Yearning for Wisdom

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (by Lorenzo Ghiberti, 1452)

2 Chronicles 9:5-8 (The Message)
She said to the king, “It’s all true! Your reputation for accomplishment and wisdom that reached all the way to my country is confirmed. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself; they didn’t exaggerate! Such wisdom and elegance — far more than I could ever have imagined. Lucky the men and women who work for you, getting to be around you every day and hear your wise words firsthand! And blessed be your God who has taken such a liking to you, making you king. Clearly, God’s love for Israel is behind this, making you king to keep a just order and nurture a God-pleasing people.”

The Queen of Sheba has come to Jerusalem to pay her respects to King Solomon. We’re told that she also came to “test him with hard questions” (9:1). How much I would have loved to hear their conversation! I imagine that she began with some fairly simple questions, but then, as he answered with wisdom and knowledge, she kept upping the ante. Tougher and tougher and tougher questions, until she finally ran out of queries and exclaimed, “It’s all true!”

The prophet Micah wrote about a future king from Bethlehem — a descendant of David of of Solomon — who would rule the world with his wisdom and authority: “He will stand tall in his shepherd-rule by God’s strength, centered in the majesty of God-Revealed. And the people will have a good and safe home, for the whole world will hold him in respect — Peacemaker of the world!” (5:4).

When Jesus was twelve, his parents took him to Jerusalem. They lost track of him, and spent undoubtedly panicked hours looking for him. In Luke 2:46-47 we read: “The next day they found him in the Temple seated among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. The teachers were all quite taken with him, impressed with the sharpness of is answers.” The teachers were amazed by Jesus’ wisdom, his knowledge.

Solomon was no ordinary, run-of-the-mill king, as the Queen of Sheba found out. And Jesus was no normal, typical, pre-teen boy. I can’t help but apply the queen’s words to Jesus: “Lucky the men and women who work for you, getting to be around you every day and hear your wise words.” 

Isn’t that just the truth!

How has your life been changed so far by reading the wisdom in the Bible?

* Detail from the Gate of Paradise, a renaissance relief of Solomon meeting the Queen of Sheba by Lorenzo Ghiberti, 1452, from the door of the Florence Baptistery.

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