Solomon – 1 Kings 3:5-9 – ‘At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” And Solomon said: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”’
What an incredible situation this is! I wonder if you’ve ever sat around and thought about what you would get if you could have anything in the world. No limits, no cost involved – that would be, or at least ought to be a life-defining moment. Well that’s exactly the opportunity that Solomon had here – God turns up to him in a dream and asks him ‘what shall I give you?’
So what would your request be – what immediately springs to mind that you would love to have. I think the honest truth is that whatever that is, it shows something profound about who you are, and what is important to you in your life. You speak to the average person on the street, and almost guaranteed they would ask for something along the lines of financial prosperity, success in life, or maybe simply happiness – because that’s all that they’re living for, they don’t see anything else outside of the things of this world. But for a Christian it should be different, and for all his failings later in life, this time Solomon gets it right.
From his answer to God’s question you can tell what is on Solomon’s mind – why else would he ask for the wisdom to lead God’s people well if that wasn’t on his mind the whole time. Already we’ve been told that Solomon loved the Lord, and the responsiblity of leading God’s people was clearly quite heavy on his heart – especially the fact that he had to follow his father, King David who was loved by many, and known as a man who loved, trusted and walked with God. The pressure was great, and Solomon was eager to do the job in a way that honoured God and brought Him glory, just as his father had done for most of his life. What was in Solomon’s heart came out – not a request for any of the things of the world, but for the one thing that would enable him to rule God’s people in a manner fitting to the position he held. You can tell that God is pleased with Solomon’s request, as He also grants him riches and honour greater than any other king who lived alongside Solomon.
So I guess the biggest question that rises from this account is this – what would come out of your heart if you were put in this situation – what do you want more than anything else in the world? An honest answer will tell us a lot about ourselves. If the answer is honestly something to do with finance, happiness, and material things, then we should probably be asking some big questions about where out heart lies. Jesus Himself said ‘where your treasure is there your heart will be also’. The things we view as valuable will shape what we love, and what we pursue in this life, and the Bible calls us to turn those priorities upside down – not to lay up treasures on earth, but treasures in heaven. What is it that consumes our attention in life – is it how we can make enough money for all our comforts and enjoyments in life? Maybe it’s how we can become as successful, and popular as we can, but the Bible calls us to be dedicated to living our lives in a way that honours God, and that shows Him off to the world around.
Whether that’s by being a faithful wife and mother in the home, an honest and reliable worker in the workplace, or a bold and courageous missionary, taking the Gospel to those who need to hear it, it really doesn’t matter – God has called us to be dedicated to seeing God glorified as we go about our daily lives. In turn, this kind of attitude will shape our prayer life – we can either pray a majority of self-centred prayers, or as our priorities change, it will help us to look outside of ourselves, and pray prayers like Solomon did, prayers which, when answered, will result in God being glorified here on earth, and our treasure being found in heaven. May God help us to have hearts that long for Him to be lifted high in everything that we do.