If God said, “Ask whatever you want me to give you,” how would you respond? God asked Solomon that very question. Surprisingly, though he was Israel’s new King, he replied in complete humility, “Now, O 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. 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.” (1Kings 3:7, 9)
While God offered him whatever he wanted, Solomon did not choose the things people usually think of first such as wealth and power, or good health and a long life. Rather, he acknowledged his lack of experience and need as he came to serve as King. There are some lessons here.
First, when we are approaching God with a request, we need to come humbly, acknowledging our true status and need. Solomon characterized himself as a little child. How appropriate when coming before God! Jesus said unless we become as little children we will never enter the kingdom of God. We may not always understand what to request, confusing wants and desires with real needs. Solomon was overwhelmed with the task he was about to face as a young and new king reigning over Israel. That is not necessarily a bad place to be since it helped him recognize his needs in contrast to his desires.
Second, leave God some room to act in what will be in your best interests. Seek his will for your life. Solomon did not ask to be a successful king. He asked for wisdom and a discerning heart. The Bible tells us that God was pleased with Solomon’s request and gave him not only what he asked for, but also what he didn’t ask for including riches and honor. God also told him that if he obeyed his commands he would give him a long life.
Centuries later we hear the echo of this same response, when Jesus tells us not to worry about what to eat or drink or wear, but “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Our highest priority should be to seek God’s will in all things. It is a measure of success that far surpasses the world’s view involving wealth, fame, honor, and power.
So, what would you ask?