Asking With The Wisdom of Solomon

You may remember the story from your childhood about Aladdin and the magic lamp. By rubbing the lamp, Aladdin summons the genie, who grants him three wishes. In our reading from the Old Testament this weekend, we hear the story of Solomon, who is preparing to succeed his father, David, as king. The Lord appears to Solomon in a dream with these words, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Being a wise and humble servant, Solomon asks for an understanding heart to judge the people and distinguish right from wrong. God grants Solomon’s wish and gives him more than he could have hoped for by his humble request.

As the Lord speaks to Solomon, he commends him for the beauty of his request. Solomon didn’t ask for more money or a better house or revenge upon his enemies. He asked for something good, and God was delighted to answer his prayer. We are given the formula for making our requests to the Lord in Matthew, Chapter 7, where Jesus gives us the way to ask for what we need:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

In this brief line from the gospel, our Lord gives us the confidence to approach him with all of our needs. Our Lord also tells us that we shouldn’t spend our time worrying about these earthly things, because he will always take care of us. We can take the time we spend worrying about tomorrow (which is not promised to us) and focus our energy on making our needs known to God today. We can shift our focus away from the future and live in the present moment that God has given us, confident of his love and care for us.

Ask. We have a good example of the kind of persistence we need to have in prayer when we read about Abraham’s bargaining with God, for the salvation of those in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asks if 50 righteous people could be spared and then continues to pose yet another question to God. Abraham continues to ask God to save even ten righteous people in this city beset by sin. Abraham is making his desires known to God in this beautiful dialogue.

Seek. My favorite story in scripture of seeking is in Luke’s gospel where we read the story of the woman who suffered hemorrhages for twelve years. We are told that she suffered this affliction for years and tried everything to find a cure. In an act of faith, she reaches out to touch just the hem of Christ’s garment as he passes. Jesus calls her out of the crowd and heals her affliction, because of her great faith. Like so many of us, she was seeking in all of the wrong places. When she knocks on the right door, her healing is manifested through the powerful hand of Jesus.

Knock. The beautiful story of the healing of the paralytic gives us an example of the persistence that is sometimes necessary for our prayers to be answered. Here, not only the faith of the paralyzed man, but the faith of those who devised a way to lower him through the roof is evident in this story. Jesus performs a miracle of healing before a room full of people. When knocking at the door didn’t work due to the capacity crowd inside the place, these men made their own entrance and lowered their brother in for the healing he desired.

We ask, seek, knock and then trust in God to provide exactly what we need when we need it. There is another critical element of petitioning God to grant our needs that is sometimes overlooked. We see this beautifully illustrated when Jesus heals ten lepers. Nine of those healed skip off to show their family and friends, and only one remains to thank the one who healed them. It is so important that we develop a grateful heart, a heart that recognizes that God is the source of all gifts in our life.

Solomon was given an opportunity to ask God for what he needed. With a discerning heart and a humble spirit, he asked for wisdom, and it was granted to him. God was pleased to grant his request, because it honored God first and would benefit those whom Solomon served. Perhaps you and I can glean a little wisdom from our brother Solomon about how to formulate our petitions to the Lord. God is good and generous toward all of his children. May God help us to develop hearts that trust fully in his providence and, in humility, come to him with all of our needs.

May the peace of Christ enfold you,

Deacon Tim

 

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