In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you,” (1:7).
This account, also described in chapter 3 of 1 Kings, is one of my favorites with regard to prayer. Today’s post will include additional insight provided through the account in 1 Kings.
In light of the difficulties of these days, I am sure you too are asking and praying much. As we consider Him in this turning point in the life of Solomon, this turning point repeated in His Word, I pray that we find encouragement in the midst of this current juncture we now find ourselves in, to keep on asking, for He Asks Us to Ask.
What might you do, given the chance to have one wish granted? Does it sound like a Disney movie, too fantastical to believe? But this is exactly what happened in Solomon’s life.
In that night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you,” (1:7).
In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you,” (1 Kings 3:5).
Solomon’s response, however, was not what we might imagine when sitting before the big screen. Going against the predictable, Solomon asks, not for himself, but for God’s people.
Solomon said to God, “You have dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, O Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?” (1:8-10).
Solomon was approximately twenty years of age when he found himself injected into the role of a lifetime… king of God’s chosen people! “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,” (1 Kings 3:8).
And although, Solomon did “not know how to come in or go out,” he knew enough to ask God to grant him what he needed to accomplish his life calling: “Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours,” (1:10).
“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… 9 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 Kings 3:7, 9).
Consider Him Who Asks Us to Ask
We can learn much of Him Who Asks Us to Ask, as we observe young King Solomon’s petition:
- He Asks Us to Ask on the basis of His Covenant: Solomon approached the Lord, not in his own merit, but by faith in God’s declared and decided Word; His promises for the future avowed in His covenant to Solomon’s earthly father (the Davidic Covenant).
- Solomon said to God, “You have dealt with my father David with great lovingkindness, and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, O Lord God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth,” (1:8-9).
- Then Solomon said, “You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day,” (1 Kings 3:6).
- He Asks Us to Ask in faith and humility: Solomon’s request could never be accomplished apart from God’s provision. Solomon’s appeal was presented in faith and humility through his accurate and honest assessment of both God, and himself, a request wholly dependent on God and His ability alone.
- “for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth… who can rule this great people of Yours?” (1:9-10).
- “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,” (1 Kings 3:7).
- He Asks Us to Ask for all we need: In essence, Solomon asked to rightly hear and obey God with his whole being, and to have God-given intelligence and understanding to carry out his God-given purpose in life.
- Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people… (1:10).
- “So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil…” (1 Kings 3:9).
- He Asks Us to Ask for that which will accomplish His will: Although Solomon was lacking the wisdom necessary, he was wise enough to realize he was utterly incapable of fulfilling God’s will in his own abilities and skills.
- “for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth… for who can rule this great people of Yours? 10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people,” (1:9-10).
- “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. 9 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?” (3:8-9).
- He Asks Us to Ask, that we would please Him: God granted Solomon’s desire, a desire that could only be granted by Him, a desire that greatly pleased the Lord.
- It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing, (1 Kings 3:10).
- God said to Solomon, “Because you had this in mind… (1:11).
- He Asks Us to Ask selflessly: What Solomon asked of God reflected a heart dedicated to God’s calling rather than his own personal comfort or concerns. And God’s answer far surpassed Solomon’s selfless request.
- God said to Solomon, “Because you had this in mind, and did not ask for riches, wealth or honor, or the life of those who hate you, nor have you even asked for long life, but you have asked for yourself wisdom and knowledge that you may rule My people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge have been granted to you. And I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you has possessed nor those who will come after you,” (1:11-12).
- 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, 12 behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you,” (1 Kings 3:11-12).
- He Asks Us to Ask for that which reveals His glory: God’s answer actually endowed Solomon with His very desire for His chosen leader and His chosen people: to be led by His wisdom, discernment and justice. In 1 Kings 3:17-29, we can read of the event that confirmed Solomon’s wisdom in his administration of justice (between the two women who claimed the living child as their own); and the entire nation saw God’s glory revealed through His perfect provision.
- When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice, (1 Kings 3:28).
How do we respond to Him Who Asks Us to Ask?
- Ask on the basis of His Covenant: God hears and grants our requests when we come in faith and dependence on His declared and decided promises maintained through His Covenant as accomplished by His Son. We can come boldly with our requests when we rely on His New Covenant promises, on what Jesus has accomplished on our behalf.
- “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it,” (John 14:13).
- Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God… 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:14, 16).
- Ask in faith and humility: God hears our prayers as we approach Him in humility and faith, realizing our complete inability to do anything except by His great grace and strength.
- “Then he said to me, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words,’” (Daniel 10:12).
- “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 18:3).
- I can do all things through Him who strengthens me, (Philippians 4:13).
- Ask for all we need: We can be fearlessly confident He will graciously supply our needs, for He has promised us in His Word. And even in the times when we are unsure of exactly what to ask, we can trust His provision, even for our asking. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God, (Romans 8:26-27),
- And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 4:19).
- Ask for that which will accomplish His will: God invites us to experience and enjoy His Presence. As we commune with Him daily, He works to transform our hearts’ desires into His. The more we desire Him, the more we desire His will.
- Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart, (Psalm 37:4).
- And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:2).
- Delight yourself in the Lord;
- Ask, that we would please Him: Given the opportunity to have any wish granted, Solomon desired the Lord’s will above his own. In reality, God gives us the same opportunity, and in essence says, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.” The amazing thing is we can even bring Him pleasure in our petitions! Asking in faith, with absolute assurance in His faithfulness, pleases Him.
- And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him, (Hebrews 11:6).
- Ask selflessly: Solomon brought God glory as his request put God’s people above his own desires. And God answered beyond Solomon’s wildest dreams and expectations!
- God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself… 13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days,” (1 Kings 3:10, 13).
- “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends [emphasis added] if you do what I command you,” (John 15:12-14).
- Ask for that which reveals His glory: Just as Solomon brought God glory as he walked in God’s wisdom, we too bring Him glory as we live to display His wisdom and works through our life calling.
- “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16).
- …whatever you do, do all to the glory of God, (1 Corinthians 10:31).
God Asks Us to Ask Him.
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me,” (Psalm 50:15).
And perhaps the greatest emphasis we might consider in our own response to Him during these days of trouble, is that we truly learn from young Solomon to grow in our ability and commitment to Ask selflessly.
Oh that we would call on Him Who Asks Us to Ask, that we might Ask selflessly: for leaders so in need of His wisdom and direction for our world, our nation, our states and local communities; for our health care workers in need of His strength, endurance and protection; for all essential workers who need His safekeeping and patience in serving their communities; for business owners in need of His wisdom for critical decisions; for unemployed workers in need of means for their livelihood; for those who have been affected physically by this virus – the sick in need of His healing and the mourners in need of His comfort; for the lonely in need of His relief; for the despondent in need of His hope.
Oh that we would learn to pray selflessly, to pray for the needs of the people. Not to mention that the Lord desires so much more for us than we even desire for ourselves. Let us wholeheartedly place our faith in Him Who Asks Us to Ask, knowing He answers, even beyond what we could ever imagine!
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, (Hebrews 11:1).
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen, (Ephesians 3:20-21).