1 June 2016

1 Kings 3:4-15

“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, ‘Ask what I should give you.’” (v. 5)

Psalm: Psalm 93


Have you ever been given a blank cheque? Or have you ever played that game where you decide what you would do if you won the lottery? Solomon has this very experience when in a dream God tells him to ask for anything and he would be given it (verse 5). He could have asked for anything, wealth, riches a long life but instead he chooses something much more worthy in God's eyes.

Before making his request Solomon first acknowledges all that has done not for him but for his father David (verse 6). He then remarks on God's continued blessing to David by making him king even though he is "only a little child" who does not know how to carry out his duties (verse 7). It is because of this inexperience that Solomon does not choose the riches of the world as his gift. Instead he requests a discerning heart and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong so that he can adequately govern the nation (verse 9).

Often we hear this as a request for wisdom, but it may be that this is a step too far. To know something is right or wrong is one thing, to act correctly on that knowledge is to be truly wise. There are times when Solomon is most definitely wise and uses his gift of discernment to best govern his people (1 Kings 3:16-28). There are also times when despite his gift of knowledge he chooses to do that which he knows is wrong (1 Kings 11:1-13).

Maybe it is because of the burden this request would bring to Solomon that God rewards him with those things he did not ask for. To live a life knowing the difference between what is good and what is evil has always come with a high price (Genesis 2:17).

Solomon awakes and immediately begins to change his ways in light of God's newly given gift. In the opening verse we are told that he is offering sacrifices at one of the high places at Gibeon (verse 4). He then returns to Jerusalem and to the tent of meeting where the ark of the Lord's covenant resides, and offers sacrifices in the place where God would always meet with people.

To Ponder

  • What would you ask for if God appeared to you as God did to Solomon?
  • What are the gifts that you feel God has given you?

Bible notes author

The Revd David Wynd

David Wynd is a Methodist presbyter in the North Shields and Whitley Bay Circuit. He leads Cullercoats Methodist Church and is involved in a circuit project called Network.