Intentional gratitude is always top-of-mind this time of year, with Thanksgiving quickly approaching. With the hustle and bustle of life, it’s often easy to forget that expressing gratitude applies to all seasons of our lives. As believers, we are called to be grateful in all situations and to live with the joy of the Lord.
“If you could ask God for anything in the world, what would it be?” Many of us have been asked this question before. Often, our worldly minds turn quickly to things that the world values —limitless money, extreme fame, a beautiful singing voice, amazing athletic abilities…the list could go on forever!
In the Old Testament, the Lord Himself asked King Solomon this very question. He appeared to Solomon in a dream saying, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:5) King Solomon had the opportunity to ask God for anything that he desired,but instead of turning to wealth, power or material things, Solomon asked God for something more everlasting—Solomon asked God to grant him wisdom.
Referring to himself as a servant of God, Solomon responded to the Lord’s question in 1 Kings 3:7-9:
“Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
Solomon’s request would largely shock people in our modern culture. He had the opportunity to ask for anything he wanted! Why wouldn’t he simply ask for great looks, an undefeatable army or to rule over all the nations? How can he even “receive” wisdom?
The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s countercultural request (1 Kings 3:10). God commended his request because it was showed the selfless and humble heart of a leader. Even though Solomon held the highest status in Israel as King, he made a request that also considered the people he led— not just himself.
Solomon asked for wisdom because he was leading God’s chosen people, the Israelites. He desired an understanding heart and a sound mind to equip him in leading God’s people as their earthly king. He recognized the significance of this responsibility and humbly asked for a characteristic that would help him lead with grace and integrity, while ultimately following the Lord’s guidance.
Because Solomon’s heart was in the right place, God was pleased and rewarded him, as we read in 1 Kings 3:11-12:
“God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words.’”
Solomon recognized the big task ahead of him as King, and he looked to the Lord as the ultimate provider to help him rise to the challenge, rather than thinking he could do it all on his own. As James 4:10 tells us, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” With Solomon, we see this truth proven in a real, tangible way. By showing that we was ready to listen and submit to God’s sovereignty, Solomon was rewarded with a wise mind— and received wealth and other earthly pleasures as a bonus.
The Lord constantly longs for us to grow deeper in our relationship with Him, becoming more mature Christians as a result. Often, that growth starts with turning to God and petitioning Him for Christ-like characteristics that will make us able to follow Him and witness to others. Wisdom, patience, gentleness, discernement, humility— we should never be afraid to ask God to bless us with these things! In fact, He’ll be pleased when we do.
Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Like Solomon, let’s commit to approaching our God with humble hearts and honorable requests for Him to equip us with characteristics that will make us more like Jesus. Will you take this brave and intentional step in your journey to growing closer to your Father? This week, we are praying for bold trust and humble hearts for all of our Kampers and Kanakuk family!