“That night, God appeared to Solomon. God said, ‘What do you want from me? Ask.’” [2 Chronicles 1:8, MSG]
Wow. Anything? What would you ask for if God gave you freedom to request something from him?
World peace? A million dollars? A friend to finally seek God’s grace and love? Discernment? To be the most famous person ever?
There are a lot of Haitians looking for the letter ‘T’ on Prestige beer bottles right in a contest to get a free car. Would you ask for a car?
“Solomon answered, ‘You were extravagantly generous with David my father, and now you have made me king in his place. Establish, God, the words you spoke to my father, for you’ve given me a staggering task, ruling this mob of people. Yes, give me wisdom and knowledge as I come and go among this people – for who on his own is capable of leading these, your glorious people?’ God answered Solomon, ‘This is what has come out of your heart: You didn’t grasp for money, wealth, fame, and the doom of your enemies; you didn’t even ask for a long life. You asked for wisdom and knowledge so you could govern well my people over whom I’ve made you king. Because of this, you get what you asked for – wisdom and knowledge. And I’m presenting you the rest as a bonus – money, wealth and fame beyond anything the kings before you or after you had or will have.’” [2 Chronicles 1:11-12, MSG]
Solomon could have asked for anything. But God recognized Solomon’s heart when he didn’t ask for something frivolous. He wanted to honor God.
There is something here we can learn from when Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge. How many times today have you, sometimes subconsciously, asked God for something?
Perhaps, help me not strangle this co-worker, or maybe your kids? How about for a car to get out of your way because you are in a hurry? What about asking for more time in your day with a loved one who doesn’t have much longer to be in this world, or even that you find yourself too ‘busy’ to be with those you love? Maybe it is patience you ask for? Careful on that one, God tends to give you situations to grow your patience instead of actually just bestowing it on you.
I ask a lot for God’s voice to be clear and discernment to be what God needs me to be for those around me. I’ve also asked for wisdom, because who has enough really? We can always use more wisdom, but never once have I asked for knowledge. I’d never really thought about it until I read Solomon’s request a few months ago. Possibly, it is because I have a significant amount of faith in the Lord I serve, coupled with a relative easiness at the mysterious parts of God.
Solomon wanted wisdom and knowledge to lead well. I wonder at those who lead around me, if they frequently ask for wisdom and knowledge. In the areas I lead, I know I haven’t…and I cannot possibly be the only one who hasn’t asked.
Solomon didn’t lead perfectly, but he started out with his heart in the right place. None of us could ever lead perfectly, we all sin after all, but what characteristics of leadership could we commit to improving ourselves? Maybe it is wisdom and knowledge, but maybe it is in hearing the voice of God and discerning where the Holy Spirit would have you lead people.
Let today be a day you commit to having your heart in the right place…and if I end up failing today, in the uncanny tradition of David and Solomon…God will still love me tomorrow.