By sis Jacqueline Wee
“Ask! What shall I give you?” I'm sure this is a question we've been asked before or may have asked ourselves many times in our lives. As children, we may have been asked this question by our parents, and as adults we may introspectively ask ourselves, “what do I want and how do I achieve it?”
Everyone has their reason for existence. Some live to pursue fortune, some live for the fame and others for the persistent desire to be recognised and respected by others. I read in an article in Forbes magazine that the top eight things people wish for are namely happiness, money, freedom, peace, joy, (work-life) balance, fulfilment and confidence. What about us? What do we seek? What exactly is the conclusion of the whole matter after a lifetime of pursuit for happiness? King Solomon has this to say in Ecclesiastes 12:13:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
“The whole duty of man” implies that what we're made for is to fear God and keep His commandments. This should keep us busy our whole lives and this would also make our lives on this earth fulfilling in every way. What about everything else? “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) But what about all the novelty that the intelligence of man has brought into this world? Disappointingly, the writer says, “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) The Bible clearly tells us that there is nothing new that can come into the world to give us meaning.
Thus, what will you ask for as a child of God? If we think we are not getting a positive response from our unceasing prayers, is it because we are working against God’s will for us, or are we asking for the wrong things or maybe not realising that we've already had it?
What could Solomon have asked for when he was king? What does a king lack or what would a king desire? Peace? Freedom? Work-life balance? More money? Greater fame?
1 Kings 3:12-13 says this of King Solomon: “there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honour, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.” King Solomon had them all, and in abundance, - Riches, fame, peace and family, and yet he hadn't asked for them. Instead, he asked for wisdom to govern his people, because they were “too numerous to be numbered or counted” (1 Kings 3:8). Instead, King Solomon asked for wisdom so that he could understand his people's needs and be an effective and empathetic leader. He asked for godly wisdom so that he could discern between good and evil, and be pleasing in God's sight.
His request did please God. God said to him in 1 Kings 3:11-12: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart”.
“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” We may read this over and over again, but it may take us a lifetime to comprehend, to be convinced of its meaning and then to make it our personal conviction. God gives, He gives abundantly, and He even gives what we have not asked for. But we need to ask of God with the right heart, with the intention to keep His commandments. God understands what we need because He made us and He knows what will fill that void in us. So, ask God in accordance with His will, and we will “see that the Lord is good” (Psa 34:8).