All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

What do you want?

Before we leave this beginning month of the year, it’s worth noting another beginning.

Jesus’ first question of his disciples was, “What do you seek?” (John 1:38). Jesus asked a question like this more than once (Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:36; Mark 10:51; Luke 18:41). It’s a beautiful open-ended question. It’s not a closed, directed question. It’s full of freedom.

His followers answered a question of what with an answer of where that was really based on who: “Rabbi, where are You staying?” (John 1:38). Maybe they could have gone anywhere, but they pegged their desires to being with Jesus wherever he was.

Jesus once asked a similar question once long before this.

The pre-incarnate Christ asked this question in the Old Testament. He appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked, “What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3:5; 2 Chronicles 1:7).

Solomon’s response “pleased the LORD” (1 Kings 3:5), and He granted it (1 Kings 3:11-14; 2 Chronicles 1:11-12), so it’s worth some study to find out how and what he requested.

First, Solomon recognized the past, his context, his family and its history: “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day” (1 Kings 3:6; 2 Chronicles 1:8). He honored his father (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16), as Paul noted, the first commandment with a promise (Ephesians 6:2-3).

Second, Solomon recognized his present situation: “Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted” (1 Kings 3:7-8; 2 Chronicles 1:9).

With those things in mind, King Solomon makes his request: “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:9). In the parallel account, Solomon is recorded as requesting “wisdom and knowledge” (2 Chronicles 1:10).

Solomon later wrote, “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). Dr. Jeff Myers once gave a talk centered on this verse. He and I once enjoyed a meal together, and one of his opening questions was similar to Jesus’ opening question, “What’s your big vision?” He later let me off the hook saying, “It’s an impossible question.” It’s also a useful question. It gives insight into how wide and how long-range a person is in their thinking.

What does God want for us? He wants us to be free (John 8:32,36; Galatians 5:1; 1 Peter 2:16). He wants us to have the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). He wants our hearts transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

What do you want? In what context does God have you? What is your present situation?
Have you been set free? What are the desires of your transformed heart? What do you want to do with your freedom? What would you say if God were to ask you tonight, “What shall I give you?”

No comments:

Blog Archive