If God Asked Me What I Want…
This morning, I was more tired than motivated, but I dug deep and found a spare bottle of discipline somewhere in the corner of my mind. I dusted it off and chugged it down – that stuff tastes awful! (like most things that are good for us – go figure) Anyhow, let’s just say that doing my morning devotion didn’t start out from the best possible attitude. Something that I’ve seen so many times though, is that when we make the right choice with the right motive, even when we don’t necessarily want to, the right emotions and right attitude will begin to emerge from some place mysterious inside of us as a result.
What I read this morning though in 1 Kings 3 was the story of a man by the name of Solomon stepping into his new role as king of Israel. Among the many good choices that Solomon made during his lifetime, was the decision to seek God as one of the first recorded acts during his reign. He offered a thousand sacrifices to the Lord. That night, it says that God appeared to him in a dream. Apparently God pays attention when we put our best efforts into getting His attention. In the dream, God asked Solomon one question. He asked, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (actually – if you notice, God told him to ask. It was a statement / command, and not a question, but that’s another topic)
Imagine this for a minute. God basically handed Solomon His personal debit card and said, “Here, go knock yourself out. Get whatever you’d like.” Truthfully, think for a minute of all you might ask for. I’m thinking of a killer house I saw online the other day with a bedroom that consisted of white and blue tile from floor to ceiling and an beautiful bedroom set right in the middle. Oh, and it was basically an island because the rest of the room was a swimming pool!!!!! Hello! A swimming pool bedroom?!? Who has that? Maybe the crib and possessions wouldn’t entice you, but possibly position and power would. Maybe I’d like to be the top dog in my circle. Maybe I’d ask to be ‘The Man’ in my company. Maybe I would like to be the new king in my own little country. Heck, since it’s God who’s asking, maybe I’d like to be king of the whole earth.
I suppose that each of us would have our own little wish list, but I want to show you what Solomon asked for and what God’s response was. Solomon says to God, “And now here I am: God, my God, you have made me, your servant, ruler of the kingdom in place of David my father. I’m too young for this, a mere child! I don’t know the ropes, hardly know the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of this job. And here I am, set down in the middle of the people you’ve chosen, a great people—far too many to ever count. Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?”
Of all the things that he could ask for, he asks for a God-listening heart and discernment so that he could be a good leader. Truthfully, part of me is so drawn to this story because I don’t think I’m alone in my desire to simply be led by people who aren’t looking for what they can get out of the position, but rather what they can give. If you’ve been involved in church for very long, then you probably know what it’s like to serve under a leader who’s greatest desire is just to please God and make life better for His people. Unfortunately, the flip side to the coin, is that too many people have encountered leaders who’s greatest desire is for what they can get out of it. For some it’s power, for others it’s money, and for some, they just think it makes them a little more appealing to the opposite sex. (just keepin’ it real) But Solomon, in this amazing act of selflessness, essentially hands the checkbook back to God and says, “I’m not looking for what I can get out of this, I just want to do what’s best for Your people.”
If the story ended there, that would be cool enough. An awesome leader with a great heart for the people he’s leading. But check out God’s response, verses 10-14: God, the Master, was delighted with Solomon’s response. And God said to him, “Because you have asked for this and haven’t grasped after a long life, or riches, or the doom of your enemies, but you have asked for the ability to lead and govern well, I’ll give you what you’ve asked for—I’m giving you a wise and mature heart. There’s never been one like you before; and there’ll be no one after. As a bonus, I’m giving you both the wealth and glory you didn’t ask for—there’s not a king anywhere who will come up to your mark. And if you stay on course, keeping your eye on the life-map and the God-signs as your father David did, I’ll also give you a long life.”
First, it says that God was delighted. How much awesomeness does that single statement contain? Have you ever imagined that asking God for something would cause Him to be delighted. In my mind, I can almost imagine God approaching Solomon with a stoic demeanor and asking him what he wants, but when he hears Solomon’s response He suddenly perks up and does a little dance and gets all kinds of happy. Seriously. He was delighted! Next, He says that since you didn’t ask for all the self serving things, I’m going to give you what you asked for. The New Testament says that we don’t receive what we pray for because we ask incorrectly so that we can just get more for ourselves. When we ask God for the right things, with the right motives, God answers. If you’re not getting the answer, check your question, and then check your motives.
Finally, God does the extraordinary for Solomon. He says that because his heart was in the right place, He was going to give him everything he hadn’t asked for too. Jesus says in Matthew that if we seek first His kingdom, that all the other things we’re not seeking will be added to us. I really love God’s style.
~Father, today help my motives. Help me to not get hung up with asking you for the things that serve only myself. Help me to look at the big picture and ask for those things that will help me to serve you and the people you love. You’re my best friend. Your wisdom is mind blowing. Thank you, and I love you!