1 Kings: 9-12 (NRSVA)
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’ 6 And Solomon said, ‘You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart towards you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’
10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.
I suspect there isn’t a child in the world, when they first hear tales of genies who grant three wishes, who doesn’t at some point suggest that the third wish should be for more wishes. It sometimes seems we are hardwired to want more. If something is good — like chocolate — then more of it is better, right? Unfortunately the things we crave are often not the things which really do make us feel healthier, or happier.
Solomon was smart enough to know that the things he might crave — like long life or riches or victory over his enemies — weren’t actually what he needed. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that Solomon was wise rather than smart. There’s a neat irony in Solomon’s request, because surely only a wise and discerning man would understand the importance of wisdom and discernment, and recognise his own need for it. God’s gift, in some ways, is an affirmation of Solomon’s natural potential. As he grants this gift he also affirm’s Solomon’s uniqueness.
As we all face a future in which our plans feel very uncertain, the need for wisdom and discernment is ever more important. What untapped potential might God be waiting for you to recognise so that he might bless it?
Lord, I wish I could see what you see
The potential in me just waiting to be unlocked.
All I see is what is lacking.
Where I am failing,
how much still needs to be done,
how inadequate I am for the tasks ahead.
I wish I knew what you know,
how it all ends, what my life looks like,
whole and entire in your gaze.
I wish it was easier to trust you with my vulnerability and uncertainty
I wish I didn’t crave things that don’t matter — like success, or wealth, or popularity, or good looks.
I wish I was wise enough to wish for the right things.
Take my wishes Lord and make them yours.