9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
10 And the speech pleased* the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
Solomon takes over from his father, David, and is crowned king. Yahweh has appeared to Solomon in a dream and told him to ask for what he wanted. God is pleased with his answer and rewards him over and above his desires. Solomon has always been known for his wisdom and one of the Bible stories I heard as a child is the one of the two mothers and how the death of one of their children led to a trial that showed the depth of his wisdom. This is recorded in 1 Kings 3:16-27.
Matthew, Mark and Luke all mention Jesus telling us to ask and that we will receive. Yet all of these evangelists also say the Jesus doesn’t promise that we will receive exactly what we ask for, as Jesus tells us, God will give us what we need. Solomon knew what he would need in order to govern wisely.
Do we ask God for what we want, or for what we need?
Parents need patience; spouses need a sense of commitment and fidelity; workers need a willingness to put in the effort required to do a good job. We all need something different depending on our circumstances. However, we all need a spirit of justice, compassion, mercy and forgiveness. We need to have God’s spirit within us to help us when making difficult decisions.
It would be nice to win a lot of money in a lottery, but it would be sinful to waste money that is needed for the rent or for food. It is more productive to ask God to lead us to a job that would enable us to afford the necessities of life. As we shall see in a later passage, Solomon doesn’t always use his gifts as God intended.
The question for us then is, “How do we use the gifts God has given us?”
Good and gracious God, you give us what we need. Help us to recognize those gifts and use them wisely. Amen.