So Give Your Servant a Discerning Heart

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?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 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 3:9-14

You get one wish. You can have anything in the world that you want. What are you asking for? I think a lot of us would say wisdom, some would say wealth while others would say a long healthy life. As I study Scripture, I have become increasingly convinced that all three of these without the Lord are meaningless.

If we pursue any of these before seeking to honor the Lord then our lives are like a match. It burns bright only for a moment and then it’s gone. In this passage, we see that Solomon was already king. He lived in a grandiose palace and ruled the thriving nation of Israel. He was the commander and king of both servants and citizens. 1 Kings 3:4 says that Solomon went up to the high places and made 1,000 sacrifices to God. With a heart of humility and gratitude, he gave praise to God. Then he did something that changed the course of his life. He prayed and asked God for two things – a discerning heart to govern the people and the ability to choose between right and wrong!

He didn’t pray for wealth or greater prosperity. He didn’t pray for a break. He didn’t pray for rest or a long life. Solomon prayed for guidance on how to manage what he already had! This is important!  He just wanted to be faithful with what he had already been given.

Now I know what you’re thinking “Yeah, Solomon was doing well and already had enough. It must have been easy to pray that prayer.”  Yes, but Solomon wrote multiple times that the flesh is never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20 & Ecclesiastes 5:10). So if that’s the case, Solomon would have asked for more or he would have asked that God protect what he had. So what happened?

Because his request was right in God’s eyes and he didn’t ask for wealth or long life, God gave more. God chose to bless immensely. God gave him a discerning heart, and wealth and honor.

But one last item. God then went on to say, “if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands I will give you a long life (v. 14)! In other words, if you continue to honor me, I will give you both health and a long life. Solomon was marked. He had a purpose and role to play. His calling was to seek the Lord in both thought and action. God is in the business of always keeping His Word and was ready and willing to establish Solomon as a beacon of light glowing for the glory of God.

Men, we all wish certain things for our lives. Some of us want a long healthy life; some a good family, some successful businesses, and some even fame. But what if we thanked God for what we have? What if, like young Solomon, we simply ask for a discerning heart so we can do well in our current circumstances? And if we truly seek God and honor Him, he may choose to bless us beyond measure. Have a great week.

Steve Thomas, RTM


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