1 Kings 10:1-9 1 1 Kings 10:1-9
1. For those who seek Him.
2. For those who adore Him.
Epiphany – January 10, 205 1/9/2016 1:36:21 PM
Did you see the theme for this Sunday in the worship folder? If not, you may have seen it on a bumper sticker somewhere. WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM. Epiphany is about wise men who went on a search for a king and they found him. There are many historical places in the world people will visit to see the great things built many years ago.
Which are the most popular tourist attractions in the world? In our own country we have the Rocky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and many other sites people go to see. Then there also are man-made attractions, such as Sea World and Disney World and the list is endless. Man-made buildings also attract many visitors. Among those are the pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal of India and they huge cathedrals of Europe. They all draw many people from all over the world who stand in awe of those huge buildings.
Not everyone is interested to visit those huge building that were constructed years ago. Many visit historic places such as Israel and Greece, which were the envy of the world but no longer rank as powerful and mighty. In those countries you can visit ruins of what once were great nations. You don’t have to wonder what went wrong in those nations because the history books will tell it all. Yes, Israel also was a Super Power once. They were a force to be reckoned with. This was when David and Solomon were kings.
King Solomon was the wisest king in the world when he was alive. God blessed him with wisdom and his wisdom was not a secret. When he solved the problem the two women who both had a child and then argued over the fact as to whose child the live one was – Solomon suggested that they cut the live baby in half. This was not the only problem Solomon solved, there were many others. People were impressed by his wisdom and would do almost anything to learn what his secret to this wisdom was.
The queen of Sheba heard about his wisdom and made a long journey to hear for herself what Solomon had to say. About a thousand years later we hear about wise men who also came to Jerusalem to hear not only the wisdom of the king but to worship him. These men were called wise because they were looking for the Savior of the world they wished to worship. The queen of Sheba made a long journey to listen to the wisdom of Solomon. She wanted to hear for herself and she was not disappointed.
Both the Old and New Testaments tell us about individuals who made long journeys to Jerusalem to hear more about the wisdom in that city. The distance and the cost were not important to her. There were other great nations in the world but the things people hear about Jerusalem were different and they had to send someone or go themselves. The queen of Sheba went to listen for herself and she was impressed.
Last week I mentioned that some people are glad when Christmas is over. Then there are those who really do not want to let go of it. We cannot keep those Christmas decorations up forever and we cannot keep on playing Christmas music for the rest of the year but we can and should keep the spirit of the season in our hearts and minds. The wise men were impressed by what they saw and heard. But about a thousand years before the wise men came to Jerusalem a wise woman made the journey. She did not see a star but she had heard about this wise king Solomon and she made it her top priority to find out and learn for herself.
The queen of Sheba was no dummy either. Most monarchs in those days saw to it that those who would follow them on the throne were well educated. They made sure they would have the best education in the world. Moses received such an education and then there was Solomon who was especially blessed when God gave him a wish list of things to help him as king. We have some very valuable lessons from the queen of Sheba. As we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord we come to the conclusion that CHRISTMAS IS THERE TO STAY FOR THOSE WHO SEEK HIM AND ALSO THOSE WHO EMABRACE HIM.
1. FOR THOSE WHO SEEK HIM.
The reasons for her coming are explained as follows, 1 Kings 10:1 “ When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions.” It had been common knowledge that Solomon’s wisdom was a gift from God. Solomon was not only king but also a religious leader. His role was different than that of the religious leaders such as the High Priest and the Levites. His example and his decisions had an impact on the lives of the people. When the administration or government will not enforce law and order then things will spin out of control because there will be corruption. When the kings allowed the people to disobey God’s laws then everything in the land went backwards. It was different with Solomon. There was prosperity and justice, but when God is not part of the picture prosperity will decline and so will justice.
The queen came to Jerusalem not to beg for handouts. The most important part of her coming was to learn. She herself was not poor. We hear about the things she brought along. 1 Kings 10:2-3 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. The queen came prepared. It was a great caravan which she brought along many gifts which were customary to give when the head of a state was visited. Solomon was not just another king but the king of a Superpower.
Solomon did not treat the queen with contempt but answered all the question she asked. He could have treated her ignorance with disdain and laughed at her lack of knowledge, but Solomon was not this kind of king. He knew how God had blessed his father and how he himself was blessed. He wanted to share these spiritual blessings with as many people as possible. He knew the source of all blessings and gave credit where credit was due. When the temple was dedicated Solomon prayed that the temple attract people to hear the Word of God and believe in him.This most certainly happened when the queen of Sheba came.
Jerusalem was an impressive city. The eighty or so years David and Solomon ruled was known as the Golden Age for Israel. The roof of the temple was made from gold. The nation had everything in abundance. We hear about the queen’s response. 1 Kings 10:4 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.
Everything was overwhelming. First of all, Solomon’s wisdom is on top of the list. Solomon’s palace and the food on his tables, the seating of the officials, and the offering and at the temple of the Lord were astounding and impressive. When we see how the rich and famous live we cannot help but to be impressed and astounded. Many world leaders in third world countries live like kings in mansions but you find that not far from where they live their subjects live in utter and total poverty.
Our Lord Jesus used the example of the queen of Sheba as a example of an individual who puts others to shame. Matthew 12:40-42 “ Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” 39 He answered, “ A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. 42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
People do not always have to make long journeys to hear the gospel. God sent Jonah to Nineveh and the people in that city believed. On Judgment Day the Queen of Sheba will arise and condemn those who refused to believe in Jesus when he was in Israel. In the same way there are many who do not have to go far to hear the gospel. The gospel is preached in many places and on any given Sunday people will travel miles to worship while others live under the shadow of the church steeple and question the existence of God.
The dedication of this queen is admirable. She went a long way and was determined to speak to the wisest king in the world to learn something from him. No one is ever too old to learn and grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The queen of Sheba was no dummy either. The reason for her coming was to learn more and she was not disappointed. We learn that Christmas comes to stay for those who treasure Him and also
2. FOR THOSE WHO ADORE HIM.
In those days it was not wise for a king to leave home for a long time unless it was for war or the security of the kingdom. People would ask questions when a king left for frivolous reasons and then depose him while gone. This queen did not regret her trip. For her more than her kingdom was at stake. 1 Kings 10:6-7 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.”
queen was overwhelmed and stunned. Everything was greater than she ever imagined. Things often sound better than they are and even look better than they are, but when you actually see it with your own eyes you are disappointed. This was not the case with this queen. There were no regrets as far as the journey she undertook. It was all worth her while and then some. The same can be said about heaven. 1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “ No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” Things in this world may be impressive but the most impressive of all will be heaven, and sad to say not many gather for themselves treasures for that place.
This queen spoke words we wish heads of state would utter in our day and age, 1 Kings 9:8 How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! This queen considered those who had to deal with the king as happy. They were exposed to his wisdom. It is great to listen to people who can make us wise. In my lifetime I had many such teachers whose wisdom I admired and cherished. It is unfortunate when people reject wisdom because they are jealous or are convinced that they know it all.
It has been said that History is the judge of great men. Many great leaders are not so much admired while they live but only but only years later when you see a bigger picture of how their influence continued long after they were gone. This queen gave honor where honor was due. 1 Kings 10:9 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.”
This queen understood why Solomon was so great. These were her own words: “Because of the LORD’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.” It is not possible for all people to live like the rich and famous. But in every nation you want justice and righteousness. This was the way it was in Israel. They had a king who was given the wisdom to see to it that this was implemented.
When the queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem and she was more than impressed. When she left she could say, “Mission accomplished.”These were the exact sentiments of the Wise Men when they came to worship another king. What about your trips to hear the wisdom from on high? We heard all those prophecies and their fulfilment. This is why we keep on coming back for more and each time can say with certainty, “Mission Accomplished.”
There will always be people who are wiser and more gifted than you and I am. This should not make anyone jealous and angry. God has blessed each one of us with the gifts we need to build up his kingdom. It may seem like my contribution is worthless compared to what Solomon had. Our Lord Jesus reminds us that even when you give a cup of cold water to someone it will not go by unnoticed. Solomon changed the world and you and I change the world. God can use all to the glory of his name. We may not have the same wisdom Solomon had but we know Jesus as our Savior. This was something the Queen of Sheba also took home as well as the Magi and the Ethiopian Eunuch. The Savior came for all – again we worship and celebrate this great gift and treasure it in our hearts.
None of us needs to go on a long journey to seek the wisdom of God. You and I have it at home. The Bible is right there and we also have it in our church. The lessons from the Bible are read every time we worship. In that Bible we can read about the wisdom of Solomon in the Proverbs he wrote. There we also have the wisdom of David and the accounts of his life. We have a great History of the world from the time it was created up to the time when Jesus came live, died and his resurrection and Ascension are all recorded for all to read. He also speaks of his coming which we await with great anticipation. The LORD will bless us as we seek the Scriptures for wisdom as we begin this New Year and also end it, knowing he will lead us where we need to go and finally take us home where we will have all the answers to the things we still wonder about.
The Queen of Sheba had no doubts about God’s love and grace and neither do we need to doubt. The queen of Sheba was not Jewish but a gentile. The Festival of the Epiphany is also known as the Gentile’s Christmas. Christmas was for all – Jesus came for all. The Lord has blessed and will continue to bless all people with the precious gospel the greatest wisdom and treasure in the world. Amen.
Holy Jesus ev’ry day Keep us in the narrow way. And when earthly things are past. Bring our ransomed souls at last Where they need no star to guide, Where no clouds your glory hide. CW 83:4