Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 8:1-18; 1 Kings 9:15-10:13; 2 Chronicles 9:1-12; 1 Kings 10:14-29; 2 Chronicles 9:13-28; 2 Chronicles 1:14-17
When you are really good at something people want to meet and know you. Often pop-stars have real difficulty living a normal life as fans chase them down if they see them in the street. The Beatles blame their popularity as the reason they stopped touring in the mid ‘60s. The crowds of screaming fans were too much.
When a new king or president takes the throne or office, officials from around the world will come to pay a visit. Just this week President Obama spent a few days renewing alliances with his European Allies. Obama even spent some time with the Queen of England. This did not happen much 100 years ago as international travel was a bit more time consuming. As a matter of fact the first time the US President traveled outside the country to visit another country was 1906 when Teddy Roosevelt traveled to support the new government in Panama.
3000 years ago for one king to get up, leave their kingdom to go visit another monarch was a big deal. There were no mobile phones to advise the king to make a hasty return home in a time of crisis. There were no Air Force One jets to whisk the leader home to limit the amount of time being away. Many national leaders have not left their countries for fear of being deposed while absent (see Iran 1979).
But in today’s reading we find out that King Solomon is doing so well that kings and queens from many corners of the earth are coming to see him. In today’s reading we get a great story about the Queen of Sheba coming to see for herself what all the fuss was about.
2 Chronicles 9:5 – 7 (NLT)
5 She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true! 6 I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of your great wisdom! It is far beyond what I was told. 7 How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom!
She had heard stores and she came to see for herself. But where did she come from? Where is Sheba? The location of her historical kingdom most likely included part of modern day Yemen, and perhaps Eritrea and Ethiopia. That is over 1500 miles away from Jerusalem (as a jet would fly). That is quite a way for a monarch of 3000 years ago to travel.
What drew these foreign dignitaries to come was an impressive kingdom run by a wise king. They came to observe how the Lord, the God of Israel, had made all of this possible. In these days King Solomon and Israel were a living testimony of a powerfully loving God. The Queen of Sheba could see it:
2 Chronicles 9:8 (NLT)
8 Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne as king to rule for him. Because God loves Israel and desires this kingdom to last forever, he has made you king over them so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”
And other Kings came for the same reason…
2 Chronicles 9:22 – 24 (NLT)
22 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. 23 Kings from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. 24 Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
Maybe there is a lesson in this for you and I. Maybe there are ways that we can live and demonstrate a faithfulness to God that is a beacon to the world. Maybe you and I can live a life that calls to others. Maybe you and I can have someone come knock at our door asking to see if it is true – that God blessed this home. Maybe you and I can be examples of what living for God can do- bring peace, bring hope, bring love, bring joy, bring happiness. Maybe you and I can have the Queen of Sheba, or the postman, or the neighbor across the way, or a coworker or a child’s teacher come to our home to see how it is with the Lord.
Maybe we can we can be beacons and have people from every nation come to see what is different in our lives.