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The Wish Book

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.
Take a look in the Five & Ten, glistening once again,
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow…

I heard that old classic on the radio today.  The bygone lyrics to most nostalgic holiday songs are certainly a far cry from today’s Christmas frenzy:  the scramble for bigger TVs, the inflatable Santa on your neighbor’s lawn, and the annual inundation from all mail-order companies.  The Twelve Days of Christmas are nothing compared to the twelve pounds of catalogs delivered to your mailbox every 24 hours throughout the season.

Back when I was a kid, things were different.  There was only one relevant catalog at Christmas time… the definitive source of all gift ideas:  the annual “Wish Book” from Sears.  Anything a kid could possibly wish for was found within this magical volume.  I remember eagerly flipping through the pages; a stack of paper strips close at hand to bookmark my Christmas wish list.

In 1 Kings 3 we read about what could be the ultimate “Wish Book moment” in the Bible.  The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and said, “What do you want?  Ask, and I will give it to you!”

Wow!  Imagine that kind of wish being granted to you!  What would your response be?

Solomon didn’t waste this opportunity on a fleeting whim or frivolous catalog desire.  In fact, he’s renowned for his godly response to the Lord’s special offer:  his request for wisdom.  So let’s take a closer look at what we can learn from Solomon’s “wish list.”

1.   A wish for wisdom

 God gives wisdom to those who love Him and seek His will.

In asking for wisdom, Solomon created an interesting paradox of sorts:  the Lord gave him the wisdom to ask for wisdom.  Hmm… that’s a bit like saying, “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” Did you ever wonder why Solomon was wise enough to ask for wisdom if he wasn’t wise already? Well, 1 Kings 3:3 makes it clear that Solomon loved the Lord deeply, and we know from Scripture that the Lord gives wisdom and guidance to those who love and follow Him.  This can be true for all of us.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart… seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”  And James 1:5-6 tells us that God will give us wisdom when we ask for it, but only if we fully trust Him.

You may not be the wisest person who ever lived, but no follower of Christ is precluded from the wisdom of God.  The Lord can guide you to make the wisest choices.

 2.   A wish for help

 God is pleased when we humbly ask for His help with the mission He’s given us.

Contrary to popular belief, Solomon did not just ask for general wisdom and knowledge.  He wasn’t interested in becoming the next Jeopardy champion.  He specifically requested discernment and an understanding heart for ruling God’s people (1 Kings 3:7-9).

Solomon was already king, but he didn’t let this go to his head.  He was worried about his inexperience, and felt he was not quite ready for the job.  He asked God for help -- and we should too when we feel overwhelmed where the Lord has placed us.  It’s exactly in our weakness that God can make His wisdom known.  It’s in moments like this that God is most glorified because we can clearly acknowledge and praise the source of all strength and wisdom.

Many people get ahead of themselves and ask God for help in getting things they don’t have, such as a job promotion or other advancement.  Solomon humbled himself and asked God to help him right where he already was -- right where God placed him.  This was pleasing to the Lord (v10).

3.   A wish that's granted... and more

 God will bless us with more than we ask for.

 A condensation of verses 10-15 reads:   The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom.  So God replied… I will give you what you asked for... and I will also give you what you did not ask for -- riches and fame!”

When God asked Solomon what he wanted in life, Solomon’s response was focused on what was most important.  He made a godly choice.  Wealth or fame wasn’t his priority, but God chose to bless him in that way.  We should follow that example.  If we seek God’s will and remain attentive to the bigger picture, the Lord will bless us and use us in ways we may not have even imagined.  And remember that God’s riches also go far beyond the material and financial!

 Psalm 37:4 –Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.”

During this Christmas season, let’s follow this example from Solomon in our lives.  May our wishes be wise and pleasing to God, and may we represent His kingdom on earth in great and mighty ways.

Ephesians 3:20 - Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

- Ron Reid

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