We could paraphrase many of our prayers in this way: “God, get down here and fix it.” We commonly plead for God to end our pain, suffering, conflict, or threat from an enemy. These prayers can build up a lot of spiritual resentment in us when God fails to appear on command like a genie out of a lamp to give us what we want.
However, Solomon does not ask to get out of anything. He does not bemoan the difficulty of the work or request a rescue. He doesn’t seem to expect miracles or even special treatment as king. He does not lash out at God because his father is dead or because his father wasn’t around enough when he was alive. Instead, he expresses gratitude for the many kindnesses God has shown him, and he asks for wisdom and discernment to face the challenges ahead.
While I am certain God can handle it when we rage at God because of unanswered prayers and while I believe it is better to be honest with God than untruthfully modest and compliant, we may be better served to pause our demands of God and reevaluate our expectations. Is God the giver of an easy life or the giver of strength and wisdom? Is God is in the business of making shortcuts or making hard things possible? In this moment, will I ask for deliverance or for wisdom?
God of wisdom, I do not know how to carry out my work in the world. Give your servant a discerning heart to distinguish between right and wrong. Help me to seek not only solutions but wisdom. Amen.
If you could ask God for one thing, what would it be? God offered this chance to Solomon, and the king asked for wisdom to rule God’s people well. God honored this request by giving Solomon many other gifts too, as long as the king followed God’s ways. (Later on, unfortunately, Solomon lost his way.) The psalmist tells us that wisdom begins with understanding who we are and who God is. Ephesians addresses practical implications of wise living: follow the will of the Lord, be filled with the Spirit, encourage one another, and be grateful to God. The Gospel passage continues Jesus’ metaphorical description of himself as the bread of heaven. Here Jesus anticipates the sacrament of Communion, in which we partake of his body and blood by faith.
• Read 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14. Why are you afraid to ask God to meet your needs or show you your call?
• Read Psalm 111. What actions dominate your quest for God? Do you remember to stop and delight in God’s love for you?
• Read Ephesians 5:15-20. How do you make the most of your time with God? How do you show others that you are filled with the Spirit?
• Read John 6:51-58. In Communion we recall Jesus’ offering of his body and blood. How has that concept been a stumbling block to you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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