She wanted blue eyes. Bright blue eyes instead of the dark brown that she was given. She wanted them so badly that every night she prayed to Jesus and asked that she would awake the next morning with blue eyes staring back at her in the mirror. This story is told of a young Amy Carmichael, who eventually became a missionary to the people of India. Amy spent years of service working to provide housing for young girls whose destiny would’ve been to be sold into a life of prostitution or slavery. God didn’t answer Amy’s prayer for blue eyes as a child, but later on she recognized that having brown eyes actually aided her in the acceptance she received from the Indian people. God knew even the tiniest of details about His future plans for her. He had given her brown eyes for the sake of the ministry she would later have.
What if God came to you and told you He would give you whatever it was that you wanted? What would you ask for? Would you ask for blue eyes, to be married, or maybe to be known and accepted by everyone? If God gave you what you asked for, would He be pleased with your request? In the chapter of 1 Kings 3, there was a man named Solomon who had taken the throne to be king of Israel after his father, David, had died. God came to Solomon in a dream to ask what He should give him. Instead of asking for something to benefit only himself, Solomon asked for wisdom to govern the people of Israel. Why was God pleased with Solomon’s prayer for wisdom? There are two clear reasons why it pleased God that Solomon requested wisdom.
Solomon’s Request for Wisdom Showed Humility
When God came to Solomon to ask Him what he wanted, Solomon began by admitting his inadequacy. He said to God, “I am only a child! Who is able to judge this people of yours?” Solomon in his request for wisdom showed a true sign of humility. He knew that without God’s wisdom for God’s calling, he would not able to rightly fulfill his duties. Dictionary.com defines “humility” as “having a modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance or rank.” Solomon was king over all the people of Israel—a pretty important position, don’t you think? Yet, Solomon recognized that God alone exceeds any position, power, or place of authority. You see, wisdom is not about knowing more than all your friends. A true desire for wisdom submits to God by acknowledging that we are not capable of having all the answers, making the right decisions, or walking the right path without Him. The voice of humility says, “God, I need You. Without You, I can’t fulfill what You are asking me to do.” Solomon wrote in Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” Solomon’s request came from a heart that was humble. Do you have a heart of humility, or do you tend to lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)?
Solomon’s Request for Wisdom Showed a Servant’s Heart
The king bore the responsibility of serving as the people’s judge. He had to determine right and wrong, and then execute justice. The people would come to Solomon with their problems, and he had to lead them in the right direction. God said he could have asked for anything he wanted, but what he wanted was wisdom to lead the people. In this short passage, Solomon refers to himself three times as a “servant”. Why would a king refer to himself as a servant? Because he knew his place as a servant of God came before his position as a leader of the people. God said, “Since you have asked for this and not long life or wealth for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked.” It pleases God when our mindset begins with others, not ourselves. Paul repeats this same truth in Philippians 2:3-11. He tells us to be selfless, to value others as more important than ourselves, and to look out for the interests of others before our own. Do you have the heart of a servant who would seek wisdom for the sake of others?
When I was in seventh grade I can remember praying and asking God to give me a sense of humor so that everyone would like me. Later, my journal revealed that the more I prayed, the more my prayer had morphed into asking God to make me a godly person so that others might respect me (I thought maybe this was a little better than asking God to make me funny!). Fast forward several years. After the Lord began to change my heart through consistently pursuing Him, I began to pray, “Lord, let me die to myself, my dreams, and everything I once was so that only You will be seen!” The truth I’ve learned is that the prayers you pray reveal the true desire of your heart, and the desire of your heart reveals one that is either certain of servanthood or bent on selfishness.
Like the stories of Amy Carmichael and my own, it is not wrong to desire different things and pray for them, but it simply shows us where our heart is. I suggest that you evaluate the desires you have, and see what it reveals of your heart. Would you ask God for wisdom? When we genuinely desire wisdom from God, it takes us bowing our knee to His knowledge and His way. Only then will we receive wisdom freely from God so that we might be a servant to others. God desires for us to ask for wisdom because He is pleased with what it reveals—a heart that is humble and the heart of a servant.
Lord, show me Your ways and teach me Your paths. Guide me in your truth, for You are my God! I pray You would give me a heart of humility and the heart of a servant that I may seek wisdom for the sake of others, not just myself. I submit to Your ways and confess that I am not able to do what You ask without the wisdom You give. Thank you, Jesus, for being the ultimate example of a humble and selfless servant.