Discerning Heart

Have you ever desired a genie in a bottle? When I was a kid, I remember hoping that I would dig one up in the sand on the beach. I had all sorts of ideas about what I might wish. The third wish was always a request for three more wishes. If you were to find one, what would be your request? Would it be financial success, popularity, power, influence, relationships or long life? In our text this week, Solomon is faced with a similar dynamic. While at Gibeon making sacrifices to God, Solomon encounters a unique invitation from God.

(1 Kings 3:5 NIV11-GK) Ask for whatever you want me to give you

You name it Solomon. Just say it and it is yours. Why would God give someone a blank check like this? Maybe it was because God knew Solomon’s heart. Maybe God was testing Solomon. Either way, Solomon gives the right answer. With gratitude and humility, Solomon asks for wisdom.

(1 Kings 3:7–9 NIV11-GK) “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

He specifically asks for a discerning heart. The Hebrew word that is translated discerning is the word sama. It has to do with listening, hearing or obedience. Solomon wants the ability to hear God and follow his leading. His answer pleases God.

(1 Kings 3:10 NIV11-GK) The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

We learn from this story that God is pleased when we seek his direction. God is honored when we simply ask for guidance. If we keep reading the story, we find that God offers Solomon several bonuses for choosing correctly. In the coming weeks, we will see how Solomon’s wisdom from God plays out in his reign. But for now, we will focus on the fact that Solomon asked God for the ability to discern. As we study this passage on Sunday, we find this story incredibly relevant to our lives today. If we were asked the same question by God, I wonder what our answer would be. Would we be overcome with greed or would our hearts be like Solomon’s heart?

In this story, Solomon reminds me of his father David. His heart looks a lot like God’s heart at this point in his life. May we learn the importance of a discerning heart and may we intensely seek it as we learn to follow God. Join us on Sunday as we study 1 Kings 3:4-15 together.