Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Solomon continued...
Solomon slept, yet his reasoning was active. If we read the passage carefully, we realize Solomon was speaking to God in his dream. Essentially, Solomon was praying and having a dialogue with God while sleeping and dreaming.
1 Kings 3:5, “At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’”
Even in his dream Solomon acknowledges the goodness and great mercy God had shown toward him. His gratitude and thankfulness for what the Lord had done on his behalf, going back to his father David, ran so deep that even in his sleeping hours Solomon meditated upon the goodness of the Lord.
Do we acknowledge God’s kindness for us as Solomon did? Is thankfulness so imprinted upon our hearts that even in our sleep we pray prayers of thanks to God?
1 Kings 3:6, “And Solomon said: ‘You have shown great mercy to your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and you have given him a son to sit on his throne as it is this day. Now, Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.”
Not only does Solomon acknowledge God’s goodness, he also acknowledges his own impotence and ignorance in regards to leading his nation and his people. Solomon realizes that though he now sat in his father’s chair, he was not his father David. The words of this prayer confirm Solomon’s acknowledged need of the Lord’s help in order to prosper and succeed as king.
Solomon did not look upon his position with pride. He did not beat his chest and assume that he would now lead the people into a good future, because he was humble enough to be aware of his own shortcomings and limitations.
By the words which Solomon prayed, we come to realize he was wise before he asked for wisdom and it showed in the declaration of his own limitations and outright impotence. He saw himself a little child who neither knew how to go out, nor how to come in. This man was now king over the whole of Israel, but knowing his own limitations, how tenuous power is, and that he would have big shoes to fill, he humbled himself in the sight of the Lord and prayed this prayer of meekness and submission.
Although in many instances Solomon’s life is a lesson in what not to do, and how not to go about living one’s life, in this case we can learn something positive from his prayer. Something we ought to do and practice whenever we come before God.
Solomon knew God, who He was, and what He can do through the prism of what He had already done for his father. Solomon spoke of God’s mercy and kindness toward his father David, because he had seen these things firsthand and knew of what he spoke.
We cannot pray effectively, we cannot petition God successfully, if we do not know the God to whom we are praying. If we do not know God, we have no hope of getting our prayers answered by Him. Solomon knew God; therefore his prayer was formulated in such a way wherein the attributes of God were evident and at the forefront of his affirmations.
If we possess no knowledge of God, how can we hope to entreat His favor?
Tragically the church, by and large, has adopted the ‘best of both worlds’ mentality, wherein many believe they can have a tangential knowledge of God, enjoy the things of this world, and still compel Him to answer when He is called upon.
We must know God intimately, we must establish, nurture, and grow a relationship with Him through prayer, fasting, and the daily consumption of His word. To know that God exists, to believe that He is, without knowing the fullness of who He is, is a recipe for disaster. When we will need Him most, and call upon Him with the greatest of desperation, if our knowledge of God did not extend beyond the fact that He exists, our prayers will go unanswered.
Knowledge of God and His goodness gives us boldness to approach Him, to come before Him with a certainty only an intimate familiarity of Him can give. When we know God, we are not timid in our approach of Him. When we know God, we are not faint-hearted, bashful, or otherwise reticent. Because we know Him, because we know He is a good and loving Father, we approach the mercy seat with courage, steadfastness and boldness.
The knowledge of God and our awareness and acknowledgement of our own limitations are a powerful combination…one that God does not overlook or ignore.
Solomon acknowledged his own impotence, frailty, and limitations, while simultaneously acknowledging the goodness and mercy of the Lord. He knew it is the Lord who lifts high, it is the Lord who elevates, and it is the Lord who gives wisdom and honor and victory.
Why is it so hard for some to acknowledge the providence and sovereignty of God in their lives? Why is it so difficult for some to give God the glory and the honor for all, without equivocation or an attempt to siphon off some of the glory for themselves?
As long as Solomon deferred to God, as long as he acknowledged his own impotence and served God faithfully, his reign was good and noble and just. As soon as he turned his heart away from the Lord, and began to follow after his flesh more than after the leading of the Lord, we see the ruination which befell him, and the sorrow of heart which enveloped him.
God’s ways are good, and whenever and wherever He leads and guides us we must give Him the honor and glory rightly His.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.