In 1 Kings Chapter 3, King David and Bathsheba’s son, Solomon, received a word from the Lord in a dream. When the Lord asked what He could give Solomon, Solomon asked for wisdom to be able to properly lead Israel as their new king.
11 Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 13 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 14 So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:11-14 (NKJV)
King David was now dead, and his young son Solomon had been anointed as both God’s and David’s choice to rule on the throne of Israel. This was a large and difficult task for a young person, being responsible to lead several million subjects and people of God.
David had given Solomon much instruction about his coming reign and also regarding the construction of God’s temple. The temple was to be built on the spot in Jerusalem where God had once sent fire down upon David’s offering, ending a plague on Israel. David had already assembled all the materials needed for the temple’s construction, including vast amounts of gold and silver for the holy articles. But God had decreed that David’s son Solomon, not David, would be the one to build it, as David had been a man of war and had spilled much blood in his life.
A second prophecy was contained within God’s instruction to David about who should build the temple – it referred to another, future temple and another “Son” of David, the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Matthew’s genealogy refers to Jesus as the Son of David, born into the regal line of Judah. Jesus would later build a heavenly temple, His global Church, where God’s Spirit will live not within a building made with human hands, but within the hearts of Christ’s redeemed believers worldwide. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead replaced the need for or purpose of any future temple sin sacrifices – the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover all sin for those who would seek it.
Solomon loved the Lord and sought His guidance to help him run the nation wisely. Upon taking over, he had offered a thousand burnt offerings to cover the sins of himself and the people, and the Lord approved, speaking to him that night in a dream.
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” 1 Kings 3:5 (NKJV)
Solomon had taken a step of faith towards the Lord, and the Lord responded by giving him a direct word, in return. This is the way that the Lord has sometimes worked in the lives of some people that I know.
Like Solomon, the Lord wants us to ask Him for whatever we need to properly offer Him service. Or even to ask for whatever we think we need or want. It is then up to Him to decide what to give us and, if so, when for us to receive it. The answer may come long after we even remembered praying for it, or it may come in a different form. For instance, I once heard a person say that he did not believe in God today because he had prayed for a bicycle when was a little kid and did not get one. Yet, now he is blessed to be driving around in a fancy car. We are instructed to ask Him, but God decides the answer – yes or no, now or later. And He has our best interests in mind. With all the miracles God has performed, a new bicycle would have been among the very easiest.
In Solomon’s case, he responded to God’s generous offer by putting the needs of the people of his kingdom first before his own benefit or comfort. Instead of asking for riches or power, he asked for divine wisdom and knowledge to help guide his decision-making towards the best outcome for the people of Israel.
God was incredibly pleased with Solomon’s choice, as this yearning of his heart reflected the very character of God. Thinking and acting for the benefit of others over ourselves is living out our being created in the image of God.
As a reward for Solomon’s choice, God decided to pour out an abundance of gifts upon him – wisdom and knowledge greater than any person in history, plus abundant riches, honor, with peace for the nation. And, if Solomon continued to follow the Lord throughout his life, God promised to lengthen his days. Sounds like he made a very wise decision with his first request.
If the Lord were to speak to you today through a dream or a prophetic word, and ask you what He should give you, what would you ask for?
Lord God, we approach You in prayer with all of our needs and even our wants. Thank You that You are always listening, with incredible love. We know that if Your response is a “No” or a “Not now”, that You have something much better in store for us later. We thank You and bless You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.