THE PROMISED CLIMAX
Loving God, may I be blessed through the reading of Your Word today.
Read 1 Kings 10:1–13,23–25
The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon
10 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. 2 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. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 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.
6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 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. 8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 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.”
10 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.
11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. 12 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.)
13 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.
23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectHave you ever climbed to the top of a hill and realized you haven’t really reached the top yet? This chapter has the same feel.
This is the climax of the Old Testament! How far Israel has come from being a family of nomads wandering with their herds. When Genesis ended, they were a family of 70 people descended from Abraham. They had no home, and they hardly constituted a nation. But God had made his promises. Not only would they have both, but they would be a blessing to all nations. Now it has come about: the nation has peace in its borders (8:56), the king is secure in his capital, and with the new Temple, the Lord is visibly central to national life.
And now, an African queen arrives. What impresses her most? Who gets the credit for it? How does this relate to Solomon’s dream at Gibeon (3:10–14)?
The exchange of glittering gifts and lavish hospitality can distract us from the most amazing aspect of this. A pagan queen praises the Lord in astonishing terms (9). She seems clearly to have understood the covenant, because she recognizes that it derives from God’s everlasting love. These were Israel’s glory days—never again to be repeated after Solomon’s death.
What do you glory in most? Worldly treasure or godly gain? Assess your priorities today, and make any needed adjustments.
The treasures we possess in Christ are far greater than any of Solomon’s treasures. Praise God for that today.