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by Patricia Charlton
1/30/2008 / Leadership
How would you respond to a challenging question with far reaching implications? If your knew beforehand, the person's qualifications and authority dictated the granting of any reasonable request, what was your response? Would your circumstances influence your answer? Perhaps! Would you ask for wealth or power? Maybe! During that decision time, the world will tell you to trust your inner self or throw caution to the wind. But, do not throw caution to the wind! Some were challenged by this profound question and answered wisely. Today, I faced such a challenging question: "If you could have three wishes, what would you ask for?" No, there was no Jeanie in a bottle or Aladdin's lamp but God's Holy Spirit asking the question. How would I answer?
This is not a fantasy situation but a reality for Solomon. He was in the process of becoming King of Israel and was overwhelmed by the responsibilities. Ruling the throne after King David was a tough act to follow. The Bible explained Solomon's situation this way: "And now here I am: God, my God, you have made me, your servant, ruler of the kingdom in place of David my father. I'm too young for this, a mere child! I don't know the ropes, hardly know the 'ins' and 'outs' of this job. And here I am, set down in the middle of the people you've chosen, a great people far too many to ever count." (I Kings 3: 7, 8 The Message) What a perfect situation to be asked a challenging question!
Solomon was asked this question: "That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, 'What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!" (I Kings 3: 5 NLT) The world was his for the asking! He maybe tempted to ask for wealth, power and a healthy life. But, how would Solomon answer? I faced the same challenge that Solomon faced. Circumstances often overwhelm me. Often I feel inadequate for the tasks ahead. Would I be tempted to ask for relief? Would Solomon ask for relief from this situation? Solomon responded: "Here's what I want: give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people?" (I Kings 3: 9 The Message) God was pleased with Solomon's answer! What was God's answer? "Because you have asked for this and haven't grasped after a long life, or riches, or the doom of your enemies, but you have asked for the ability to lead and govern well. I'll give you what you're asked for I'm giving you a wise and mature heart." (I Kings 3: 11 The Message)
What a challenge to my soul! Would my three wishes include a God-listening heart, discernment and the ability to challenge others? It all depends on this one fact that God will often grant more than our wise requests. Before answering any challenging question, I remembered that God is not a Jeanie in a bottle or a granter of foolish wishes. Solomon sincerely and wisely asked and gained all. Would I gain everything by wisely answering the question for three wishes? God said to Solomon, "As a bonus, I'm giving you both the wealth and glory you didn't ask for there's not a king anywhere who will come up to your mark. And if you stay on course, keeping your eye on the life-map and the God-signs as your father David did, I'll also give you a long life." (I Kings 3: 13, 14 The Message) Because I answered wisely the request for discernment, a tender heart and an ability to challenge others, God has granted to me a rich and rewarding life. I gained everything by answering wisely the request for three wishes!
Copyright 2005 Patricia Charlton
Devotional writer for EzraWeb and a contributing columnist for Crossmap, Patricia shares her experiences with the power of God to make anyone more than a conqueror. Her passion is Jesus and her venue is writing. Contact Patricia: [email protected]
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