A Good Ask

Wasn’t really a genie-in-the-bottle-granting-any-three-wishes thing, but you gotta admit, it was kind of close.

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.”

(1Kings 3:5 ESV)

Ask, says Jehovah. Apparently it’s in the imperative voice. So essentially God is commanding Solomon, “Tell me what you want!”

No parameters. No caveats. No restrictions. Lay out it for Me, Solomon.

We know that had Solomon sought to personally profit from this once in a lifetime offer it wouldn’t have surprised the LORD. Had the rookie king asked the King of kings for good health, or money, or fame, or even tried to be tricky and asked for unlimited wishes, God, knowing His creation inside and out, would have understood where the ask had come from.

But none of those things, nor anything else that might benefit or promote self, were at the top of Solomon’s wish list.

“And now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. . . . Give Your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this Your great people?”

(1Kings 3:7, 9 ESV)

And just like they do when I go through a Starbucks drive-thru, the LORD repeats the “order” to make sure it’s what Solomon asked for:

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word.

(1Kings 3:10-12a ESV)

Understanding. Discernment. Hearing the voice of God. Having insight to the ways of God. The ability to recognize when the right heavenly principles should be applied to complex earthly situations. Good ask, Solomon!

One of my early mentors (didn’t call him that, just a guy a few years older than me who was willing to hang out with me and live Christ before me) used to pray Solomon’s prayer, asking for insight and wisdom in doing what God had called him to do. Forty-plus years later I still think of him as one of the wisest, most discerning guys I know.

But it’s not only my buddy of way back who thought Solomon’s ask was a good ask. As I then got to Ephesians in this morning’s readings, I’m thinking Paul would have thought it was good ask, as well.

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe.

(Ephesians 1:16-19a ESV)

Isn’t that what Solomon wanted? The eyes of his heart enlightened? That God, through His Spirit of wisdom and revelation, might give knowledge of things not seen with the eye, nor heard with the ear, nor learned through a textbook?

Paul wanted his children in the faith TO KNOW. To know the hope. To know the riches. To know the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us.

Shouldn’t we, like Solomon, ask also for such understanding and discernment? Might it be a good idea to pray Paul’s prayer on own behalf? To know deep down the reality of our forever future? To be firmly convinced that we labor now for a treasure yet to be realized? And that we do so drawing on a source of power the likes of which the world can’t really fathom–because that power created this world, that power raised Jesus from the dead?

I’m thinking it would be a good thing to push other needs to the bottom of the wish list, I mean prayer list, as we first ask, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord!”

Isn’t that a good ask? I’m thinkin’ . . .

By His grace alone. For His glory alone.

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