It wasn’t because he was rich. It wasn’t even because he is a famous king from Scripture. It has everything to do with how he responded when God said, “What do you want?”
Solomon just got done offering 1000 burnt offerings (that is a lot no matter how you picture it). In the midst of this worshipful experience, Solomon encountered God in a different way.
That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “Ask whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” (2 Chronicles 1:7)
I think there is a part of us that wish God would ask this question. Whether we hope He will ask this or not, we typically pray in a way that answers the question. Right? Our prayers are often centered on what we want for ourselves, how God can make us happier in this lifetime, or what we think God should be doing in our lives as opposed to what He is actually doing. Our prayers are often geared toward answering the question from God (whether it is asked or not).
Fortunately for Solomon, the question was actually posed to him…so he answered:
“You showed so much kindness to my father David,” Solomon replied to God,”and you have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be fulfilled because you have made me king over a people as numerous as the earth’s dust. Give me wisdom and knowledge so I can lead this people, because no one can govern this great people of yours without your help.” (2 Chronicles 1:8-10)
Seriously? Wisdom and knowledge so you can lead the people? It sounds a bit…well…opposite of the kinds of things we tend to pray for. Rather than ask for riches and fame, Solomon asks that God equip him to care for and lead God’s people. Very selfless. Very noble. And…very irritating. Jealousy would be a good word to describe my initial reactions to this.
But when I take some time to think about it, I am not jealous of Solomon as much as I really desire to be in the place that he is. To ask of such a thing when it seems that God is ready to grant any request is a testimony to the heart of the man. He is willing to forego fame, fortune, riches, and adoration…in order that God’s promises to the nation be fulfilled.
As we grow in our faith…we begin to see a picture of the person we want to be in Christ. It takes time. It takes discipline. It takes commitment. I wish so badly to be able to snap my fingers and be the person that I know Christ has laid down a path for me to become. But, there is no easy button for this. There is no switch to flip. Which means we have to be diligent about feeding on the Word of God. We have to be fervent in our prayer life. We must be willing to die to ourselves each and every day so that Christ may life in us and through us. And…over time…we will begin to be more like Solomon. Placing the good of the Kingdom before our own desires.
I hope that if I was in his shoes I would have responded the same way. I hope that you would respond that way too. But…for now…I will commit to doing all I can to grow in Christ so that…if it happens like it did for Solomon…I will be ready with the answer God desires. Not because it is the answer He desires…but because it is the answer that is birthed from my heart. A heart that is immersed in Christ.
If you were in Solomon’s shoes…how would you respond?
What spiritual practices do you need to attend to to ensure that you grow with Christ today?