Wednesday, September 9, 2015
The Queen of Sheba
We're studying the queen of Sheba this week . . . have you ever wondered where "Sheba" was? The scholars tell us that the land she ruled was located about 1,200 miles south of Israel. The modern day country of Yemen is the approximate location. Every day that she ruled over her subjects, she heard people share the word of the greatness of the king called Solomon. Caravans that passed through Israel on the way to her country would bring tales of the splendor and majesty of his court and his palace. He would have left an impression on those travelers, and he would have built up a reputation that the queen could not fail to hear about!
The queen would have heard of the great riches that Solomon possessed. We read in I Kings of his wealth:
They sailed to Ophir and brought back 420 talents of gold, which
they delivered to King Solomon. (I Kings 9:28)
(I'm not right on the money, but I researched it and that is well over two billion dollars!) Another verse in I Kings 10 tells of even more talents of gold that came into the king's coffers . . . no wonder the temple was decorated in gold, the drinking vessels were gold, and silver just wasn't as important! His wealth was more than most people of that time could even imagine.
The queen would have heard of his works, too. He had built a great kingdom; he had constructed an amazing temple for his God; he had built a wonderful palace for himself.
She also heard of his wisdom. He was known for his intellect, and his ability to answer deep questions. She could not get answers to her questions from her gods. Her own wealth could not solve her problems. She came because she heard that only Solomon could help her.
The queen of Sheba had also heard of his worship. Notice in verse 1 of our passage, what was on her mind. What impressed her more than his prosperity, or his prestige, was his relationship with his God. Solomon gave the glory to God, and she wanted to know more. She wanted to know about this relationship -- she wanted to meet the God of Solomon.
Let's apply this to our own lives: there is no one else like our God! He can meet every need we have, whether it is spiritual, material, or physical. He has all power -- He can move mountains for us, quench our thirst, and even save our eternal souls. Our Father holds every answer to every one of our questions, and He can bring us into His presence when we worship Him. When unbelievers hear talk about Him, their interest in piqued -- and we should be talking about Him!
Let's fast forward to when the queen of Sheba arrived in Jerusalem, OK? When she got there, she was amazed at the greatness of Solomon's wealth. Did you see the tremendous gifts that he sent home with her? Wow. She also would have experienced the way that he provided for his people:
Solomon's daily provisions were thirty cors of the finest flour and sixty
cors of meal, ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle, and
a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice
fowl. (I Kings 4:22-23)
(My study notes say that is many metric tons of flour and meal.....there is enough food listed there for many, many people in his palace!) All of that for those who ate at his table daily!
I'm sure that she watched his servants; they would have watched him, listened to him, happily carried out his wishes. She was surprised to see how happy they were. She saw him as he entered the temple of God. (He had a covered walkway from his palace to the temple.) She watched him as he worshiped.
There is application here to our lives, too: our God owns it all, and He takes care of His people. "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it..." There are no shortages in His pantry, and He shares it all with us. He has enough to give all of us, both our "daily bread" and our spiritual needs. The Lord's people love Him, and want to hear His word and do his bidding:
He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify to
Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:14)
The queen of Sheba realized that all she had heard was true. It was real. Solomon's reputation, his wealth, and his wisdom were extraordinary. He was able to answer all of her deep and probing questions. All of her riddles were solved. She decided that he was even more wonderful than she had heard!
We can all echo what she said . . . our God always gives us so much more than the gifts that we bring to Him. He reveals to us the answers to the problems and riddles of life. He is far more glorious than we can know in this time. The people who know Him are a happy group -- they may have problems and worries, but there is also "joy unspeakable" and "peace which passes all understanding."
The queen went back to her country saying "there is no one like him." Isn't that what we should be telling others about our Lord?
We'll finish up our study tomorrow. Hope you will join us!