Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt; he took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David, until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the Lord.
Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt-offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honour all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.’
Then Solomon awoke; it had been a dream. He came to Jerusalem, where he stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. He offered up burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being, and provided a feast for all his servants.
What would you ask God for if you were lucky enough to be given the chance? I spent a little time thinking about this and it is not easy as it sounds. There may be many things we need, and it will take us some time to prioritise the list. It didn’t take Solomon long. He asked for an understanding mind – the ability to understand what is good, right and just. Solomon asked for wisdom – to govern the people and to distinguish between right and wrong. It is a selfless prayer, not something for himself but for the task at hand – the need he saw in governing the Kingdom well. Notice what God said to him – “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” God did not promise him anything. He did not say He would give Solomon what he asked for. It was an ask without the “and I will give it to you.” Strictly speaking, it is not a “blank cheque”. Look at God’s response to Solomon. The “offer” God posed is more like a test: “Tell me what you want from me.” Solomon’s request reveals his true heart. It reveals what matters to him.
Our asking today reveals our heart. It shows where our concerns are and where our priorities lie. Our prayers are indicators of the matters of our heart. What are you praying for today? What are you asking God for?
God was pleased. He saw that Solomon’s heart yearned for the Kingdom and for righteousness, so God adds on to what Solomon asked. ‘I will give you what you have not asked for – both riches and honour – so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.
The message here is ‘seek first God’s concerns and He will take care of our concerns’. We pray that we will always walk in the wisdom of God, listen to and obey God’s Word.
Living and loving Father, Speak and help us to listen Listen and help us to speak Than in praise, prayer and teaching You may touch our lives and make us whole again.
Ann Barton, Member of Whittlesford URC and retired Church House staff member