READ: 2 Chronicles 1-3
THINK: I have become convinced that there is nothing in this world more humbling than fatherhood. Parenthood is pretty humbling in general, as you steward the lives of small beings who struggle to communicate with you and then scream and cry when the fruits of their communicative struggles don’t get the results that they want. But, and maybe this is just my own perspective talking here, I think it’s even harder and more humbling for dads. At least in my family. My wife just instinctively knows what they want half the time. And she understands mumbles, sobs, and other odd noises and what they’re meant to communicate. I, on the other hand, am fairly ignorant. No experience in my life has convinced and shown me of how much I don’t know and how dependent I am upon others in the way that being a dad has. And the thing is, I try really hard at it. And I’m still ignorant. It’s hard to admit that.
I think it’s hard for all of us to admit our ignorance. Especially in the context of a highly individualistic and independent society like ours. We want to believe that we have the answers, and we really love to think that we know it all and we can handle it all our own. But can we? Benjamin Franklin once said, “The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.” Too many of us too often lack a knowledge of our own ignorance. So it’s not surprising that we also lack wisdom.
One of the most incredible things about Solomon’s request for wisdom in 2 Chronicles 1 was his motivation. He was a great king, already beloved, wealthy, and successful. But he looked at the road ahead – at all of the people whom God called him rule over and steward – he had a profound realization of his own ignorance. He realized that he couldn’t do it on his own and that he needed help. And he also realized that the cure wasn’t money or power and anything the world had to offer. What he needed most deeply was God’s wisdom. That, alone, could help him be the man whom God had called him to be.
As you think about your prayer life, what kind of requests dominate it? And what do those requests say about your picture of God and your understanding of what you need from him? Too often, in my life, I spend time asking for all of the worldly things, blissfully unaware of my own ignorance and convinced that if God would just deliver them to me then my own wisdom would be sufficient to solve all my problems. My guess is that many of you do to. Maybe it’s time to take a page from Solomon’s book, take a really honest look at our lives, and ask God for the wisdom we all desperately need.
PRAY: The point of this passage – and my thoughts – is not at all that we shouldn’t ask God for material things that we need but rather that we should do that with a bigger understanding of what we really need to be the people he is calling us to be. We should have the deep humility and self-awareness we need to ask him for the wisdom we desperately need. Do that today. Take a break from asking God for all the stuff, admit your own ignorance and inability, and ask him to give you the wisdom you need to be all that he is calling you to be.