Most people who have been in church for very long are familiar with the story of Solomon. He was son of David and Bathsheba and successor to the throne of Israel. Tasked with governing such a vast kingdom, Solomon gets what appears to be a guarantee from God to get whatever one thing he asked for. Because he asked for wisdom instead of requesting the normal “stuff” that a king might desire, his response ‘pleased’ the Lord’, God granted to him what he asked and much more.
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.” 1 Kings 3:5
Solomon answered “… give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (vs 9-10).
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” (vs 11-14)NIV 1 Kings 3:5-14
While you might know this story, it’s much more than a history lesson. It poses a question that every Christ-follower needs to ponder. Have you stopped to seriously consider how you might personally respond to the same proposal from God?
Let me put it to you plainly… what would you ask for if the Lord gave you an open offer to ask for anything? No exceptions. No strings. No fine print. … anything. What request would you make?
Before you discount this idea as fantasy, think about this…
The offer has already been made to you.
Jesus said, If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7) and in 1 John 5:14 we’re told that “if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
In light of this expansive invitation, how many of us default to asking for what amounts to “long life” “wealth” and “death to enemies?” (1 Kings 3:11) Of course, we are welcome to bring all of our concerns to the Lord (no matter how big or small) and He delights in hearing them, but there are greater and far more significant requests that few of us consider that our faithful God would be pleased to answer. But our myopic focus often sidelines these weightier matters and gives us a introverted mindset that sets us up to excuse personal compromise.
So, just for a moment, raise your thoughts above your own personal concerns… get beyond the pressing clamor of urgent necessities… set aside the attraction of dwelling on your own locality, and reflect on more expansive ideas. If you are still having trouble, let me suggest a petition that’s much needed in the church today. Perhaps believers should choose a request that will be eternally pleasing to the Lord and always in His will.
Let us, individually and corporately, commit to asking the Lord for the strength and faithfulness necessary to Honor His Name and be faithful ambassadors for His Kingdom.
As we make this our desire and set ourselves to “seek first the kingdom and His righteousness” we can also trust that, as in Solomon’s case, “all these (other) things will be added to us.” (Matt. 6:33).