God's Gracious Proposal
James Smith, 1861
"Ask for whatever you want Me to give you." 1 Kings 3:5.
God's methods of communicating his mind to man have been various. In olden times, he often came to his people in their sleep and spoke to them in a dream, or a vision of the night. He may occasionally do so now — but we have a more sure word of prophecy whereunto we do well to take heed, as to a light which shines in a dark place. God's Word is a man's guide — and an infallible guide it is. No one errs, who walks by it. In that Word we read that God came to Solomon in Gibeon, and said unto him in a dream by night, "Ask for whatever you want Me to give you." The same question God puts to us, in various forms, in different parts of his Word, let us attend to it a little, and consider,
The AUTHOR of the Proposal.If some people were to bid us ask whatever we want — we would think but little of it. But when God bids us ask whatever you want from him — it is worthy of our most serious consideration.
Look at his wealth — the riches of the universe are his. His by creation, and absolutely at his disposal.
Look at his condescension — how wonderfully he stoops to notice us, sympathize with us, and desires to do us good.
Look at his love — love which could part with his only begotten Son for us! And if he spared not his own Son — but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also, freely give us all things.
Look at what he has conferred on others — what he gave to David, to Solomon, and Hezekiah of temporal things; and what he has given to multitudes of others, of spiritual blessings.
Look at the glory he may get by conferring on you. He is glorified by giving, by giving to the poor and unworthy, by giving largely, and by giving often.
Now God, who possesses Heaven and earth, whose
condescension and love are infinite, who has shown wondrous liberality in
giving to others, and who can get great glory by giving to you — bids you
"Ask for whatever you want me to give you." Let us consider,
The Proposal as Testing the State of the Soul.We may judge of a man's state — by the requests which he makes. If a man ask only, or principally, for temporal or worldly things — the man is carnal. But if he asks, and asks heartily for spiritual things — the man is spiritual. Real prayer is a correct index of the state of a man's mind: "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."
Do you like Solomon, ask for wisdom? Wisdom "to win souls for God," to walk wisely and worthily before men, and to manage your trials so as to glorify God. It shall be given you — for the Lord gives wisdom to all sincere seekers, and upbraids not.
Do you ask for an assurance of your saving interest in Christ — in order that you may profess his holy name, enjoy the privileges of the gospel, and lead all around you to see that religion makes you cheerful and happy? It shall be given you, for God, who bids you confess him, and rejoice in him, will enable you to do so, if you seek him.
Do you ask for faith — that you may believe all that God has said, do all that God commands, und patiently bear all that God appoints? It shall be given you, and he will work in you all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.
Do you ask for love — that you may cleave to Jesus, make sacrifices to further his cause, and daily offer up your whole soul to him? It shall be given you, and he will enable you to say, "We love him, because he first loved us."
Do you ask for hope — to enable you to baffle despondency, rest with lively expectation on the promises, and anticipate all the good things which he has promised? It shall be given you, and the God of hope, will fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Do you ask for power — power to conquer Satan, overcome the world, and do something to purpose for God? It shall be given you, and the Lord will strengthen you with all might, according to his glorious power in the inner man.
Do you ask for humility — that lovely grace — an especial favorite of God? Humility to lie low before God, to be pleased with all that is done by God, and to admire the free, sovereign, and distinguishing grace of God. It shall be given you, for God will so manifest himself to you, and bring you near to himself — as to make you truly lowly and little in your own eyes.
Do you ask for a great and glorious revival of true religion. A revival in your own soul, and all around you, that thousands and tens of thousands may be converted unto God. It shall be granted, for God has said, "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove me now herewith, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
But enough — God still says, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." Will you ask of God? Will you ask good things — great things — spiritual things — glorious things? He says, "Open your mouth wide — and I will fill it."
Will you expect from God? To ask and not expect, when God has bidden you ask, and has promised to give you — is highly inconsistent. God loves to give to his poor, needy, praying creatures. He loves to make us happy, and therefore he bids us ask for happy-making blessings. Solomon asked for wisdom — and became the wisest of men. Let us ask for grace — that we may be gracious, and very gracious. So shall we be happy in our souls, ornamental in the Church, and useful in the world. Lord, by your Spirit's power, say to each of us, both writer and reader, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."