Saturday

04 June 2016

“Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel for ever, he has made you king to execute justice and righteousness.’” (v. 9)

Psalm: Psalm 150


Background

The visit of the Queen of Sheba is one of the best know stories from the life of Solomon. We are told she came having heard of Solomon's fame and because of his relationship with God (verse 1) and she arrives bearing large quantities of gifts for him. The questions she brought are not mentioned in the text, but Solomon answered every one, proving his wisdom to this foreign Queen. As she looks around at the splendour of Solomon's kingdom, the palaces, attendants and sacrifices she is overwhelmed by it all (verses 4-5).

The writer of 1 Kings is interested mainly in what God is doing in the world and so the reason of the visit may be overstated. Trade visits between the leaders of different nations and tribes were common place. The giving of gifts, usually in extravagant ways, was part of the courting process between nations to secure trade and protection (Genesis 32:13-162 Chronicles 16:3). The Queen of Sheba would have wanted to impress this powerful nation so that her nation could still trade as before. There is probably a good deal of flattery in her words but as she takes in the full wonder of it all she is amazed by what she sees.

Her response to this is to attribute it to God's blessing upon the king and nation. She praises God for his love for the nation and his enabling of Solomon to maintain justice and righteousness (verse 9). As the centurion in Luke 7 recognised God's hand at work in Jesus, the Queen of Sheba sees it at work in the land of Israel. Solomon had benefitted from God's presence with his people, and from what we know about the end of his time he often took it for granted (1 Kings 11).

We, like Solomon, can sometimes take for granted that which God is doing in our midst. We miss God's blessing on our lives and at times can believe it is because of our own good works that we succeed. For all of us it is good to be reminded, sometimes from unusual sources, what God has done, is doing, and will do for each of us.


To Ponder

  • Are there times when you feel you have taken God for granted in your life? What could you do about it?
  • In what ways do you think other people could recognise God's blessing on your life?
  • How can we daily remind ourselves of all God is doing in the world?


Bible notes author: The Revd David Wynd 

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