“…she came to test him with hard questions…she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions. There was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.” ~1 Kings 10:1:3
Here, we have an account of a woman (the Queen of Sheba) coming to a man (Solomon) out of curiosity of his kingdom, his wisdom, and his answers.
She wasn’t just any woman, though. And he wasn’t just any man. This woman had influence, wealth, and wisdom of her own before she ever met Solomon. And Solomon had more wisdom and wealth than any man who had ever lived.
The queen begins with questions. Hard questions. She pours out her heart. She is honest, direct, and candid. This lady lays her cards out on the table and is forthright about the intentions of her visit from the get-go. She ain’t there to primp at the sickest beauty parlor or get some good cool pics for her scrapbook. She didn’t exactly fit the women should be seen and not heard mold. I guess she missed that day when God was passing out personalities. Yeah. She simply has to know if this guy is the real deal. She wants to see if his kingdom is all that people are saying it is. She came a long way with a lot of baggage. Clearly, this woman was remarkably serious about her inquiries. Much more serious, I might add, than many men of her day as well as this one. (Matthew 12:42)
Solomon, in all his fame, wealth, and, doubtless, important business, attends her. He doesn’t send his subjects to entertain her. He doesn’t give her a coupon for the interactive museum. He doesn’t discount her because she’s not a man. He doesn’t put her off citing inconvenience, consider her a threat to his own ego, a bother to his well-planned schedule, or a potential addition to his ever-growing harem. He didn’t ignore her hoping she would just go back to wherever she came from. No. Solomon attends her, and, not only does he attend her, he attends her respectfully. He gives her honor by answering all of her questions thoroughly – granted some may likely have been trite or even frivolous. He takes time for her, he explains all she desires to know, and he does so cordially. The king with the greatest wisdom this world has ever known welcomes a wondering, doubtful woman, and he does so authentically.
Afterward, that woman was amazed. She was speechless. His willingness to listen to her, his response, and his very house were all equally breathtaking.
“Then she gave…”
She gave. She gave more than anyone had ever given before (1 Kings 10:10). Without coercion, without manipulation, without an invoice or a guilt trip, she gave freely of all she had out of a thankful heart that had been filled with wonder. And, even though she gave generously, Solomon continued to out-give her.
Because that’s how a wise man comes out to meet a wise woman. That’s how wise people interact. That’s how a good leader comes out to meet earnest followers. That’s how a great king comes out to meet those who seek to know him. That’s how Jesus Christ comes out to meet his church.
When work is wearying, questions compound, and brothers burden, let us reason to continue in service by remembering that we cannot out-give God. Because when the self-proclaimed kings and queens of this world travel far and wide seeking wisdom and truth and land on the church’s doorstep, anything less than welcome, respect, and straightforward, truthful answers falls under foolishness on our part. We cannot afford to be careless or cavalier with the great trust we have been given.
So make room for foreigners to the gospel. Make room for inquirers. Make room for card-carrying, lifetime membership-holding citizens. Take time to hear them. Be humble, respectful, willing, and ready to give an answer for your hope. Surely, a sovereign God is a God who orchestrates the details of those who make pilgrimage into our lives. We must remember that Jesus Christ himself was, too, a pilgrim from a far country at one time, as are we. We must learn to welcome pilgrims. Solomon’s example assures us, this is wisdom.