night, our bodies may fall asleep but not our spirits. The scriptures say that "even at night my heart instructs me" (Psalm 17:7). This means that in his sleep, Solomon was able to communicate spirit to spirit with God so that he and God actually had a man-to-man conversation. Their conversation revolved around Solomon's need of supernatural grace in order to manage the political destiny of Israel.
What is even more amazing is that God asks Solomon what he wants. The answer that Solomon gives turns out to be one of the most important decisions that he would ever make in his political career; he asks for divine wisdom and an understanding heart in order to serve his people better. In that moment, Solomon didn't think of himself, but of the nation under his care. And he did all this in a dream! And it was in this dream that Solomon reveals his humility and littleness by confessing to God that his own human resources would not be enough to lead the nation successfully. He tells God that he knows he's been chosen by Him to succeed his father on the throne but that he is lacking in many areas of leadership: "But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership" (1 Kings 3:7). He knew that he needed so much more in order to make his people increase in fruitfulness in such a way that the nations around them would be impacted by the testimony of their faith in the One True God.
God was pleased with Solomon's request and He granted him what he wanted but also even more besides! He granted him riches, honour and glory above any other king on earth. In a real sense, God made a covenant with Solomon on that night and this very real interaction between them, in a dream, changed the course of Israel's history.
But more than that, it also had an impact on other nations too. Later on, we read that Solomon had influence not only in his own country but in other lands as well. He was sought out by foreign powers for his amazing wisdom in the governance of his country; recall the visit of the Queen of Sheba. The scriptures say that she was "left breathless" upon seeing what he had accomplished. (1 Kings 10:5)
Solomon and Israel became a witness to the fact that when a nation has leaders who seek God and His wisdom, its people prosper and the nation has influence (political, religious, etc) on the course of history in other nations. Imagine what our own nation - Canada- could become if it had godly and wise rulers who would pray and seek God's wisdom for the good of its people! How different our land would be today. These leaders would be sought out by foreign powers for their wisdom and their leadership skills.
This account of Solomon's dream in the Holy Scriptures is not incidental. It's a powerful testimony to this man's heart in his love for God, for his nation and for his people, but it also shows how an encounter or a conversation in a dream can impact the very fabric of our lives, leading us forward into the very heart of our mission and destiny in God. A decision that we make in a dream can truly have a life-altering impact on our own life, on the life of those we love and also on the life of our descendants.