SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Archeological evidence suggests Sheba was a kingdom in southwest Arabia.
- The exchanging of gifts between Solomon and the Queen of Sheba may indicate the invitation of a trade agreement between their two countries.
- We see Solomon grow in wealth, and establish lucrative trading with other nations.
- We see in this chapter that under Solomon's leadership Israel has gone from being a small inconsequential nation, to becoming a rich and powerful one.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- The Queen of Sheba had heard about Solomon's "relation to the name of the Lord" (verse 1) but she had to "came and saw with my own eyes" (verse 7). She interacts with Solomon, and it results in her praising God (verse 9). In the same way, our lives should be marked by godly wisdom, and joy, and integrity that people hear about and notice something different in us. And when they watch our lives it should lead them to praise God.
- Remember (if you've been doing the Verve reading plan on weekends this year) that Solomon asked God for wisdom, and God told him he'd grant it, and also riches. In this chapter we see God giving what He promised. This chapter makes a big deal about Solomon's wealth, probably in part because people back then thought wealth was a sign of God's blessing. However, Jesus taught that there is on correlation between wealth or poverty and God's blessing or lack thereof. In fact, Jesus suggested that suffering is better evidence that a person is living for God (see Mark 10:29-31 and 13:13).
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Is there a difference about your life that people can notice? Not a charade you put on to impress people, but something authentic that God is doing in you, that is coming out for others to see. If not, consider the possibility that you are not connected enough to God. Jesus said (see John 15:1-8) that when we "abide"(live in, stay connected to) Him, we will produce "much fruit" (there will be obvious signs other people can see of our inner transformation). How can you make being connected to God on a daily basis more of a priority?
- Don't think of a lack of wealth or success as some kind of punishment from God. Jesus didn't promise you following Him would make life easy. He promised that in this world, you will have trouble (John 16:33). But He also promised that if you invite Him in, He will be with you even in the trouble. And He promised that He has overcome the world, so you can have hope that something better is coming.