If God visited you tonight and promised to grant you any request, what would you ask for?
Really, what is your heart’s deepest desire?
King Solomon was given this very opportunity as he took the throne in ancient Israel. He apparently understood the formidable challenge of stepping into the larger-than-life shoes of his father, King David. Perhaps he felt ill equipped. Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge “that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
God seemed pleased with Solomon’s request. He gave Solomon exactly what he had asked for and more. In addition to wisdom and knowledge he also promised “wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after will have.”
God gave Solomon his heart’s desire.
I’ve always thought Solomon’s request was an honorable one that showed appropriate responsibility and humility. He asked for the ability to effectively lead God’s people rather than for his own self-gratification.
This time, however, as I read his request on my yearly way through the Old Testament, God’s reply of “Since this is your heart’s desire…” got me thinking.
How did that work out for Solomon? Was his heart’s desire satisfied?
For the surprising answer to those questions, read Ecclesiastes. Solomon called it all meaningless and a chasing after the wind. I conclude that his wealth, power and wisdom did not ultimately satisfy his heart’s desire.
Solomon had the world, but he had lost the presence of God.
Perhaps Solomon’s desire for his own wisdom and knowledge revealed a misplaced dependence on himself, as if he were a receptacle for God’s gifts to be used according to his desires. Which he did. In defiance of God’s instructions for kings, he married a ridiculous number of women, some for political reasons, and built up an impressive military. Who needs faith in God when you have more wealth, power, women and wisdom than anyone else?
What if Solomon had asked for a deep and abiding relationship with God? What if Solomon had asked to be a conduit for the love, grace, and wisdom of God to flow through him in his leadership, rather than a receptacle for wisdom to be used at his discretion? I suggest that he would still have had a successful reign. He would have had God too.
God is the only One who will satisfy our hearts’ deepest desires.
Do we ask for Him?
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13