Published February 23, 2010

Paul's Epistle...
"What Do You Want?"

If God were to offer to give you any one thing that you want, what would be that one thing that you would ask for?

Wow. What a question. There are so many things that spring to mind. Health. Strength. Long life. Safety. Even "our daily bread." Those are things we want for ourselves and certainly our families.

Scripture tells us the Lord actually made such an offer to Solomon. In 1st Kings 3:5, the Lord said to Solomon, "Ask! What shall I give you?"

Solomon had just become king of Israel after his father, David, and was feeling overwhelmed by the task. "You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore, give to Your servant an understanding heart..."

Solomon had a specific problem in mind – the task before him. But there are so many things in this world that each of us doesn't understand. Wouldn't it be great to be given an "understanding heart?"

But Solomon's request became more specific – he gave a reason why he wanted this understanding heart: "...that I may discern between good and evil" (v. 9). We should pray for this, too. We need to know the difference between good and evil. And, despite what secular society says today, there IS right and there IS wrong. Right and wrong – good and evil – are not relative, they are absolutes. Scripture – and the Holy Spirit's guidance – affirm this. We need to "rightly divide" the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).

What was God's response to Solomon's request?

Verse 10 tells us Solomon's request "pleased the Lord." And God told him, "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days..." (Vs. 11-14).

Isn't that just like God? He really does want only the best for you. But He especially loves it when we ask wisely and in accord with His desires for us. And, yes, when we please Him, He will give us far more than we asked, "according to His riches in glory" (Philippians 4:19). He gives us such gifts so that we may live life "more abundantly" (John 10:10). But all of the honor and all of the glory necessarily revert to Him for all He has done.

Are your desires the Lord's desires? Or, to say it the other way around, are the Lord's desires your desires? Jesus told His disciples – and, by extension, us – to ask for what we truly want: "Ask, and it will be given to you... For everyone who asks receives... How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matt. 7: 1-11). But those things for which we ask should always be pleasing to the Lord.

Lord, we acknowledge that Your understanding is far greater than ours and that you want only the best for us. So help us to know what to ask for when we pray. Open our minds and our hearts to receive the understanding you alone can provide. And help us to remember always that it, just like every good thing that we have, comes from You – and we give You all the thanks, honor and glory for it. Amen.

- Paul

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