Monday, September 7, 2015

The queen of Sheba

The story of the queen of Sheba is found in two places in the old Testament: I Kings 10, and II Chronicles, chapter 9.
The queen is a mysterious figure to us now, and scholars differ in their understanding of where her kingdom lay, and even what her name was. She is mentioned in the Old Testament, in the Koran, in Ethiopian legend, and more. She is called a variety of names: queen of Saba, queen of the south, queen of Sheba, Madeka.
Whatever her name, and wherever she came from, we will learn from her this week!

Here in the US, politics is "king" this time of the election cycle. Almost everyone has an opinion, and with seventeen contestants on just one side of the "aisle" there is a lot to talk about! The wanna-be's schedule rallies and speeches, and many of their fans flock to see them. Some of them are able to meet their contestant personally; they pose for selfies, get autographs on campaign placards, etc. They walk away beaming. Some of them are awe-struck that they actually met their famous person!

Have you ever met someone that left you awe-struck? Have you ever met someone that was so wonderful that you just shook your head and thought, "Wow, there is no one else like them!"

That is what the queen in our story said about Solomon.
Many years pass, and Jesus is on the earth. He mentioned this event to His followers. He talked about Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and He reminded those who were listening that He was even greater than Solomon. (Matthew 12) Here is the Old Testament account of Solomon and the queen: 
When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!  Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
(Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)
King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
 (I Kings 10:1-13)
If an earthly king left the queen astonished at his glory and his greatness, how much more will King Jesus amaze all who see Him? There is surely no one else like Him! As we study this week, we will see that as wonderful as Solomon was in his own day, a greater than Solomon is with us!

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