READING: 1 Kings 3-5, Luke 20:1-26
“Give Your servant an understanding heart.”
1 Kings 3:9
I wonder what I would have answered had God said to me what He said to Solomon: “Ask what you wish Me to give you” (1 Kgs. 3:5). I don’t know for certain, but I think my answers would have varied according to my season of life, my level of maturity in Christ, and my level of carnality at the time. If I’m completely honest, my answer as a young pastor would have been, “Give me a big church, and let my name become known.” As my friends were marrying, I would have answered, “Give me a wife.” At some points, I think my request would have related to money and possessions. Sometimes, it would have been, “Give me a new job.” My point is that my heart hasn’t always been so rightly directed that I would have answered in a way that would have pleased God.
I’m fairly certain I would not have answered what Solomon did: “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?” (1 Kgs. 3:9). Solomon was young, and he knew he did not know how to lead God’s people. The task was too great for him. Rather than ask for riches, a long life, or defeated enemies, he asked only for wisdom to judge and lead the people. Because God was pleased with Solomon’s humble request, He gave the king riches and honor as well.
As a young church leader, my ego would likely have stopped me from praying Solomon’s prayer. I was convinced I was a unique young leader; thus, I wanted the bigger church more than I recognized how little wisdom I had. The older I get, though, the more my answer to the question God asked Solomon has changed. I’m learning that possessions don’t bring joy. Fame is so fleeting that it doesn’t grab my attention as strongly any longer. Long life would be good, but death doesn’t worry me.
Instead, I’ve come to the place where lostness deeply burdens me, and what I leave behind concerns me. I think my answers would be, “Lord, please save our loved ones in Pam’s family and mine, raise up men and women to get to every people group in the world, and then let the men in whom I invest become a mighty force for Your glory.” That prayer sounds quite different from my prayer for a big church, but I hope I’m much wiser now than I was then. If I am, it’s only because God has granted me wisdom.
- Decide what would be your answer to the question God posed for Solomon. Be honest with yourself.
- If you’re willing, say a prayer for the loved ones I mention in the devotion.
PRAYER: “God, my heart seldom goes where Solomon’s heart went when You asked his request. Make me long for Your wisdom.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Kings 6-7, Luke 20:27-47