by Michael Smith
SOLOMON AND SHEBA
Please read 1 Kings 10:1-13
|In the Old Testament story of the Queen of Sheba's visit to King
Solomon, we are given the steps the Queen took to meet him.
Firstly, she heard about his wealth and wisdom from others, then she
came and saw for herself that all she had heard was true, then she
responded by opening her heart to the King.
In this passage we are told the Queen of Sheba heard of King Solomon's fame. Likewise we hear about Jesus from others.
Although the journey from Ethiopia to Jerusalem was about 1800 miles, and despite it meaning she had to leave her own kingdom for many months, the Queen came to Solomon because she was curious to know whether all she had heard was actually true. So too, when we hear about Jesus we need to put aside our existing interests and make the time to find out more about Him for ourselves.
When the Queen saw for herself that the stories of Solomon's great wisdom were true she was fully satisfied. Similarly, when our eyes have been opened to the truth about Jesus, we see that He alone can forgive our sins and wash away our guilt, and He alone can meet our needs and resolve our problems.
Experiencing for herself that what she had heard was true, Sheba opened her heart to Solomon and said so directly to the king. We also need to open our hearts to Jesus and tell Him we want to be with Him for ever, both in this life and in the next.
The Queen then gave what she had to Solomon. The greatest gift we can give to Jesus is our sinful selves. Now is the day of salvation - for tomorrow never comes! In return Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba an abundance of all that she desired. So does Jesus freely give us His salvation, eternal life, and all that we need each day.
So these are the basic steps we take in becoming a Christian; a follower of Jesus Christ. Firstly we hear about Him from another or we read something about Him, then we want to know for ourselves exactly how wonderful He is and personally experience the new life He wants to give us.
But all that is only the beginning of the Christian's journey. In some ways, becoming a Christian is a bit like climbing a mountain. We can remain safely in the foothills, but if we do that we shall never reach the summit. As we start to climb, the going gets a little harder and we will encounter a steeper cliff-face and jagged rocks, icy conditions, and most likely altitude sickness. And so it is if we choose to grow spiritually. We will meet opposition from those who remain in the ways of the world and there will be misunderstanding from family and friends. But God allows all this in order to toughen us up and encourage us to rely on Him. If we really want to follow Jesus we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and be prepared to pay the price.
There will be times when people deride us, oppose us, or just ignore us, and it will hurt. God may seem far away at these times, but the mountain of this life has to be a place of growth and testing if we are to be fit for His Kingdom. And He is with us! God is looking for those who will persevere regardless of the obstacles and who want more than anything else to put God and His will for them first in their lives. If we remain comfortably ensconced at base camp, we will never reach the summit. In eternity all the trials of this earth, which last but a short time, will seem of little consequence, and if we make the effort to climb the mountain no matter how difficult the terrain, or - to return to the subject of this chapter - to set our hearts to see Jesus regardless of how long the journey and far away the country, we will one day hear His precious words to us, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:20-23).
© Michael Smith 2013