[May 04]--Unsung Hero: Queen of Sheba

1 Kings 10:1-9

You might be a bit surprised by my choice of this hero for us to study and emulate, but I have some good reasons. Let me ask you this: If Jesus took the time to praise someone, do you think it’s maybe worth it to examine that person and find out what impressed him? Well, we don’t normally think about it, but in this case he did. Read here.

So what do we know about this woman? As the NIV Study notes, “Sheba” probably refers to a mercantile kingdom that flourished in southwest Arabia. We’re not exactly sure where it was, but it was probably in modern-day Yemen. The queen of a this rich and powerful kingdom had heard of Solomon’s wisdom and wealth, and decided to visit him in order to see if the hype lived up to the reality. And apparently it did: “Indeed, not even half was told me!”

So why did I list her among my “unsung heroes”? Well, why did Jesus commend her? When the teachers of the law came to Jesus and demanded a sign, he dismissed this request as a smokescreen: They didn’t want to believe in him as Messiah, so no amount of miracles would ever satisfy them. Then he brought up two counterexamples, two stories to hopefully wake them out of their stupor: the people of Ninevah and the “Queen of the South” (referring to the Queen of Sheba).

The point I want to make about the Queen is this: She was unwilling to merely accept things at face value. She'd heard of this guy Solomon, and instead of merely dismissing the rumors about him, she wanted to find out for herself. She traveled “from the ends of the earth” to hear him, so apparently this was a lot of time and effort on her part. When she met the king and examined his wisdom, she was humble enough to recognize his greatness. She praised him and recognized that she needed to learn from him.

And according to Jesus, this woman will one day stand at the Judgment and condemn certain people. So what was Jesus’ point? In the Matthew passage above, he's arguing from the lesser to the greater. If the Queen of Sheba responded positively to the wisdom of Solomon, how much more should Jesus’ audience (and we) respond to the One who gave that wisdom to Solomon in the first place? In fact, he's the Wisdom of God incarnate. For as great as Solomon was, there's One greater than him.

So here are some questions for you and me. If this woman put in so much effort--traveling so far--to hear from Solomon, how much effort am I putting into listening to the God of Solomon? If she recognized that she didn’t have all the answers, and needed to ask someone for help in understanding, then how much more should I be spending time in prayer and in the word? When she stands to condemn that generation who failed to listen, will I be included?

Lord Jesus, you are my wisdom, my righteousness, my holiness, my strength, and I claim no other. When you are speaking, please help me to be quiet and listen.

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