Ask GOD for ‘WISDOM’ before ANYTHING ELSE: On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, "Ask! What shall I give you?" And Solomon said to God: "You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place. Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?" (2 Chron. 1:7-10)
Solomon was only twenty years old when he assumed complete leadership as the king of Israel. Among all the sons of King David, Solomon was God’s choice to succeed him on the throne of Israel (see 1 Chron. 28:5) and build His temple in Jerusalem (v. 6), which was David’s unfulfilled dream. However, even before King David could nominate and install Solomon as his successor, David’s firstborn Adonijah made a preemptive move to take over the throne (1 Kings 1:5-10), which was quickly thwarted by the wise moves of Nathan, the prophet, and Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon (1 Kings 1:11-40).
Now, as a young man with the mantle of leadership, Solomon was fully aware of his limitations and his need for divine guidance. So, without wasting any time, he made a pilgrimage to Gibeon, which was the site of the tabernacle of Moses where he offered a thousand burnt offerings to God to show his profound devotion. That very night, God revealed Himself to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he most desired (v. 7; 1 Kings 3:5). Solomon’s request for wisdom and knowledge was so much pleasing to God that He gave him unparalleled wealth, fame and honor as added perks.
Let us understand that wisdom was highly desired by kings in the ancient Near East (see Prov. 20:26; 21:1–3), as one of the principal functions of the Israelite ruler was to provide justice to the people (see 2 Sam. 14:4–8). Even though King Solomon’s hands were filled with sacrifices to worship God, his ears were open to God’s Word, and his heart was devoted to serve God. His great desire was to be able to serve his people with wisdom, and so he asked God for wisdom and knowledge to make him a better ruler and judge of the people of Israel (v. 10). God answered his prayer by making him wiser than any other ruler before or after him (v. 12; 9:22; 1 Kings 4:29–34). In fact, God granted his desire by making him the wisest man ever to live on this earth (except our Lord Jesus Christ who was greater than Solomon, Matt. 12:42b).
Today, as part of the "royal priesthood" of God (1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:10), we should also ask for ‘wisdom’ from God before anything else. This ‘wisdom’ is mentioned in the book of Proverbs more than 40 times, and in the book of Ecclesiastes about 27 times. The word ‘wisdom’ comes from the Hebrew root word ‘chokmah’ that means ‘the skill of living’. This ‘wisdom’ has a practical overtone, and gives ability to a person to know how to live in a responsible, productive, and practical way. It is God’s truth applied into day-to-day situations in life, especially those involving moral choices and other decisions that affect the future.
In a sense, God appears to us today, and encourages us to ask for wisdom, seek for wisdom and knock on His door for wisdom (Matt. 7:7-8). Let us remember that what we want in our lives largely determine what we receive from God. God offers to impart His wisdom to any of His people who asks for it. When we receive this practical wisdom, we will know how to live responsibly in a way that pleases God. Let’s be confident that God will honor us when we ask for wisdom before anything else, and when we depend upon this wisdom to carry out the work that He has assigned us to do on this earth.