“Now, O LORD my God, 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 to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
I am sure that anyone who has seen the movie remembers the scene. Little Charlie has collected some money from his paper route, and he has to decide what to do with it. Mom works her fingers to the bone taking care of the family, which includes Charlie and both sets of grandparents. What Charlie does when he gets his money is he buys things for everyone in the home. These are not necessities but things he knows they will enjoy. It is perhaps the first moment in the film when we see what is in the heart of that child. Having worked for a small sum and finally being able to buy something he could not have previously, he instead takes his hard-earned money and uses it to bless others.
The Lord offered Solomon a gift which came with no conditions. The man simply had to tell God what he wanted, and it would be his. He could have asked for riches or power. He could have asked for any number of things to benefit himself or make him greater among Israel. He thought for a moment or two and then responded like someone who knew what was in God’s heart. Solomon saw how little he brought to the table, and he prayed for God to equip him to lead Israel correctly. His request for wisdom was not about himself. He wanted to be able to rule the nation wisely and keep them from their previous idolatry, and God found pleasure in a man who requested what was his will.
The irony here is that Solomon’s request for wisdom was itself a wise act. Any fool could have asked for whatever his flesh wanted. If this was a test, it was not for God’s benefit. The Lord already knew what was in Solomon’s heart. It was Solomon who would learn what was inside himself by how he responded to God’s great offer. If God told us today that He would give us whatever we wanted, what would we request? The hope is that our request would be in line with God’s will, that we would have the discernment to know what will please him. Father, give us the wisdom and selflessness of Solomon, that we would seek after your will and not the vanities of this life.