If you could ask God for anything – anything at all – what would it be? Good health? More wealth? Would you ask to have a loved one back or maybe to have a redo of a day from long ago? Some might ask to be young again. Others to be retired. Others to work. We might seek power or fame. Or, we might just ask for a vaccine for this virus.
In scripture God approaches Solomon in a dream and says: Ask what I should give you. Imagine that – God approaching you and asking: what do you want? At this point in the Bible Solomon has just been anointed King of Israel, succeeding his father, King David. Solomon feels in over his head. He describes himself as “a little child who does not even know how to go out or come in.” He’s lost and under pressure – in all likelihood scared and stressed. And so, instead of asking for something grand or expected, he answers honestly and humbly. He asks for wisdom.
He does not ask for riches. He does not ask for a long life. He does not ask for a massive army or the universal adoration of his people. He does not ask for his kingdom to be expanded. He does not ask for his enemies to be destroyed. He does not ask for a bigger house or perfect health. He simply hopes that God will give him the wisdom to discern what is right. Wisdom to know what to do next. And God says because you asked for this and not all that other stuff – you got it. Which makes it sound like God wasn’t going to give him just anything he wanted but was eager to provide what God knew he needed.
In Matthew’s gospel Jesus tells his disciples parables about the kingdom of heaven. And in many ways, what he is doing is trying to provide the disciples the same wisdom God provided Solomon… Wisdom to see past the glitter and glam of this world. Wisdom to see through the scams of solicitors and the phoniness of politicians. Wisdom to see that power and life and blessing not in some palace or far off place, reserved only for the healthy and wealthy, but were right under their nose. He provides wisdom to understand that in the kingdom of God it is the little things, not the great extravagant acts, that grow and endure. He provides wisdom to see that it is that which is hidden which is at work in the kingdom. He provides wisdom that teaches there are times to leave everything behind, to let it all go – whatever “it” is – that we might seek out the treasure God provides. And, he provides wisdom to see how God’s net has been cast upon this world, and to understand how God is gathering us all in.
These are tumultuous times we live in. As you listen to many of the conversations taking place in all arenas of life it is clear that many people are unsure of what to do, how to proceed, or what to believe. Like the newly anointed King Solomon or that confused crowd that followed Jesus, many folks feel in over their head, scared, stressed, unsure, and under pressure. Remember, Solomon told God, “I don’t know when to go out or come in.” That is literally where many people find themselves these days. Not quite sure when to go out or come in.
As God met Solomon in that place of vulnerability and weakness and as Jesus ministered to the crowd, so too does God meet us and minister unto us. Now, does God grant us every wish we’ve ever made? No. Does God give us everything we ask for? No. God is neither a vending machine nor a year-round Santa Claus. However, God does provide. God provides love, mercy, peace, and strength. And in these days where we’re all caught up like Solomon, may God provide wisdom too – not wisdom according to the measures of this world, but the wisdom hidden in Jesus’ parables. Wisdom to know when to go out and when to come in, to discern what is right. And wisdom to seek first the Kingdom of God.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.