What Shall I Give You?
“And the king said to her, ‘What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!’” (Esther 5:3).
One evening this question was posed to me. I was being prayed for after a Bible study meeting. A man I had just met said, “I believe you have God’s favor. And like the king asked Esther, I believe your King is holding out His royal scepter and asking, ‘What is your request—up to half the kingdom?’”
I began to cry. If the King of the universe was truly offering me anything I desired, what should I ask for? What would you ask for?
The next day, I shared this experience with some friends. They, too, were impacted and found themselves chewing over the question for days. It seemed God was asking His sons and daughters, “What would you have Me give you?”
When personally posed this question, my immediate response was, “You know what I desire, Lord. I want to be one who touches Your heart.” My life’s goal has always been to touch the heart of God. Like the woman who poured the alabaster jar of costly perfume over His feet or the widow who gave her last mite. Neither of these acts were huge from a worldly perspective, but both were motivated by a passionate love and faith that touched God deeply.
I then considered Solomon. Solomon asked God for wisdom when presented with this offer in 2 Chronicles 1:7. “On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, "Ask! What shall I give you?"
Solomon responded in verse 10, “Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?”
Solomon’s answer revealed his heart. And because Solomon didn’t ask for riches and wealth, God was pleased. God granted his request so completely that Solomon is still considered the wisest man who ever lived.
In many ways, our answer to this question defines us. Not only does it expose the motives and passions of our heart, but God’s response to our request can also become a large part of who we become.
Our answer not only reveals our inner motives and passions, it also exposes the measure of our faith. We know that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29). So we have to consider: What do we have faith for? And is our vision too small?
What we have faith for is often related to who we believe God to be. Is He generous or stingy? Is He restrained or extravagant in His love?
One sobering thought is that Solomon did not end well. He asked God for supernatural wisdom and received it, yet he ended poorly. 1 Kings 11:4 & 6 explains, “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God…Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David.”
There are gifts of God you may desire for His service, yet if anything you ask for would contribute to your demise—to your heart not being completely loyal to Him—would you still want it?
So what do we do? How do we respond? Ask nothing of Him? I believe we can trust God with our response. James 4: 2b-3 says, “Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
It would seem from this scripture that there are those who fail to ask Him for greater things to bring Him glory, possibly for reasons like fear, unbelief, insecurity, etc. And then there are those who ask with wrong motives, possibly because of a desire to be known, rich, etc. But it would also appear that if we ask amiss, we will not receive what we ask. I don’t believe this is an act of withholding on God’s part, but an act of His love and a reflection of His infinite wisdom. Sometimes we need to be protected from ourselves.
Our character needs to match or exceed any gift God would bless us with. If we want to finish well, God may need time to develop the character in us needed to support anything we may ask of Him and to sustain any high calling He has planned for our lives. This can often be a long, preparatory process. It is wisdom to embrace the process, trusting in the God who has promised to complete the good work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).
I have come to the conclusion that nothing God could give me is more valuable than knowing Him, His glory and His presence. Moses asked in Exodus 33, “Show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. ...If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:13 & 15). Moses goes on to ask to see God’s glory. That was the cry of his heart.
I believe if we truly get a glimpse of God—in the fullness of His presence and glory—we will be transformed. Everything else will fall into place and nothing else will matter.
And so, even though a few years have past since I was first posed this question, I am still pondering my answer. I am not certain of my exact response, but I do know this: It is still my deepest desire to touch the heart of God. I desire to know Him—in the fullness and truth of who He is—that I might love Him more. I yearn to accomplish all He has in His heart for me to do and to be—to complete His destiny for my life. And above all, I desire to end well.
How would you answer the God of the universe when asked, “What shall I give you?” Your answer is worth some thought.
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10).
(All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.)