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?”
Without a doubt, this is one of the most remarkable passages in all of the Old Testament. The tale of Aladdin’s lamp pales in comparison! Here, the true and living God, the Creator of heaven and earth, stoops down and offers Solomon anything that his heart might have desired.
Solomon’s request for wisdom was certainly admirable, but it is even more important to note that he understood that the wisdom he needed to navigate life was from God. Apart from God’s provision, a blessed life would be unknowable —a point consistently reiterated in the wisdom literature of both the Old and New Testaments (cf. Prov. 2:6; James 1:5). Solomon’s request for wisdom embodied the important kingdom ethic that Jesus would later set before his disciples: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). And so it was. Solomon’s request was kingdom-centered, and God added to it (1 Kings 3:13–14).
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this account is Solomon’s description of what motivated his request for wisdom: the “steadfast love” of the Lord (twice in1 Kings 3:6). Solomon’s humble request for wisdom was grounded in the reality that he had already received the greatest treasure in life—the steadfast love of his covenant Lord. Those who seek first the kingdom of God are those who first realize that they have been made members of that kingdom by God’s grace. The same steadfast love of the Lord that Solomon experienced some three thousand years ago has been made ours, all through the work of the human embodiment of this steadfast love: Jesus Christ.
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.