Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Publishes on Sundays.
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
1 Kings 3:5-7 (NIV)
Imagine being the newly minted King. King Solomon, was offered as it were, “a wish of a lifetime”. Solomon could have asked for anything, instead he asked for a discerning heart. What would you ask for? And what would that be?
If you were given a blank cheque, what would you do? That’s how Solomon’s reality was, as if he was presented a “blank cheque equivalent” when he took over from his father, King David. What would you ask for, if you could ask God for anything? What would that be?
For you and I, we may sometimes daydream about that question, but for Solomon it was reality. You see, when he became king after the death of his father, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5, NKJV).
Solomon could have requested anything, literally anything! He could have asked for material & earthly riches, absolute power, world domination, victory over his enemies, or whatever he liked. But guess what Solomon asked instead? Solomon asked for discernment:
Scripture concluded, “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.” (1 Kings 3:10).
Moreover, the Lord told Solomon in 1 Kings 3:11-14:
So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”
1 Kings 3:11-14 (NKJV)
Notice that God commended Solomon because his request was completely unselfish: “since you have asked this thing and not for ... yourself...” Selfishness is incompatible with true discernment. People who desire to be discerning must be willing to step outside themselves.
If we are not careful, enamoured with psychology, high self-esteem and pre-eminence, this produces a generation of believers so self-absorbed, that we cannot be discerning. We aren’t even interested in discernment. Our spiritual focus is on self and getting our own “felt needs” met.
Solomon did not do that. Although he had an opportunity to ask for long life, wealth, prosperity, health and personal competitive edge, he bypassed all of that and asked for discernment instead. Therefore, God also gave him riches, honour, and long life for as long as he walked in the ways of the Lord.
In the same way, the book of James chapter 1 and in verse 5, promises us this, that God is still eager to provide us with the discernment we so desperately need: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him”. We can ask Him for discernment, and He will gladly supply it.
Dear heavenly Father, gracious and merciful God, we are convicted in our hearts that at times we have been too self-absorbed.
We repent and ask for Your forgiveness O Lord. May we learn from King Solomon, to ask for wisdom which is far greater than all the fame and fortune this world can possibly offer. Transform our hearts O Lord, that we seek discernment instead. Lord, we acknowledge that You are the only source and supply of all discernment. Thank You for being so patient with us.
We ask all these in Jesus precious and mighty name, AMEN!
Andrew Chua is Zone Leader at PJ North 1.
Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional that follows DUMC's Bible Reading Plan. Posts on Sundays.