Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”
Isaiah 48: 17
“Just as God leads me I would go;
I would not ask to choose my way;
Content with what He will bestow,
Assured He will not let me stray.
So as He leads, my path I make,
And step by step I gladly take,
A child in Him confiding.”
Today’s Study Text:
“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.”
1 Kings 10: 1
“The Hard Questions”
“The study of God’s Word for the purpose of discovering God’s Will is the secret discipline which has formed the greatest characters.”
James W. Alexander
Do I give time each day to the study of God’s Word?
What hard questions would I have asked Solomon if I had been the Queen of Sheba?
“Disregard the study of God and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life, blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you.”
J. I. Packer
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy: 2: 15
She is identified by the title, the Queen of Sheba. Some scholars call her the Queen of the South, where Sheba is located. Others believe she may have ruled on the Arabian Peninsula, in one of the Sahaean settlements of north Arabia.
The fact is, that no matter the exact location of her rulership, the Queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem to meet Solomon, for as the Bible tells us, she had heard about the fame of Solomon, “concerning the name of the Lord.”
What I love about this phrase is not the fact that the Queen wanted to get better acquainted with Solomon, but that she was drawn by a longing to learn more about Solomon’s God.
What a testament to the witness given by Solomon to the surrounding nations. The prosperity and the wisdom that were showered into Solomon’s life became a worldwide testimony to the greatness of Solomon’s God. All I can say is, “Amen,” to this, for rather than seek to draw attention to himself, Solomon pointed his admirers heavenward to the God who had elevated him to the throne in the first place.
But we also uncover another reason the Queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem to visit Solomon in the last portion of 1 Kings 10: 1. We are informed that she, “Came to prove him with hard questions.”
There are two words that I wanted to understand more clearly in this passage and they are “prove” and “hard.” In the Hebrew, the word “prove” means to “attempt to try”. And the word, “hard,” means “conundrum, riddles, trick questions, dark sayings, proverbs, difficult questions”. In other words, the Queen of Sheba put a great deal of thought into what she wanted to attempt to ask Solomon. As we read through 1 Kings 10, we find she, along with nearly everyone else, had heard how brilliant Solomon was. She heard about his writings. She had been told about his wisdom from above. And she said to herself, “I want to see for myself.”
I appreciate this quality in the Queen of Sheba. And I’ll tell you why. It wasn’t that we find her questioning Solomon’s ability. Just the opposite. I don’t think for a minute she would have wasted her time or money traveling such a distance on a wild goose chase if she hadn’t been extremely confident that Solomon was as grand an individual as had been portrayed. Nor would she have taken the time to prepare questions for him to answer – let alone “hard” questions.
What I believe about the Queen of Sheba was that she was an individual who wanted to study and learn for herself. And at a time in history when most of the learning was left in the hands of the men, I find it very instructional to all of God’s daughters that deep digging in the things of God is not something which is “gender specific.” Praise God for this!
Loaded with her own inquisitive nature and a desire to learn, the Queen of Sheba entered Solomon’s court. And this brings us to something else we can learn from the Queen of Sheba’s visit. I find it notable that this foreign Queen came to Jerusalem with an open mind. I’m certain when she visited Solomon, she came with her own cultural beliefs and philosophies, but as we will find, her upbringing and background didn’t put her into such a box that she became unwilling to look and listen to the thoughts shared by someone whose God was not her god. Furthermore, as the Bible tells us, she didn’t just want to ask Solomon the “easy” questions, she asked “hard” questions. In his wonderful commentary, written in 1706, Matthew Henry promotes the idea of studying deeply when he penned these words, “Let us seek to have our minds prepared for receiving things ‘hard’ to be understood.” I think he was describing the Queen of Sheba, a woman from Arabia who came to Jerusalem with “hard” questions for the King of Israel.
I find the Queen of Sheba to be a fascinating woman. She wanted to learn for herself. She wanted to ask the tough questions. She wanted to meet the God of heaven and earth -- the God who had bestowed so much upon the King of Israel --
Solomon. May we follow her example, for as Tim Walter preached in 2009, “I challenge you -- dig deep in God’s Word and find the nugget of God’s glory on every page.”
In the instructional words of Charles Simeon, “For the attainment of divine knowledge we are directed to combine a dependence on God’s spirit with our own researches. Let us, then, not presume to separate what God has thus united.”
“Lord, here is my Bible,
Here is this quiet room,
Here is this quiet time,
And here am I.
Open my eyes; open my mind;
open my heart; and speak.”
“Teach me, O Lord, the way of Thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken Thou me in Thy way. Stablish Thy word unto Thy servant, who is devoted to Thy fear. Turn away my reproach which I fear; for Thy judgments are good. Behold, I have longed after Thy precepts: quicken me in Thy righteousness.”
Psalm 119: 33 – 40
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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