In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said to God, “You have shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and have made me king in his place. O Lord God, let your word to David my father be now fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?” (2 Chronicles 1:7-10)
As a child, did you ever wish for Aladdin’s Lamp? What would have been your three wishes? Even adults have fantasies in which they imagine what it would be like to simply wish their problems away. Some of us have, at times, treated God like a magic genie. We pray as if making a wish. If God guaranteed you He would fully answer one of your prayers, what would that prayer be? Joseph Alleine addressed this issue in his “Alarm to the Unconverted” in 1671. His answer is very relevant for this generation:
If God would give you your choice, as He did to Solomon, what would you ask for? Go into the gardens of pleasure, and gather all the fragrant flowers there-would these satisfy you? Go to the treasures of mammon; suppose you may carry away as much as you desire. Go to the towers, to the trophies of honor-and become a man of renown. Would any of these, would all of these satisfy you, and make you to count yourself happy? If so, then certainly you are carnal and unconverted.
Converting grace turns the heart from its idols-to the living God. Before conversion, the man minded his farm, friends, pleasures more than Christ. He found more sweetness in his merry company, worldly games, earthly delights-than in Christ.
Now he says, ‘But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ!’ (Philippians 3:7-8)