Solomon is focused on how to build success rather than the attainment of success. He asks God for wisdom and knowledge – building blocks of good leadership. He asks for what he needs to play his part, knowing that victory will come by God’s hand…
1 Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.
6 Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the Lord in the tent of meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you.
2Chronicles 1:1, 6, 8-12
2 You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
When he was offered whatever he desired in his vision of the Lord, Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge to lead. Solomon asked for the building blocks of good leadership. He did not ask for success. We often desire the outcomes in life and many times we care less about the building blocks of those outcomes.
We want to bloom before we grow. We want the victory without the battle. We want the performance without the training. Even for my kids, who have at times been ill-prepared for the tests of life, I have prayed for God’s blessing upon them for outcomes which they have not worked for. I have prayed that they would reap what they did not sow. Perhaps my motives have been a little Kinna-centred and less focused on God’s work in them.
Solomon gets this right. He is upstream from victories and rewards. Solomon is focused on how to build success rather than simply the attainment of success. At this moment, I don’t think Solomon believes he can do it without God. That may have crept in later in his leadership as he amassed power and possession outside of God’s will.
At this moment, Solomon knows full well that victory belongs to God. He knows the story of Gideon, who defeated thousands of Midianites with 300 soldiers. Solomon serves the God who shows his strength in our weakness, who makes his own name great in the lives of his people.
And so, Solomon asks for what he needs to play his part, knowing that the victory will come by God’s hand.
What do you need in your service to God and in leadership in your life? Think about what will position you to serve God best and carry out your role with excellence. Ask God for those building blocks as you develop in your role. God equips us for the assignments he gives us.