A DAYDREAM, A REALITY, OR BOTH
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
28 AUGUST 1994
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Kings 11:3
Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Every one of us has hopes and wish lists of the way we would like things to be, or of the things we would like to have, or of the places we would like to go.
These daydreams, of sorts, can be a very healthy aspect of our lives, for they give us something to work for.
Or, on the other hand, these daydreams can be a way of escape from reality, a secret place in which to hide.
Daydreams give us a secret place in which to act out our fantasies, where no one can make fun of us.
But daydreams are also the place where great things are born.
People dreamed about going to the moon many years before we actually did it.
People are still dreaming about going to the planets, and even to the stars; and as long as they continue to dream, we may one day have these dreams become a reality.
The key is that dreams become reality only when we work at accomplishing the goals of our dreams.
A student can dream about getting an "A", but without paying attention to the class work and doing quite a bit of studying, in reality, the student's dream may result in an "F".
Sometimes people dream of the future success of their children.
People also dream about their spouses and about their relationship, that they will be happy all the days of their lives.
These dreams, which involve other people, also require the other person to work at making the dreams come true.
No matter how hard we wish or hope or dream, or even pray for someone else to be the fulfillment of our own desire, it will not happen unless they are willing.
In Psalm 72, we have a case in point; but it should be pointed out that it is uncertain as to who wrote it, David or Solomon.
If David wrote it shortly before his death, it was his dream and prayer for his son Solomon.
If Solomon wrote it, it was for the people to pray for him for its fulfillment.
In either case, whether it was David's dream and prayer for his son, or Solomon's for himself, it still required Solomon's willingness to see it come to fulfillment.
Let's look at Psalm 72 in a little more detail.
A Psalm of Solomon
1. Give the king Thy judgments, O God,
And Thy righteousness to the king's son.
God gives His judgments and righteousness to every person.
Our Bible is a perfect example.
His word is there for everyone, but relatively few partake of the gift.
And unfortunately when most people do open their Bibles, they seek ways to justify their sins or to indulge in God's concessions rather than seek to live in His will.
Even in our churches, it is estimated that fewer than half read their Bible on a regular basis.
Thus God's judgments, which are given as a guide for us to live righteously, can just as easily be used by God to condemn us, if we refuse to heed His word.
Whether for the king, or for his son, or even for us, it still requires our own individual commitment to follow God's word and to live righteously according to His will.
2. May he judge Thy people with righteousness,
And Thine afflicted with justice.
God will indeed judge everyone with equal righteousness and justice, but the king may not do this.
Thus, the king, and every political leader, must be willing to act as God would act.
And remember that the ultimate justice for an afflicted righteous person could be to pass through death into eternal life with God, while a cruel king could find himself condemned to hell.
3. Let the mountains bring peace to the people,
And the hills in righteousness.
4. May he vindicate the afflicted of the people,
Save the children of the needy,
And crush the oppressor.
Once again, this is praying in the will of God; but if the king is unwilling, it will not necessarily happen.
And even if the king is willing, and the people are not, it may not happen, for they will lose out in the end.
5. Let them fear Thee while the sun endures,
And as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
We pray for the people of the world, our nation, and this community almost every Sunday, but the people haven't been willing.
People, in general, don't fear or reverence the Lord their God.
6. May he come down like rain upon the mown grass,
Like showers that water the earth.
7. In his days may the righteous flourish,
And abundance of peace till the moon is no more.
This came true in the early years of Solomon's reign; but when pride came over him, he turned from God's way and became an oppressor of the very people he prayed for.
Solomon destroyed his own dream.
8. May he also rule from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.
9. Let the nomads of the desert bow before him;
And his enemies lick the dust.
10. Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.
11. And let all kings bow down before him,
All nations serve him.
All of this came true, too; but it began falling apart in Solomon's later years, and totally fell apart after his death.
So much for the dreams for the son of the king.
12. For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help,
The afflicted also, and him who has no helper.
13. He will have compassion on the poor and needy,
And the lives of the needy he will save.
14. He will rescue their life from oppression and violence;
And their blood will be precious in his sight;
15. So may he live; and may the gold of Sheba be given to him;
And let them pray for him continually;
Let them bless him all day long.
All of this, likewise, came true during Solomon's earlier days; but as we are told in the Bible, his many wives turned him away to follow other gods.
Solomon became unwilling to work at his dream of becoming Israel's greatest king.
16. May there be abundance of grain in the earth on top of the mountains;
Its fruit will wave like the cedars of Lebanon;
And may those from the city flourish like vegetation of the earth.
This too happened, until the people turned away from God by following Solomon's lead.
God gave each and every one of them a mind of their own, as He has given us; thus, it is our individual decision whether to follow God or man.
17. May his name endure forever;
May his name increase as long as the sun shines;
And let men bless themselves by him;
Let all nations call him blessed.
This never happened after the early part of his reign.
His name has lived on, but not as this prayer desires.
In many ways his fame became infamous.
18. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who alone works wonders.
But many people in their pride of life think that they are capable of working great wonders.
19. And blessed be His glorious name forever;
And may the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen, and Amen.
20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.
The prayers of David may be over, as of a living breathing person; but every time we read and offer up this Psalm we, in effect, are continuing David's prayers.
Just as the first person to dream of walking on the moon was dead before it ever happened, but that dream was carried forward by others who worked for its success.
While we are talking about Solomon, let's take a look at another example, the Song of Solomon 2:8-13.
This book is a love story between a bride and her husband, and it is filled with dream images of the partner.
In the verses before us, we are looking at the husband, Solomon, through the eyes of his bride.
8. "Listen! My beloved!
Behold, he is coming,
Climbing on the mountains,
Leaping on the hills!
9. "My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Behold, he is standing behind our wall,
He is looking through the windows,
He is peering through the lattice.
The husband is seen as an early riser, a person who is full of energy, a person who desires his wife to join him in his enthusiasm for life.
Listen to what the husband says:
10. "My beloved responded and said to me,
'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along.
11. 'For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
12. 'The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
13. 'The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!' "
From what is said, we can assume that it is a time of peace and prosperity.
The family life is to be a team effort.
To be fully successful, it requires the cooperation of all.
If the husband becomes less energetic and the wife remains in bed, nothing will happen, and the crops will not be as they should be.
And as we know from Scripture (1 Kings 11:3), this relationship became considerably less, for Solomon's desire was for many women; and as we also know, women don't like sharing their man with other women.
3. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.
A good way to destroy a relationship!
Solomon, in his pride of office, turned from what the Lord handed down through Moses concerning kings (Deuteronomy 17: 17):
17. "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.
Solomon did all of this.
And His wives did according to the warning.
Lust and pride destroyed what was beautiful, and brought a whole nation down with it.
Some people see in the Song of Solomon a prophetic message of Christ and the Church.
Whether or not that was the intent of the writer, we do not know; but two things we do know:
Jesus Christ is always the perfect husband, while the bride, the church, has become lazy, and in many ways has strayed far from the marriage covenant.
Each and every one of us needs to carefully and honestly look at our daydreams, our hopes, our desires, and our prayers.
And we likewise need, with equal care and honesty, to look at reality.
We can dream about having a money tree, so that any time we want something, all we would have to do is pick the money and buy what we want.
But in reality there is no such thing as a money tree, nor is it possible to have one.
However, what is possible is to plant a garden and grow a crop and sell it for money, but that requires work.
Or we can work at our jobs; doing the very best we can so that what we desire will come to pass.
And instead of spending everything we earn, and even more and piling up debt, we can put some aside for the future, and earn money while we sleep and for our retirement days.
Our relationship with God is the same.
He has everything we could ever need or want.
But unless we work at making our union with Him a success, we miss out on our personal relationship with Him and on that which He has for us.
Our daydreams and reality should always be the same, even if everything isn't accomplished right now.
Just as love grows sweeter over time, so do our dreams when they come true.
God has given us the whole universe and beyond; isn't it worth a little effort to hold on to it?
That's the only way I know to have our dreams come true.
And they will, if God, and His will for our lives, are the central focus of our dreams.
Let us pray!
Your Comments are welcome
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