At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but 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 many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. (1 Kings 3:5-10 ESV)
I have heard debates as to whether or not this was the best request that Solomon could have made. Some would argue that he should have asked for a true heart since later in life it was turned away from the Lord. I suppose there is a point to be made of that. But it is hard to argue with this request. The Lord endorses it after all. It is a request for wisdom, defined as being able to “discern between good and evil.” The intent is to gain an “understanding mind” so that Solomon might be able to govern the Lord’s people. Wisdom is something we should all request from the Lord that we too might discern what is good from what is evil. This is not just in the choices that revolve around our spare time such as, “should I watch this show or do this with my friends?” but how should I invest my time and to what end? Solomon shows the intent, which is to exercise this wisdom for the sake of God’s kingdom. He had a specific role to fill, but do does every believer so why not ask for wisdom to fulfill your role? It pleases the Lord for you to do so. We must remember, however, that it is not for ourselves that we ask. We must be ready to expend ourselves for the sake of God’s kingdom. With God’s gifts comes responsibility. The parable of the talents is a great example of this.