1 KINGS 9:24-10:13
24But Pharaoh’s daughter went up from the city of David to her own house that Solomon had built for her; then he built the Millo.
25Three times a year Solomon used to offer up burnt offerings and sacrifices of well-being on the altar that he built for the LORD, offering incense before the LORD. So he completed the house.
26King Solomon built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. 27Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, sailors who were familiar with the sea, together with the servants of Solomon. 28They went to Ophir, and imported from there four hundred twenty talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.
1When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, (fame due to the name of the LORD), she came to test him with hard questions. 2She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind.3Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.4When the queen of Sheba had observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his valets, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her.
6So she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, 7but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told me; your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I had heard. 8Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom! 9Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king to execute justice and righteousness.” 10Then she gave the king one hundred twenty talents of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones; never again did spices come in such quantity as that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11Moreover, the fleet of Hiram, which carried gold from Ophir, brought from Ophir a great quantity of almug wood and precious stones. 12From the almug wood the king made supports for the house of the LORD, and for the king’s house, lyres also and harps for the singers; no such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.
13Meanwhile King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba every desire that she expressed, as well as what he gave her out of Solomon’s royal bounty. Then she returned to her own land, with her servants.
There's romantic nonsense surrounding the story of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon -- for example, that she bore a love-child after spending a night with Solomon. Myths, legends, nonsense! Romance is fine, if it's true. Nonsense is never fine, whether romantic or not.
As the NIV Study Bible notes, "Archaeological evidence suggests that Sheba is to be identified with a mercantile kingdom (Saba) that flourished in southwest Arabia. It profited from the sea trade of India and east Africa by transporting luxury commodities north to Damascus and Gaza on caravan routes through the Arabian Desert. It is possible that Solomon's fleet of ships threatened Sheba's continued dominance of this trading business."
Perhaps this concern brought the Queen of Sheba to see King Solomon. What we are told from Scripture is that she came in large part because of Solomon's fame, the fame of his wisdom.
Much to her credit, the Queen of Sheba recognized that Solomon's wisdom came from the God Solomon served. (For peoples of the Ancient Near East, a king's strengths and gifts and power were expressive of the god(s) under whom the king served. The king was seen as the deity's representative and at times kings were believed to be divine themselves.)
The queen's ability to connect the two -- Solomon's wisdom and the God of Solomon -- isn't consistently shared with people around us of course. But as people get to know us (followers of Jesus) we would wish that such connection be made, that whatever goodness, strength, love, patience, and even wisdom that we possess are due to the God we serve. The problem, sad to note, is that we also possess traits that are not so praiseworthy and we would hate people to connect our bad traits with the God we profess to serve. We can't have it just one way. People see both our good and bad. (If it's mostly bad, please don't tell people that you follow Jesus. We don't need Jesus to get a black eye. )
The larger point is that for people who do not know Jesus we might be the only real advertisement they get. Let's pray that the Spirit will blind their eyes from our ugly parts and open their eyes to see only our pretty parts. Better yet, let's grow in Christ -- in our wisdom, kindness, goodness, mercy, gentleness, and humility. The Lord will take care of the rest.
Let's pray: O Lord God, we desire that your name be known everywhere. We acknowledge the awesome privilege of representing you here on earth. That we are Christ's ambassadors. Forgive us for false advertising, saying how good You are and not always showing that in our lives and in our interactions with our colleagues and neighbors. Fill us with your Spirit and may the Spirit continue to develop the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives. For your glory. In Jesus' name, amen.