1 Kings 3:4–15
God Offers (4–5)
Gibeon is described as “the most famous high place.” High places were typically associated with pagan worship. We know from verse 3 that although Solomon loved the Lord and followed the ways of his father, David, he also sacrificed and burned incense at high places.
However, 2 Chronicles 1:3 does tell us the tent of meeting (the tabernacle) was there. Since God doesn’t share His glory (Isa. 42:8), we can assume the thousand burnt offerings Solomon made were on the altar of the Lord. It was here God spoke to Solomon in a dream. Interestingly, Solomon is the only king of Israel God ever spoke to in a dream.
There is a definite connection between worship and hearing from God. When believers participate in worship, they put themselves in a position to more readily hear from God.
Notice the text doesn’t say God promised to give Solomon whatever he asked for. Instead, God invited Solomon to express what he needed most as a king.
Solomon Answers (6–9)
Rather than beginning with a wish list, Solomon replied by praising God for His great and faithful love, first to his father, David, and then to Solomon himself. Solomon next acknowledged his own shortcomings and inadequacy, followed by the overwhelming nature of the task. Only then did he make his request. He asked God to give him a receptive heart to lead His people and discern right from wrong. He concluded his request by once again acknowledging his inability to accomplish such a great task on his own.
While we should never see this passage, or anything else in Scripture, as a formula for getting what we ask for in prayer, these verses do serve as a great pattern to follow as we make requests to God. Begin with praise for God’s character and His love toward you. Humbly admit your need and agree with God that you are powerless to meet that need on your own. Make sure what you are asking for is aligned with what God has already expressed to be His sovereign will.
God Provides (10–15)
Can you imagine what a joy it would be to know God was pleased by what you requested in prayer? We experience that joy when our requests are in accordance with God’s will. In this case, God desired His people to be led by a wise and discerning king, so He delighted in doing what Solomon asked.
But God doesn’t merely delight in giving good gifts to His children (Matt. 7:11); God delights in His children! God so delighted in Solomon He even gave him what he didn’t ask for — riches, honor and a long life. This is a great example of the truth in Ephesians 3:20–21 that God is able to give us even more than we ask or think.
The last promise of a long life was conditional upon Solomon’s walking in God’s ways and keeping His commands. Sadly, Solomon did not keep God’s commands. According to 1 Kings 11:42, he had a 40-year reign. Depending on how you understand “I am just a youth,” he was likely a young man when he began to reign. This means he would have died around age 59 or 60, which in those days would not have been considered a remarkably long life.