God always builds the individual before the individual builds the city. In this case it took two generations to set the stage for what God intended to do. In their life and ministry, David and Solomon both illustrated different dimensions of God’s intentions in unique ways. They are one of the most interesting combinations in all of history. The two could not have been more different in personality or calling, yet both illustrated aspects of the life of the believer in ways that few others can. They are the perfect complement to one another.
God appeared to Solomon in a dream. It was not a theophany— an in-the-flesh visitation of God. It was a dream, and in that dream Solomon made a decision that changed the course of his life and the life of all Israel. It fascinates me that this took place while he was sleeping. God trusted him to make this monumental decision of a lifetime while he was asleep. It was only after Solomon awoke that he realized he had been given a God moment in the middle of the night. He wrote about this principle in the Song of Solomon 5: 2, when he said, “I was asleep but my heart was awake” (NASB). The spirit man does not sleep. It is able to commune with God continuously. More importantly for this story is the fact that Solomon was so devoted to the “one thing” in his life— God’s purpose for him— that he could be trusted to make this important decision while he slept. That is interesting because the Lord loves to visit us in the night. In fact, some of our most profound encounters happen while we are sleeping.
We would become proud if we had the same level of encounters while we were awake, so God visits us in the night (see Job 33: 15– 18). God longs to fill our lives with Himself, but He will restrain Himself if doing so would in any way add to our bent for independence or pride. He truly is the ultimate steward of His grace— which is entirely for our benefit.