picture credit: Illustration by Avi Katz from the book, King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba by Blu Greenberg and Linda Tarry
1st Kings 10: 1- 5
The Queen of Sheba’s Praise of Solomon
10 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. 2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. 3 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.
No doubt this queen was an intelligent woman; we can only guess that she was beautiful as well, but verse 5 takes a peculiar turn when it announces that ‘…there was no more spirit in her.’
What spirits were there that fled before the God-given splendor of Solomon?
1. A doubting spirit: Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord…
In a polytheistic culture, how could one god possibly have all this knowledge? Surely the labors of heaven and earth and man were divided among gods, for no one god could possibly bear the burden; they were mighty over their places, the god of the sun, the goddess of the moon, the god of the seas…etc, but they were not omnipotent over all.
And why would any god share such knowledge with a mere man; he might guide a king or queen in their rule, but surely not impart wisdom on such a grand scale as to give the man any splendor of his own..
As we walk by faith, not by sight, given the flint-faced commandments of our Savior, in our humanity we question the things He wants us to obey because they’re contrary to our fallen nature.
Rumors of Solomon’s God-given wisdom stirred up a spirit of doubt, and she, like Thomas, needed to see for herself. That’s a need we can all relate to, one that we even pray for from time to time. “Lord, show me a sign…”
But unlike the queen, when we return home, we won’t be laden with material goods, but the seed of the Holy Spirit on us, in us, and with us, with the power of conviction of putting sin in us to death, and revelation of the Living Word of the Father
2. A challenging spirit: she came to test him with hard questions
There are those who believe themselves wiser than people of faith; they are people who place pride in their intellect and ability to ‘show up’ the works of a divine Spirit (God is spirit, Jesus tells us), based on their physical experiences. In other words, they attempt to seek to understand spiritual matters from a material view, and cannot. I don’t say that as an excuse for us as believers NOT to be knowledgeable, for indeed, Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her.
However, the Apostle Paul admonishes that knowledge puffs up.
We must remind ourselves not to wield the Sword of the Spirit arrogantly, and to stay abreast of our studies, if we can, that we too, as Peter writes (1st Peter 3:15)
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
But to those whose pride is in their intellect, independent of God, as if He would give man dominion and tell him to subdue the earth without giving him the knowledge to do so, their mind is their idol, and God will brook no idols in his presence, or share his glory.
They test us with what they believe to be ‘hard questions,’ not realizing that their own spirit of pride, coupled to their faithlessness, will yield neither comprehension nor revelation.
3. Spiritual restlessness: and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart.
Something stirred within her, just hearing of Solomon’s wisdom and splendor, for we seek after the knowledge of God, because as Ecclesiastes 3:11 states:
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
If King David was the man after God’s heart, then Solomon, in asking for wisdom, was the man after His mind, and God added to him for his unselfish request.
So the Presence of the Lord in every aspect of Solomon’s life was so all pervasive and overwhelming to her, that she glorified God, for as verse 5 says, ‘there was no more spirit in her,‘ and Solomon sent her back with more than she came with, though what she left him was unique in all of Israel, the like of which they’d never see again.
Jesus says of her (Matthew 12:42) 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.
Therefore I pray:
Lord Jesus, let not the spirits of defiance and doubt hold sway over my faith in my salvation by Your blood.
Grant to me also discernment, increase my fruit, and help my unbelief.
Let me always be ready through the power of Your Word to be ready to answer, but fill my mouth with what You would have me say, and therefore not worry, for You said: for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. (Luke 21:15)
Put to rest and silence all testing spirits, the lying spirits, the spirits of destruction, of pride in knowledge, of striving over the miniscule and insignificant.
Keep me focused on what is important and true: You, and You crucified, resurrected, and seated at the right hand of the father, waiting to welcome me home, bringing back with me more than I left with, to Your everlasting glory.
Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.