WHATEVER YOU WANT
Lord, my delight is in You!
Read 2 CHRONICLES 1:1–17
Solomon Asks for Wisdom
1 Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.
2 Then Solomon spoke to all Israel—to the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, to the judges and to all the leaders in Israel, the heads of families— 3 and Solomon and the whole assembly went to the high place at Gibeon, for God’s tent of meeting was there, which Moses the Lord’s servant had made in the wilderness. 4 Now David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim to the place he had prepared for it, because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. 5 But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made was in Gibeon in front of the tabernacle of the Lord; so Solomon and the assembly inquired of him there. 6 Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the Lord in the tent of meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”
13 Then Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place at Gibeon, from before the tent of meeting. And he reigned over Israel.
14 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses,[a] which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 15 The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 16 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue[b]—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. 17 They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels[c] of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty.[d] They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.
a 2 Chronicles 1:14 Or charioteed rs
b 2 Chronicles 1:16 Probably Cilicia
c 2 Chronicles 1:17 That is, about 15 pounds or about 6.9 kilograms
d 2 Chronicles 1:17 That is, about 3 3/4 pounds or about 1.7 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
What is your biggest need or greatest desire today? Spend time talking with God about it.
Even though Solomon knows this day is coming, it must feel strange. For forty years David has been a larger-than-life presence in Israel. Now suddenly everyone is looking to his unproven son for direction. Have you ever become the new leader of an important project, perhaps in your church, job, or extended family? Such experiences often lead to either healthy personal growth or discouraging setbacks. What makes the difference?
Solomon rises to his challenge for two reasons. First, he understands the importance of public spiritual leadership. His first move is to take “all Israel” to a symbolic place, Gibeon, the location of “God’s tent of meeting” (2,3). Once there, he worships with an extravagant sacrifice and, more significantly, he enquires of the Lord (5). Inquiring from God must be the first instinct of a spiritual leader. The second reason lies in what is perhaps the world’s most famous dream. The popular understanding is that “God gave Solomon one wish.” In a sense that’s true, but a careful reading shows that God does not promise to grant the request. Actually, he merely invites Solomon to ask (7). Perhaps God desires to see if Solomon’s effective public leadership is matched by a genuine inner integrity. Alone in his bed with no handlers to script his response, Solomon asks for the one thing he needs most to accomplish his mission from God: wisdom (10).
Our reading ends with what seems like hedonistic overkill (14–17), but we’ve known from the outset the source of Solomon’s success: “the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great” (1). Responding faithfully to God’s initiative is the secret that makes spiritual leaders effective.
How would you answer if God said to you, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (7)? Now, make that the focus of your prayer.
Lord, give me the wisdom of Solomon so that I too may complete my assignment here in a manner pleasing to You.