If You Were to Ask God for One Thing…


We’ve all heard the stories about a genie offering to grant wishes, and most of us have probably spent time imagining what wishes we would make. While genies are, of course, imaginary and fanciful creations of some clever minds, there is a story in the Bible about God asking a man what he wanted.

In 1 Kings 3, “the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night” (3:5). Some translations have the words of God on this occasion as a statement of instruction—“Ask what I shall give thee” (KJV); “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (NIV). I like the way the New King James Version translates it as an exclamation, followed by a question—“Ask! What shall I give you?”

Forget the imaginary genie! This is the Almighty God! Suppose the Almighty God said to you, “Ask! What shall I give you?” For what would you ask? If the One with whom all things are possible told you to “ask for whatever you want,” what one thing would you request?

Some would ask for wealth or material possessions. Let’s face it, many are living today with their lives focused on the goods of this world, and that would, no doubt, be the one thing they asked of the Lord, if given the chance. Later in life, Solomon petitioned the Lord, “Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me” (Prov. 30:8). Perhaps contentment should be the request we make (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:6-8; Heb. 13:5).

Some would ask for a long life with perfect health. Many today would love nothing more than to live as long as possible on this earth, enjoying every pleasure the world affords. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a long life on this earth, our eternal life in our eternal home should be the focus of all we do, and that should dictate how we live this temporary life in this temporary world (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Pet. 2:11-12; Heb. 11:13-16).

When he could ask for anything, Solomon asked for wisdom to discern good from evil. Sin results when we choose evil instead of good. Shouldn’t it be of foremost importance to us to know good, to know evil and to know the difference, so that we do not choose actions, thoughts or words that would separate us from God?

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). Ask God for wisdom!