God appears to Solomon in a dream and says to him “Ask for whatever you want me to give you!” If God came to you in a dream and said that to you what would you ask of God? Wealth, fame, a long life, all those things come to mind. But Solomon asks for wisdom (literally a discerning heart), not for himself but so that he could “govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (3:9a)
Leading any nation is a daunting task and Solomon knows this. He knows how the nation of Israel seems to be constantly in war with neighboring countries and he knows the task that is at hand for him. Instead of asking for material things, he asks for the ability to lead God’s people forward. Because of this, God was pleased and granted Solomon’s request. God promised Solomon that he would in fact be wise beyond imagination and have a discerning heart. God also promised to give Solomon the material things he did not ask for.
Please take special note that Solomon did not ask God to rule the nation of Israel for him! Today, do we ask God to do things for us or do we ask for discernment and wisdom to do things for ourselves? “We should not ask God to do for us what God wants to do through us!” (study notes from the Life Application Bible, page 667) Amen.