A Temple That Pales In Comparison To You

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Do you know who are you? You are not purposeless. You are not insignificant. You are not average. No way—you are the temple of God himself, a far more precious and glorious home of the presence of God than even the holy structure Solomon erected. Solomon’s temple pales in comparison to you. Seriously! That is who you are—you new identity in Christ. So live like it!

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 9:2-7

The Lord said to Solomon, “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations. Then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name.

It took twenty years for Solomon to complete two of his major work projects—his palace, which was beyond spectacular, and more importantly, the temple, which housed the glorious presence of the Lord. And while we don’t know exactly what the temple looked like since the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it some 400 years later (keep that in mind—God is under no obligation to protect his holy places when his people persist in unholy living, cf. 1 Kings 9:6-10), it must have been magnificent, knowing the brilliant Solomon’s architectural achievements—impressive even by modern standards. But as jaw dropping as the building was, even that compared to God’s presence that inhabited the place as it was dedicated, which you can read about in 1 Kings 8.

When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:10-11)

While the temple certainly was equal to the Hellenistic list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, What made it so special wasn’t Solomon’s engineering brilliance or the building’s awe-inspiring beauty, it was the presence of the Lord. And what added to the inspiration of his presence was the certainty of his promise:

I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. (1 Kings 9:3)

Fast-forward to your life and mine today. Do you realize that Solomon’s temple in all its splendor has been replaced? Replaced by what? Not by what, but by whom. You—as a follower of Jesus Christ, who is the complete revelation of God’s presence, the fulfillment of his promise, and the expression of his power—are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. That is who you are, and me too, together with every other surrendered follower of Jesus: We are God’s temple. That is what the Apostle Paul says,

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1 Corinthians 3:13)

Now the implications of that are huge. Not the least of which is the fact of your redeemed identity. You are not purposeless. You are not insignificant. You are not average. No way—you are the temple of God himself, a far more precious and glorious home of the presence of God than even the holy structure Solomon erected. Solomon’s temple pales in comparison to you. Seriously!

That is who you are—you new identity in Christ. So live like it!

Having trouble grasping that truth? My guess is yes! So I am praying this prayer for you today:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

By God’s sovereign grace, you are a wonder to behold.

Going Deeper With God: Take a moment before you go a step further to pray Paul’s supplication for a Holy Spirit revelation of your true identity as God’s holy temple. As God reveals that truth to you, it will change everything about your day.

Why God Answers Your Prayer

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Why does God desire to answer our prayers? Not for our petty purposes—although he graciously takes those into account—but for his redemptive purposes God supplies our needs and fulfills our desires. He blesses us with abundance, graces us with favor, covers and cares for us, supplies us with success so that people will look at us and be attracted to him. Through his blessings upon us, he receives glory, honor and praise. As we were created to do, we bring glory to him being a real, live example of answered prayer.

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 8:59-60

And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other.

In 1 Kings 8, Solomon prays one of the most moving prayers you will ever encounter in. It is long, but worth reading—and if your heart is tender toward God, you will be moved, for Solomon is really praying what you and I often pray. He asks for forgiveness—repeatedly and in advance; he prays for protection; he requests provision; he invites God’s abiding presence; he appeals for success.

We pray those prayers, too. And God is faithful to answer our supplications—even when it doesn’t seem like he is or it feels like his answer is way too slow in coming. God forgives—repeatedly, he protects and provides daily, he is with us always—even when we can’t see or feel him, and at the end of the day, he grants us the kind of success that is eternally celebrated in the heavenly realm.

So why does God do that? Why does he answer the prayers of little ol’ insignificant us? Is it because we are just so lovable? Perhaps—he really does love us with a crazy love, you know. Is it because we are so deserving? Not a chance! Is it to make us more comfortable? Perhaps, but probably not, since he is much more concerned with our character than our comfort. Is it to relieve our pain and soothe our hurt? It could be—he really is moved with compassion by our plight. God answers prayers for a variety of reason, some of which we will never grasp. God has his reasons, and for those of us who call out to him, whatever his reasons, we are eternally grateful that he is a God who not only hears but answers prayers. How blessed we are to be the people of God!

Yet there remains a reason God answers our prayers that we don’t often think about. If we could ever get our brain around this, I think we would probably present our prayers and petitions in a lot better frame of mind and with a great deal more trust than we are prone to do. What is the reason God answers?

So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. (1 Kings 8:60)

There you have it. Not for our petty purposes—although God graciously takes those into account—but for his redemptive purposes God supplies our needs and fulfills our desires. He blesses us with abundance, graces us with favor, covers and cares for us, supplies us with success so that people will look at us and be attracted to him. Through his blessings upon us, he receives glory, honor and praise. As we were created to do, we bring glory to him being a real, live example of answered prayer.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:7-8)

Now understanding the purpose of answered prayer in that light ought to make praying a whole different—and better—experience for us, wouldn’t you say? Get addicted to God’s glory—even in your praying—and you will likely see a significant uptick in your prayers being answered.

Going Deeper With God: Take a moment to reconsider what you are asking God for in prayer. Rather than making relief, comfort or success your most urgent outcome, try making the glory of God your chief aim! Try and, and you will pray a lot differently—and more effectively.

Estate Planning As Discipleship: Get In On The Act Long After You’re Gone

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Whether you are wealthy or poor, you can and should think of how to impact the Lord’s work posthumously. Why? Because you believe in laying up treasure in heaven—even after you are gone—and because you are so grateful for God’s undeserved blessings in your life that you just want to keep on giving back. Make plans now to bless God’s work later—wherever you choose—through visionary estate planning, and get ready to watch your investment grow from the great cloud of witnesses!

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 7:51

So King Solomon finished all his work on the Temple of the Lord. Then he brought all the gifts his father, David, had dedicated—the silver, the gold, and the various articles—and he stored them in the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple.

King David was now dead and gone, but his impact on God’s kingdom continued in both large and small ways. As the new king of Israel, Solomon, was finishing up his amazing job of constructing and furnishing the temple, we are told that he brought out treasure after treasure that his father David had prepared in advance of death in anticipation of this day. Now that is visionary estate planning!

There was not a man more passionate about God than David. He was deeply flawed—that is well known—but deeply committed to living a repentant life before God as well. He pursued the Lord with reckless abandon, so much so that God himself declared of David, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22)

God didn’t want David to build the temple; he had sovereignly ordained Solomon to that task. David desperately wanted to, but he humbly accepted God’s decision. That didn’t stop David, however, from making preparation for the day when a grand temple would be dedicated to the glory of God by one of his sons, hopefully Solomon. So in the bell lap of his reign, David began to think through things that would elevate the worship experience of the Israelites when they finally had a permanent house in which to offer their worship to God. Moreover, he began to craft gifts that would be lovingly presented to God for no other purpose than to make God smile. We don’t know exactly what those gifts were, but they were meaningful enough, and impressive too, that they met the well-heeled Solomon’s high standards for use in the temple.

David’s action took faith and vision along with careful planning and determined effort to do what he did. And he knew he would never see his gifts in use—at least not from the perspective of earth. Perhaps he had a sense that he would be in that great cloud of witnesses watching the temple’s dedication from the grandstand of heaven. Whatever the case, David leveraged his life when he had it to advance the kingdom and glorify God when he no longer had the breathe of life. His was an excellent example of estate planning long before seminars on how to prepare for your demise existed.

What about you? Do you love the Lord enough to want the material wealth he has given you to advance his kingdom long after you are gone? Out of gratitude for God’s undeserved blessing in this life, are you, like David, willing to exercise faith and foresight so that God’s work will be resourced through your estate? Do you want your love for God to live on even when you are gone from the earth? I hope so!

Now you may be thinking, since I am a pastor, that I’m fixin’ to take an offering? Not at all! I simply want you to invest in things that will produce an ever-increasing return even after you have joined David in that great cloud of witness. I want you to passionately love God so much that even what you leave behind continues to witness to his great name. I want you to do the kinds of things out of the kind of heart David offered to the Lord that Almighty God will say about you what he said of David, “I have found one who has a heart after me.” By the way, it is not the amount that matters; it is the intent of your heart. Whether you are wealthy or poor, you can and should think of how to impact the Lord’s work posthumously.

Now I am not suggesting you do something that I haven’t done. After much heartfelt discussion, my wife and I spoke to an estate planning attorney and legally bound a percentage of our material wealth, such as it is, to resource God’s work through our church and the missions ministry of our choice. We did that because we believe in laying up treasure in heaven—even after we are gone. We did that because we have seen the impact of financial resources in advancing kingdom business. We did that because we are so grateful for God’s undeserved blessings in our lives that we just want to give back—and keep on giving. We did that because we know that “tis one life will soon be past, and only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I hope you will receive this in the right spirit. Mostly, I hope you will do something about it. Make plans now to bless God’s work later—wherever you choose—through visionary estate planning. And get ready to watch your investment grow from the great cloud!

Going Deeper With God: Do not wait any longer. At the next opportunity, talk to an attorney or attend an estate planning seminar, and set a strategy for kingdom advancement even after you are gone.

The Details of You

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

God has a plan. He never does things randomly, but he always does them redemptively. Every project he begins he brings to a completion befitting his glorious sovereign plan for the ages—which includes you.

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 6:11-13

Then the Lord gave this message to Solomon: “Concerning this Temple you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David. I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel.”

As you read 1 Kings 6, you could pick any verse in the chapter, save for those I have selected as our devotional focus, and you will encounter details about the construction of the temple. This is a chapter that an architect or a builder might enjoy, but the endless accounting of the building materials that were used in this project are mind-numbing for ordinary people like you and me. And this isn’t the first place in the Bible, nor will it be the last place, that we will be treated to the architectural minutiae of buildings belonging to God.

When Moses constructed the tabernacle, we were treated to the details. Between Exodus 25-31, pick a verse, any verse, and you will get more information on the construction of the tabernacle, its furnishings and the priestly garments that you will know what to do with. But those details mattered to God, who told Moses, “And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” (Exodus 25:40)

When we go to the end of the Bible, we are again invited into the architectural details of the heavenly Jerusalem—and this place we will call our eternal home is beautiful beyond words:

The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. (Revelations 21:19-21)

I am not even sure what some of those precious materials are, but my guess is the stunning wonder of the place will cause my jaw to drop in amazement. And then John the Revelator adds this word at the end of his description:

But I saw no temple in the heavenly Jerusalem, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22)

So why is God so enamored with the details? Why did the Holy Spirit inspire the writers of scripture to include the minutiae of the building projects. Well, there are probably more reasons than I understand, but at the top of the list is the fact that God is preparing a place where he can dwell with us forever. As the Lord told Moses, “make it according to the pattern I gave you,” and as he showed John, “I will be the temple,” God is giving exacting attention to the place where you and I live forever.

In light of that, there are several things we learn about God as we consider his concern over how things get done:

  1. God is a God of details. He is orderly and purposeful; creative and organically artistic. What that means, among other things, is that he hovers over the chaos, as he did by his Spirit over the formlessness of creation in Genesis 1, and forth brings order, purpose and beauty out of it. And if he did that for the larger creation, he will do that for even the smallest features of his creation—you and me.
  2. God has a plan. He never does things randomly, but he always does them redemptively. Every project he begins he brings to a completion befitting his glorious sovereign plan for the ages—which includes you and me.
  3. You are God’s building. You are God’s temple. The Apostle Paul said, “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) The implication of Paul’s context is that God cares about the details of how you are being built as his dwelling place. He is not pleased when his temple—you—are violated with unholy things, and he is pleased when you are edified with holy and eternal things. As he reminded Solomon, he is working on you because he plans to make his home with you and in you.

Why the details; why does God fixate on the minutiae of his buildings; why does he include these “laborious” accounts so often in scripture? Because he has you in mind. He cares about the details of you. He is watching over you, constructing you and has great plans for you that will be lovingly displayed throughout all eternity.

When you are getting bogged down in the details, just read yourself into the description. Just as God worked on the details of the tabernacle, and the temple, and is working on the details of the New Jerusalem, God is also just as committed to working out the details of you.

Going Deeper With God: Re-read this 1 Kings 6 in this light, that it is about you. Take a moment to celebrate God’s plans for your life.

We Are Part of God’s Plan, But We Are Not The Plan

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

We are not God’s plan, we are a part of it. We are baton-passers! And while we might think that God owes us everything we want to do for him in this life, there is something far more important and much more satisfying that we should seek to do: in our leg of the race, run strongly and pass the baton well. Ultimately, when we do that well, God wins—and that is our best victory!

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 5:3-5,29-34

“My father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations. He could not build until the Lord gave him victory over all his enemies. But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well. So I am planning to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God, just as he had instructed my father, David. For the Lord told him, ‘Your son, whom I will place on your throne, will build the Temple to honor my name.’”

Of course, we are the apple of God’s eye. (Psalm 17:8) Of course, God loves each and every one of us as if there were only one of us—a paraphrase of St. Augustine, who wrote, “You are good and all-powerful, caring for each one of us as though the only one in your care.” Of course, God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives, cares for even the minute details of what we want and need (Matthew 6:25-34) and unleashes his power in us “to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Yes, those are true, and then some! God is a gracious, generous Father to those who call on his name and live according to his Word and have accepted his Son by faith as Savior and Lord. And that is more than we deserve by a million miles and infinitely beyond what we can absorb.

Yet it is important that you keep all of these wonderful realities of belonging to God as his favored child in the right perspective. Me, too! We are not the be all to end all of God’s plan for the ages. We are a part of God’s plan, but we are not the plan. Why is that important to know? I will get to that in a moment, but first, let’s root that thought in what Solomon said in the passage above.

Solomon was now firmly established as king over Israel, and his reign was considered as the Golden Age of Israel. The nation had expanded its borders, power, wealth, and influence, and now it was at peace. No other country wanted to take them on; every king wanted to be Solomon’s friend. That included a good man by the name of King Hiram, who reigned in Lebanon. He had been a friend to Solomon’s father, King David. Now Hiram sent Solomon a message of congratulations through his ambassadors (I Kings 5:1) and Solomon responded with a request for lumber from the forests of Lebanon to build the temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to use beams and paneling from the famed cedars in Hiram’s forests. Ultimately, Hiram became a key partner in the architectural wonder that Jerusalem became under Solomon’s rule. (1 Kings 5:10,12, 18, 1 Kings 9:14, 27, 1 Kings 10:11, 22)

But Solomon said something very insightful in his initial response to Hiram’s congratulatory message that we would be wise to understand and apply to our own hopes, dreams and plans:

My father, David, could not build until the Lord gave him victory over all his enemies. But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well. So I am planning to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God, just as he had instructed my father, David. (1 Kings 5:3-5)

David desperately wanted to build the temple in Jerusalem out of his deep love for God and gratitude for all that he had done. But God said no. It would be David’s son who would build it. He had other important assignments for David, but building a beautiful temple wasn’t one of them. You see, the temple wasn’t about David; it was about God. And God’s sovereign plan would be fulfilled over time, after David’s life had ended. What God assigned David in his lifetime would lead to what God would assign Solomon in his lifetime. David had a race to run, and when he finished it, it wasn’t the finish line, it was a baton pass to Solomon, who, as he got to the end of his leg of the race, would then pass it to his son.

How is this important for us? Simply this: We are not God’s plan, we are a part of it. We are baton-passers! And while we might think that God owes us everything we want to do for him in this life, there is something far more important and much more satisfying that we should seek to do: in our leg of the race, run strongly and pass the baton well, because the Kingdom of God is built and advanced over the millennia.

Our culture has conditioned us to think it all must happen now; that we are the “be all to end all.” We are not. There is something far better: to be a part of what will be celebrated without end in the eternal kingdom. So as you think about what you want from God, or want to do for God, remember that the Father who holds you as the apple of his eye has called you to run your leg of the race in such a way that you can give the runner who will take the baton from you a “leg up” in his or her part of the race.

Ultimately, when we run strongly and pass the baton well, God wins—and that is our best victory!

Going Deeper With God: Begin with meditating on Paul’s words, “Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it.” (1 Corinthians 3:10) Then when you ask God for what you want and need, today, also ask him for how you can use your day to advance his eternal kingdom in the next generation.

What A Guy!

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

God will not likely give you all that he gave Solomon in the same amounts, but he desires to give you more wisdom, knowledge and impact than you have and more than you expect. So boldly ask for it, then ruthlessly align your life to nurture what the Lord provides.

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 4:29-34

God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else… His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.

In the previous chapter, God told Solomon that he would grant him any wish, and Solomon wisely asked for wisdom to rule well. And we are told, “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom.” (1 Samuel 3:10)

As a result, the Lord not only granted Solomon’s wish, he promised to give him all the things lesser than human beings usually ask for instead: “I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” (1 Samuel 3:12-13)

Now we see God’s promise for Solomon’s noble request played out in 1 Kings 4. The Lord opens his treasury of kingdom favors and begins to rain them down upon the king. He gets a mind like no other—an overflowing reservoir of brilliance; he gets fame—important people from around the world begin to seek him out; he gets the ability to shape the thoughts of mankind through song writing, scientific observation, and leadership philosophy. What a guy!

So where did all that come from? Solomon was just a primitive man in an ancient, albeit developing country. He didn’t go to college, He grew up under a flawed father whose kingly reign was consumed with warfare externally and conflict management internally. When did Solomon find the time and place to become so brilliant?

Or course, we know it came from the Lord. That is the best way to grow brilliant, powerful, famous and rich. And there is certainly nothing wrong with any of those, if they come through the blessings of God’s rich grace. But Solomon had to give effort to what God granted. We know from Ecclesiastes 1:13 that Solomon of himself, “I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens.” Perhaps it all came easy for him—we don’t really know. For sure, the good life that his father turned over to him didn’t hurt; it was conducive to intellectual growth. But for certain, Solomon leveraged what he had and who he was to produce what God had provided.

Maybe we will never be as comparatively wise and wealthy as Solomon—that’s not likely. But I do believe that God desires to loan us healthy measures of those same things—wisdom, knowledge and influence—if we humbly ask him and be passionately committed to nurturing them. Doubt what I am saying? Well, take wisdom for example. James 1:4 says that if you allow both the good and especially the bad in life to shape you by persevering through them, then “perseverance will finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So then, if you lack wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Of course down the road, Solomon stumbled because he didn’t nurture the internal character that made him so blessable, but for a time, he had it all. Again, God will not likely give you all that he gave Solomon in the same amounts, but he desires to give you more wisdom, knowledge and impact than you have and more than you expect.

So ask for it, then ruthlessly align your life to nurture what the Lord provides. Who knows, maybe people will begin to seek you out for your Solomon-like mind. It is possible, you know!

Going Deeper With God: Do you lack wisdom (or knowledge or influence)? Then ask…and get ready to apply yourself to nurture what God will give you.

What Would You Ask God For?

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Greater than all the good things we might want from this world, the best thing is something not of this world: a life that pleases God. And when we dedicate ourselves to offering up a life that makes the Lord happy, his promise is to bless us with a happy life. Really! Scripture promises, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 3: 5-9

That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne. Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

If you could ask God for anything, what would that be? Riches? Fame? Power? Those would certainly be tempting. At least they would for me. But there is something far better than wealth, celebrity and position, and in fact, without it, those are at best, short-lived, perhaps even squandered, and at worst, misused to our detriment.

I am talking about wisdom, of course. Wisdom is the ability to discern good from bad, the discipline to choose right from wrong, and the practice of putting truth into practice in every day life, in matters great and small. And wisdom at its most noble, most impacting and most enduring comes from God.

Solomon could have asked for anything else—wealth, power and fame—but he asked that God would grant him the wisdom to lead the people over whom God had placed him. Now presumably, since God asked, he would have given Solomon those things. But Solomon asked for wisdom instead, and the Lord was impressed with his request.

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. (1 Samuel 3:10)

Greater than all the good things we might want from this world, the best is something not of this world: To please God. For when we sincerely desire that which pleases him, God happily blesses us with his abundance as well:

So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” (1 Samuel 3:11-14)

Solomon could have asked for anything, he chose wisdom. Good choice! That is a pretty good pattern for us to follow. Ask for the things that please God, he may just give you the things that please you.

Going Deeper With God: What are you asking for in prayer? Make sure you are sincerely asking for the things that please him. He has said that when we “delight in him, he will give us our heart’s desires.” (Psalm 37:4)