1 Kings 10:1-13
And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.…
Mudie has no more interesting story with which to beguile the waiting hours of tired and lonesome women than this old tale of a woman's perplexities and how she solved them. She lived in "the uttermost parts of the earth," and in a far-away time, but we recognise our sister all the same. She had her difficulties and her dreams as we have to-day. She had all a woman's longings to do the right, and to become strong and wise, and able efficiently to discharge her important duties. She was a queen, and had therefore an earnest desire to be the mother of her people. She was, we think, anxious to secure their love, which was, perhaps, not very difficult; and she longed to possess their reverence, which was, possibly, almost more than she could achieve. She had an intuitive comprehension of what real greatness was. And there is no doubt that she felt the need of some one wiser, stronger, better than herself, who should gently, firmly, and unhesitatingly tell her what to do and how to do it. She had, too, the woman's wish to know, which is generally described by the word "curiosity," but to which might often be applied the nobler term "aspiration." She did not like secrets, probably could not keep her own, and took a little trouble to fathom those of other people. But the world was full of secrets which she could not understand. She wanted to know the meaning of everything; but all earth's books were written in strange characters which she could not decipher. It was God whom she wished to hear of — God whom she wished to know — God whom she longed to worship and obey. The queen was much more earnest than curious. Of course she was wearied with her journey. Equally of course there were many enticing things to see in this great, grand place at which she had arrived. But she had come to Jerusalem with one dominant, overpowering intention, and nothing might put her aside from it. First of all, before she looked about her, or even took rest, she must have a long, close talk with the king. "And when she was come to Solomon she communed with him of all that was in her heart." But what if she should be disappointed? She was not the first woman, and she most certainly was not the last, who has come to a king among men, with trembling hopefulness that her ignorance might be instructed, and her doubts set at rest. What if he should prove but little better than other men, and she should discover that the greatness of his wisdom was only pretence, and that his superiority lay only upon the surface? Alas for the queen if this should be! for then she would wearily return to her own country, and there hopelessly search in the darkness for that which she could never find. But we, who sympathise with her, are glad to know that it was not so. For "Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king." Happy woman! She had leisure now for other things. There was, however, a good deal of honesty and candour in her even yet. She remembered her distrust of the tidings which she had heard, and could not be quite happy until she had made some honourable amends for her incredulity. There is not a woman among us but would like to have had the queen's opportunity; for we, too, are trying, amid the darkness of doubt and uncertainty, to feel our way to the light. We, too, are longing to become wise by contact with wisdom, and strong by leaning upon strength. We, too, have our longings to know more, and to do better; and I think we would gladly take a journey as formidable as that of the queen to get what we want. But "behold, a greater than Solomon is here." We have our Lord's authority for using this narrative as an illustration of spiritual truth; and it is remarkable in how many points the Queen of Sheba resembles what we are and ought to be, and how truly Solomon is a faint image of Christ.
1. But our duty is plainly taught us by this queen's example. We shall never know more of Him unless we go and see; and, if we are sensible women, that is exactly what we shall do. We need have no more fear than had this queen as to the reception that awaits us. Indeed, we know beforehand. We are not told that an invitation was sent from Judaea to Sheba, but Christ has most distinctly and pressingly invited us. "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest," is the message which He has forwarded to us. Nay, He has done more, much more than this. He has not waited for us to go to Him, but He has come to us. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." This is our opportunity. Shall we let it go, or shall we thankfully avail ourselves of it? Oh, my sisters, do not let this Queen of the South rise up in judgment against you and condemn you, but be equally resolute in mind and prompt in action, and at once come to Jesus.
2. When we have taken this first decided step we may follow the queen's example in another particular. "When she was come to Solomon she communed with him of all that was in her heart." And we may do the same when we have come to our King. Let us make the most of our privileges. Why are any of us weak and miserable, and full of sin, seeing that Jesus is able to make us — even us — great and good, useful and happy?
3. But when we have proved Him to, be all that we have heard, let us be honest and say so.
4. But neither He nor ourselves need be satisfied with words. There must be a mutual exchange of gifts. Who can describe the greatness of His royal bounty?
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but His loved ones know.
Nor can any one beside tell the precious things which He gives to His beloved.
5. There is yet one other particular in which we are like the Queen of Sheba. "She turned, and went to her own country;" and we have to go back to the world after seeing our King, and to dwell among our own people. But we ought to be very much better than when we first came to Him.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.