By Allen White
Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem. The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the Lord. Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.
The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 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.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So 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?”
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.” Then Solomon awoke —and he realized it had been a dream. 1 Kings 3:1-15
What if God told you to ask for whatever you wanted? Many TV sitcoms would advise us to ask for a million more wishes or that all of our wishes for the rest of our lives would be granted. But, Solomon had an immediate need and a big responsibility. He was now in charge of running an entire nation and knew he was ill equipped to do it. He already had wisdom to recognize his weaknesses.
Out of everything Solomon could have asked for, he requested wisdom. I’m sure God, being omniscient, already had a good idea of what Solomon would ask. God doesn’t ever need to take a chance. He always knows a sure thing.
God was pleased with Solomon’s choice. “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies…” You might wonder if at that point Solomon was thinking, “O snap, I should have thought about this some more.” But, Solomon asked for the right thing, and God gave him a bonus.
Not only did Solomon receive wisdom that day, God also threw in wealth. God gave more than Solomon asked for. God honored a selfless request with a blessing.
Over the next weeks to months, we are going to examine the God-given teaching of the wisest man who ever lived. Now, for those of us who are well versed on Solomon’s life, we know while he possessed great wisdom, he didn’t always live wisely. God gave Solomon wisdom, but didn’t remove his sinful nature. We have Solomon’s wise words. It’s our responsibility to apply them wisely.
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