Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? — 1 Kings 3:9
My childhood friends and I used to talk about wishes. We would ask, “What would you wish for if you had three wishes?” Sometimes we would even ask, “What would you ask for if you had only one wish?” It is amusing to look back on those conversations. Our responses then might have been that we wanted all the ice cream we could eat; or when we were a little older, to be attractive, popular, or talented. And there is always money! That can so easily come to mind at any age. As adults, perhaps health, freedom, happiness, or other benefits that we can so easily take for granted might be mentioned.
How many people desire wisdom? This is an attitude that is easily overlooked. Yet God’s Word plainly declares that He will answer if in faith we ask Him for wisdom. He also lets us know the importance of asking with the proper motive, and putting others rather than ourselves at the center of our desires.
We read that Solomon loved the Lord. He desired to worship God, and did so. He wanted to please God, and he prayed a prayer that did just that. Solomon was extremely aware of his own inabilities. Seeing the task before him, he realized his great need of God, and focused on this rather than on the prestige of being king. Solomon illustrated for us the proper formula for asking of God.
True wisdom is beyond good logic; it is a godly insight. It can seem like a lofty and unreachable goal, but God’s Word admonishes us to seek for it. This wisdom cannot come from man. We must desire and request it straight from God himself.
As children, we might have wondered how to cover everything with only one wish. Yet we find that Solomon’s request did exactly that. He asked for the one thing that would help him lead God’s people and he left all else up to God.
Let us purpose to sincerely ask God to give us His wisdom for this day.
Solomon’s marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter was a political move with the intent of promoting a diplomatic alliance. Historical records show that at this time the Pharaohs did not ordinarily allow their daughters to marry into another nation, so this marriage indicated that Egypt was a weak country and that Israel was strong.
History indicates that man has always felt worship to any kind of god should take place in the heights, thus many of the “high places” were places of idol worship and ungodly rituals. High places was the Canaanite term for elevated platforms on which their idolatrous objects were placed and worshiped.
Before the Temple was constructed, Israel worshiped God in some of these areas, including Gibeon (modern El-Jib, located about six miles northwest of Jerusalem). The Tabernacle and brazen altar were located in Gibeon at this time (2 Chronicles 1:3-6), so Solomon made burnt offerings there. Later Solomon went to Jerusalem and offered before the ark, which was housed in a tent that David had made for it (2 Samuel 6:12-17).
When God told Solomon, “Ask what I shall give thee,” Solomon’s response showed humility and his awareness of his youth and lack of experience. Bible commentators think Solomon was about twenty years old when he had this experience with God. The phrase, “an understanding heart” means a hearing heart, and indicated Solomon’s desire to obey God.
Solomon’s wisdom was quickly put to the test. The account of the two harlots indicates that Solomon served all the people of his kingdom. His wise judgment in the matter convinced the Israelites that he had God-given wisdom for the administration of justice.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reign of Solomon
C. The wisdom of Solomon (3:1-28)
1. The political marriage of Solomon (3:1)
2. The choice of wisdom by Solomon (3:2-28)
a. The setting (3:2-3)
b. The request for wisdom (3:4-9)
c. The gift of wisdom (3:10-15)
d. The demonstration of wisdom (3:16-28)
(1) The complaint of the harlots (3:16-22)
(2) The solution to the controversy (3:23-28)
When asking God, we can easily aim too low. God would have us aim for the center of the target by asking for wisdom.