If the all-powerful deity told offered you anything you asked for… what do you ask for?
That’s the scenario in which Solomon finds himself.
It’s important to note not only what Solomon asked for but why. Because perhaps it’s the motivation rather than the substance that inspires God’s generosity.
He doesn’t ask for wisdom so he can be the smartest man alive. He asks for wisdom for the sake of his community. He asks for wisdom for the sake of his people. He recognizes these are God’s people and they deserve a good king because they are God’s people.
Notice, too, what it is specifically that Solomon asks for. It’s not “wisdom.” He asks for an “understanding heart.” The Hebrew is literally a “listening heart.”
A heart that listens… maybe that’s what wisdom is.
What then follows is a story that illustrates what Solomon’s “listening heart” looks like as he mediates an argument between two women.
In Mark’s gospel, we see two scenarios where Jesus asks someone, “What do you want me to do for you?” They occur in back-to-back stories, which should give us hint that there’s a connection between the two. In the first, two disciples ask for places of influence. In the second, a blind man asks to see. One is a request for power that is not given. The other is a request for healing that is given.
A thousand years after Solomon, one of the first Christian pastors James would encourage his flock, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” Maybe he has Solomon in the back of his mind.
And do you notice the end result in verse 28? All the people notice and are in awe. When Solomon puts his wisdom in practice, he “does justice,” which is one of the things God wants his people to do in Micah 6:8.
Question: What do you want God to do for you today?