Dark clouds slip between the guardian mountain peaks and scurry across the empty skies above Death Valley in California. Heat waves tremble over the parched earth as cloud shadows nibble at the eroded badlands and salt pans. Thunder rumbles in the distance. By late afternoon, the rain-gorged sky swings low. Suddenly the heavens burst! Fat raindrops jump like marbles on the hard-packed earth. Gradually the thirsty brown clods drink in water, softening to soak in more. A curtain of silver rain hangs between the churning sky and muddy valley floor. In a few weeks, Death Valley will explode to life in an astonishing feast of wildflowers.
Upon ascending to the throne, young Solomon traveled ten miles northwest to the hills of Gibeon to offer an extravagant sacrifice—a thousand burnt offerings. This was the same place where the sun stood still for Joshua and where twelve of David’s strong men defeated twelve of Saul’s men (see Joshua 10:1–14; 2 Samuel 2:12–17). In the middle of the night, God burst through to Solomon in a dream. Solomon could have requested anything in all the earth. Through time spent in worship, Solomon realized that wisdom was the greatest of all God’s gifts.
Worship is like the rains that prepare the earth for God’s blessings. The story of the youthful Solomon preparing to take the throne is a beautiful reminder to us of the importance of worship. The story of God granting him the gift of wisdom opens with a swell of costly and reverent worship. For us, too, worship creates a context for us to encounter God; it sets our souls in motion in an upward spiral by which we pursue God, and he gladly responds.
Worship book-ended the exchange between the Sovereign God and the new sovereign of Israel. Solomon returned from his heavenly encounter and again made an offering to the God of Israel in Jerusalem before the ark of the covenant.
Like a gathering cloud, worship encircles and protects God’s people. It softens the soil of our hearts like nourishing rain. When we’ve been in a dark place and long for colorful beauty to replace the hardness that has settled into our scorched souls, simple acts of worship can prepare the way for God’s words of wisdom to permeate our hearts. If your life seems parched, won’t you allow God to paint a palette of colorful joy by spending time worshiping your Lord?
Why is worship so important to God?
What kinds of extravagant (or at least consistent) worship characterize your life?
If God offered you anything you wish, what would you ask for? Has it changed having read this passage?
1 Kings 3:5, 15 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” . . . He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.