II Chronicles 1:7-13 says, “That night God appeared to Solomon and said. ‘What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!’”
The passage of II Chronicles 1:7-13 contains one of the most famous stories of the Bible. But it is important that we keep verses 7-13 in their context by recognizing how they are tied to verses 1-6. In verses 1-6, Solomon takes a huge entourage with him to Gibeon to offer a huge sacrifice to God. Why this “hugeness”? We know that God appeared to him at Gibeon, but I don’t believe Solomon expected to encounter God in this way.
First of all, Solomon encounters God in the context of worship. We should always worship God. And when we do, God is always just as much there as he is at any other time. However, on occasion, God shows up in a special way. We ought not to chase such experiences, but, for his reasons, on occasion, he has a special divine appointment with us.
So God comes to Solomon with a proverbial “genie in the bottle” scenario: “ask for whatever you wish and it will be granted.”
When God asks Solomon his question, Solomon never hesitates. If God asked you such a question how would you respond? We would probably need a lot of time to think it through – consider health, our kids status, security, and world peace, whatever. Solomon never hesitates. In other words, he had a very big, gnawing concern. This concern was driving him. It was why he was at Gibeon. And it’s a concern that God knew was possessing Solomon.
Solomon seemed to have excellent emotional intelligence – he knew his limitations. He also knew the task of leading God’s people was substantially beyond him. He couldn’t do this properly with God’s wisdom. The number one concern in Solomon’s heart was to properly lead the people. Please don’t miss this. This was not tangentially on Solomon’s mind. This was keeping him up at night. He knew this task needed divine wisdom. And he knew he didn’t have it. I don’t believe that God would have asked Solomon his request with a promise to fill it unless God knew that this was on Solomon’s heart.
A lot of leaders feel as if they can do it! They have the ability, the wits, the intelligence, the sixth sense to lead aright. Not so much for Solomon. Solomon was already demonstrating incredible wisdom by recognizing that he didn’t possess the caliber of wisdom necessary to lead God’s people. And if Solomon believed he needed God’s help and wisdom, what about you?