If you had three wishes for anything in the world, what would they be? Would you choose fame and fortune, perhaps pleasure, or a long life? The “genie in a bottle” scenario that we occasionally fantasize about is appealing. The fun is found in thinking through what we would really ask for. God’s question to Solomon was similar: “Ask. What should I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5). Omnipotent, almighty God offered a blank check. Nothing was beyond His power or ability to supply.
What would you ask for?
The potent self-awareness of Solomon stands out to me. Instead of asking for wealth, long life, glory, power, or domination over his enemies, he asks for wisdom and understanding. He perceives his youthfulness as well as his position of responsibility, and so he asks for the practical discernment of wisdom to lead the people of God well. Most men I know would hardly make the same request if given the opportunity.
Solomon, in these moments, stands as a helpful model for how we think and live. The choices we make have tremendous impact on our lives and on the lives of others. So are we choosing the best things?
Even our small, seemingly inconsequential choices in everyday life are requests in some way. Our decisions reveal what we really value and see as a means to the good life. The route we take in day-to-day life shows what we believe about how we should get there. Will we choose the better things, like wisdom, faith, humility, patience, love, and mercy—or the immediate things, like money, power, and personal pleasure?
When we choose to pursue and ask for the greater things, we find the grace of God moving to meet us in them. Solomon’s noble request for wisdom is met with God’s generous response: “I will therefore do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you before and never will be again” (1 Kings 3:12).
This kind of gracious blessing is available for us today. As unique as Solomon’s story is, the wisdom God gave him is also available to us. First, in Christ, who is the wisdom of God, we have access to the fullness of God’s wisdom and understanding. Jesus is the greater Solomon, who reveals to us the wisdom of God. Second, all wisdom leads to glorifying God in all of life. Just as Solomon led Israel in worshiping God, so our wise actions lead us to lift up and exalt Him in all things.
Finally, wisdom displays itself in our actions. The gift of God’s wisdom is “pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense” (James 3:17). Let us ask for and pursue His wisdom today.
Written by Jeremy Writebol