When Others Marvel
1 Kings 10:1-13
1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions.
2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind.
3 And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.
4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built,
5 the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cup-bearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.
6 And she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom,
7 but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard.
8 Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!
9 Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.”
10 Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again came such an abundance of spices as these that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11 Moreover, the fleet of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought from Ophir a very great amount of almug wood and precious stones.
12 And the king made of the almug wood supports for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, also lyres and harps for the singers. No such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.
13 And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon. So she turned and went back to her own land with her servants.
God’s name is glorified when those who don’t know Him recognize that something marvelous is happening which they cannot explain. Solomon’s renown is has spread and foreign kings and queens come to see for themselves if what is being said about him and his God are true.
Sheba was in southwest Arabia, present-day Yemen. It is the best-watered and most fertile area of Arabia. By employing an extensive irrigation system, it developed as strong agricultural economy. It was famous for its trade in perfumes, incense, gold, and gem stones. To say that Sheba was wealthy would be an understatement. So to have the Queen of Sheba visit the King of Israel was a big deal. There would have been 24 hour CNN coverage, where such a thing available at the time. And she is overwhelmed by Solomon’s wisdom and abilities as a leader. See verse 5: “there was no more breath in her.” This means that she was emotionally overcome. Her spirit (breath) was touched! God is good like that. She also uses the word often found in the Psalms for “blessed” when in verse 8 she declares, “Happy are your men! Happy your servants . . .” She recognizes that God has so richly provided for Solomon’s wisdom that those who serve him are most blessed. God overwhelms even those who don’t know Him.
None of us is going to claim to have the wisdom of Solomon. But we can live like people who are indwelt by God’s Spirit. We can display lives that are above the squalor of the world. Even in the face of difficulty, our lives can display a love of God that is impossible without His presence. While those in the world who don’t know Him might make fun of us or even deride us, there has to be a part of them that respects a life of love and service with no thought for self-advancement. The text for today doesn’t say that the Queen of Sheba went home a believer. But her eyes were certainly opened to the greatness of God and His ability to care for His people. All we have to do is live well, showing what a life of faith looks like and let God do the converting.