Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Do You Know How Rich You Are?

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Watch Nancy teach this series.

Leslie Basham: When you come to know the King of kings, He pours out riches on you! Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Listen, if you’re a child of God, you are rich! Everything your soul needs—everything your soul longs for that is of any good or value to you—whatever your soul needs, Jesus has given to you because of His death on the cross.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 201, for Wednesday, August 21, 2019.

Nancy’s continuing in the series "The Queen of Sheba."

Nancy: As long as there have been nations (which is a long, long time!), world leaders visiting other countries and meeting with heads of state have brought with them gifts for their hosts. It’s all part of diplomacy, trying to foster good international relations (lobbying sometimes for a handout or for favorable trade agreements).

Over the years, there have been some interesting gifts exchanged between heads of state. Let me just read a few that might interest you:

  • The French general and Revolutionary war hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, gave John Quincy Adams an alligator—which the President kept in a bathroom in the East Wing of the White House to show to visitors!
  • Teddy Roosevelt was given a zebra and a lion from Ethiopia.
  • Richard Nixon was given a panda from China.
  • George W. Bush was given three-hundred pounds of raw lamb from Argentina! I don’t know what he did with all that lamb, but that was an interesting gift!
  • During an official visit to the African nation of Mali in 2013, the President of France (then, Francois Oland) was given a camel.

Well, the President wasn’t quite ready to go back to France yet, so he left the camel with a family in Timbuktu for safe-keeping. But they misunderstood what was going on, and they promptly killed the camel and cooked it in a stew that was popular in that region. So much for the gift to France. 

Well, the Scripture tells us that leaders of many nations brought gifts to Solomon. In fact, we read in 1 Kings 10:23–25 a description of how those other heads of states and nations interfaced with Solomon. It says:

Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year. . . . And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah (vv. 23–25, 27). 

But, this was because of all the gift-giving. Solomon was already fabulously wealthy, but his wealth was increased because of all the emissaries, ambassadors from other nations that came bearing gifts. Over the last couple of days, we’ve been talking about the Queen of Sheba.

I hope this has been an interesting study for you. I know I learned a lot as I was studying this, and there’s more I still want to learn. We’ve just talked before this session about some of the things we’ve observed in her life that have application for us. So if you didn’t get to hear the last couple of days, let me encourage you to go, and you can get that at ReviveOurHearts.com. We come to the close of this short series today.

The Queen of Sheba—when she went to Jerusalem to visit Solomon (she’d heard about his fame; she wanted to go see for herself: “Is this man everything that I’ve heard from the reports?”)—knew that she could not bring some scrawny, measly gift to such a famous wealthy king. Her gift would be a measure of the worth that she attached to him.

And so, she brought with her a huge array of gifts. We’re in 1 Kings chapter 10, and we’re picking up at verse 10:

Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again came such an abundance of spices as these that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

Now, 120 talents of gold is not a measurement that we use today. Commentators believe that was representative of four-and-a-half tons—tons!—of gold! That’s a lot of gold! She brought this gift on camels (earlier in the passage we learned that).

One estimate is that one camel could carry about two-hundred pounds on a long trip, which means that it would have taken forty-five camels to carry just the gold. Now, imagine the sight—coming into Jerusalem—of this queen, herself a wealthy queen, coming in with these forty-five camels, and who knows what else, bearing gifts for the King of Israel.

But by this extravagant gift, she paid tribute to Solomon and she acknowledged him to be her superior. She acknowledged that he was worth all of this and more.

As I’ve been meditating on this passage, it brings to mind another gift brought a long distance, in the New Testament: the gold, the frankincense, and the myrrh that other dignitaries brought to another King nearly a thousand years later.

We read there of the wise men who came from the East to pay tribute to the newborn Savior in Bethlehem. It’s possible that a part of these spices that the queen brought included frankincense and myrrh (she certainly brought gold).

Solomon, by no means, needed this lavish gift from the Queen of Sheba. She wasn’t saying, “Oh, this poor king. He needs some help. I’ll bring him some assistance.” This was not welfare; this was not a loan from another country. She was bringing this gift to a nation and a king that were already fabulously wealthy.

He was the wealthiest man in the world, but he graciously accepted this gift from her. I’m reminded that our King Jesus, the One greater than Solomon, does not need any gift that we could bring Him. We can’t make Him any richer than He already is. If we gave Him everything we have, we couldn’t make Him any richer. But He gladly receives the gifts that we bring Him as an expression of our gratitude and our worship and our love.

Now, verses 11 and 12, I’m going to skip over. They’re parenthetical, and it’s about the extensive trade between Hiram and Solomon—just more evidence of Solomon’s greatness and fame.

This passage about the Queen of Sheba closes with verse 13, that says: “And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked . . .” So, verse 10 tells us about the gift she gave him; now verse 13 tells us about the gifts that he gave her.

She had no need, no desires that were beyond his capacity and his willingness to meet. He gave her all that she desired, whatever she asked. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find” (v. 7).

Here’s a woman who came asking questions, seeking—and asking, apparently, for some things from his country. We don’t know specifically what she asked for, what she desired, but King Solomon gave to her all that she desired, whatever she asked. And so it is with our heavenly King Solomon.

She brought to him some four-and-a-half tons of gold, as well as vast quantities of spices and precious stones. But in spite of the vast treasures that she brought to Solomon, the queen could not in any way match the gifts that he had for her.

Second Chronicles 9 is a parallel passage to this one in 1 Kings 10, and here’s how one translation reads: “Now King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba much more than she had brought to the King” (v.12 CSV). And she brought a ton of stuff! Many tons of stuff. But he gave to her much more than she gave to him.

And so, we bring our offerings and our gifts to the Savior out of hearts of adoration, devotion and gratitude, but His giving to us will always surpass anything we could give to Him.

My dad used to always say, “You can’t out-give God!” Give Him everything you possibly can, but He’s going to give more back . . . not necessarily in material riches. You can be a faithful follower of Jesus and be poor; there’s no sin in that.

But He will give you eternal wealth, relational wealth—whatever you need, whatever you desire. If you’re walking with Him, He’s going to give more than you could possibly give to Him.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

And then, Ephesians 1:3 and 7, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places . . . In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us.”

Ephesians 2:7 talks about “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Listen, if you’re a child of God, you are rich! Everything your soul needs, everything your soul longs for that is of any good or value to you—whatever your soul needs—Jesus has given to you because of His death on the cross.

And ours is to enjoy it, to receive it, to experience it, to thank Him for it. So 1 Kings 10 (the end of verse 13) says, “She turned and went back to her own land with her servants.”

When she got home, she undoubtedly shared with her people what she had seen, what she had heard, what she had experienced. I imagine she was just kind of effusive, bubbling over: “Can you believe . . . ?” “I had heard this, but this is what was really true . . . !”

She’s sharing the eager, enthusiastic happy-hearted report of what she had experienced there in Jerusalem. But this was not just about spreading the fame of Solomon. This story is in our Bible as part of an eternal plan to spread the glory of Solomon’s God beyond Israel to the entire world.

That’s always been God’s plan; that’s always been His goal; that’s always been His desire and His intent. Yes, He revealed Himself and His glory first to Israel, but then He said, “You’re to be a light to the nations!” God’s glory was intended to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

God draws this queen from the kingdom of Sheba, at the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, fifteen-hundred miles to come to Jerusalem. Now, she didn’t know God was drawing her. She just knew she’d heard these reports and she wanted to go—but it was God who was drawing her.

Nobody comes to Christ unless God draws their heart. God drew her, and then God sent her back to spread the fame of the glory of Solomon’s God—to be a light to the nations! God speaks to you. God draws you to Jesus. God shows you the wonders of the immeasurable riches of grace that we have in Christ Jesus. Then God sends you back to your home, back to your workplace, back to your neighborhood, back to your community to witness the wonders of who Christ is—to shine forth the glory of your great God!

Now, I want to close this series by looking at one verse in the New Testament that shines a little bit of additional light on this whole story of the Queen of Sheba. Turn, if you would, to the Gospel of Matthew 12:42.

Let me give you a little bit of a set-up. For context here, the Jewish religious leaders—the scribes, the Pharisees—were not believing Jesus. They were rejecting Him. They were always trying to trip Him up, always trying to test Him, always trying to best Him.

They were jealous of Him; they were insecure, because they thought He was going to take their position with Rome. So, at this point, they demand that Jesus show them some sort of sensational sign to prove that He was who He said He was. Now, even though they’d already seen plenty of miracles, they still refused to believe that He was the promised Messiah. So, in this paragraph—in Matthew chapter 12—Jesus gives them the sign of Jonah.

We won’t go into that here; it could be its own session. It's a picture of the resurrection of Christ; three days buried and then raised again from the dead. That was a sign that had been given for the understanding of God’s people.

Then Jesus talks about a Gentile woman who had lived a thousand years earlier. He uses her example to challenge and to warn those who had heard His teaching and seen His works.

Matthew 12:42, Jesus says to these leaders, these religious leaders, these theologians, these pastors, these ThDs and PhDs. He says,

The queen of the South [another term for the Queen of Sheba] will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

Now, those words had to hit his hearers with very great import and impact. Jesus was claiming to be greater than the wealthiest, wisest king ever to rule in Israel. If it wasn’t true, this would have been an audacious claim from someone who was deceived or demented.

But it was true! Someone greater than Solomon was here—has risen up. So, as I’ve been pondering this passage, I’ve been asking, “How is Jesus greater than Solomon?” Let me just give me a few bullet points here to get you started.

  • Solomon was admired and applauded by earthly kings, but Jesus was worshiped by angels.
  • Solomon’s wealth and his holdings were vast, but they were nonetheless limited, but all the wealth of the universe—heaven and earth—belongs to Jesus.
  • Solomon was wise, but his wisdom was finite. There is no limit to Jesus’ wisdom. He is the wisdom of God.
  • Solomon’s wealth and his wives ultimately caused him to make foolish and sinful choices, but Jesus has never ever failed to be wise. He has never been anything other than sinless.
  • Solomon was the son of David, the first king of Israel. You know that “the Son of David” was one of the Messianic titles for Jesus that is most frequently used in the gospels. Well, Jesus was the far greater Son of David (capital “S”) . . . the Son of David, the greater Son of David.
  • Solomon was a mere mortal—but Jesus was God.

So we see One greater than Solomon. All of this stuff about the Queen of Sheba in 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles is intended to point us to Jesus—One greater than Solomon. But the other comparison you see in this Matthew 12 passage is the comparison between the Queen of the South (the Queen of Sheba) and “this generation”—the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. And I think the same comparison could be made for our generation.

What are those comparisons? Well, first, this queen had made a three-thousand mile round-trip journey from a foreign country to gain wisdom from Solomon. Now the greater Son of David was here (Jesus said He’s here), right in their own backyard, but Jesus’ own countrymen refused to hear Him. He was right there! They didn’t have to go anywhere to hear Him.

We don’t have to go anywhere to hear him. We’ve got this Book in our hands. “The Word is near you, even in your mouth,” says the Scripture. But Jesus’ countrymen—and sometimes we are the same—weren’t interested in hearing what she went miles and miles and miles to hear.

Prior to visiting Solomon, this woman knew almost nothing about the true and living God. She’d just heard a few reports from afar. But these people in Jesus’ day had the advantage of knowing much about God. He had revealed Himself to the Jewish people; they had had His Word for centuries.

This woman—this pagan Queen—had not witnessed any miracles, but these Jews had seen many signs and wonders in their day performed by Jesus, the Greater than Solomon. It’s just a reminder that if people are determined not to believe in Christ, no miraculous sign is going to change their hard heart. Because it’s not a matter of really being convinced—it’s a matter of being willing to believe, willing to repent, willing to take the place of humility.

As far as we know, the Queen of Sheba had not been invited to come visit Solomon—but she came anyway. These people in Jesus’ day had been invited over and over again to come to Christ—but they refused His invitation. The Queen had no assurance that Solomon would welcome her when she got there with all those camels, all that distance, all those gifts. What if he’d said, “You can’t come in.” She had no assurance that He would welcome her, but Christ has promised to receive and to welcome all who come to Him in faith.

The Queen recognized the wisdom of God in Solomon, but those in Jesus’ day—and so many in our day—who’ve had so many advantages of knowing the Word of God—they rejected the One Who is the Wisdom of God. They considered him a fool.

The Queen honored Solomon. She gave him lavish gifts. These religious leaders in Jesus’ day—and so many people in our day—they dishonored Christ; they gave Him nothing. In fact, they plotted to take His life away from Him.

This pagan, Gentile woman—who would have not had much esteem in that Middle Eastern culture—she had honored King Solomon and recognized that he was established and appointed by God to be the King of Israel.

But these esteemed Jewish leaders had rejected Christ and refused to believe that He was sent from God to reign and to rule. And their refusal to believe in Christ would be the basis for their eternal judgment!

Now, let me just read this verse again from Matthew 12:42. It’s such an important verse. And then I want to give a few take-aways for our own hearts. Jesus said, “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it . . . for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” That verse tells us, first, that there is a final judgment coming.

Jesus didn’t say, “There might be a judgment.” He said with assurance, “There will be a judgment.” And every generation, including every man or woman who has ever lived, will have to stand before a holy God and give account for how they responded to Christ. In every part of the world, every generation, every era, every person will have to stand before God at the judgment and give account for how they responded to Christ.

Those individuals or generations that have had greater exposure to Christ—according to this verse—will have greater accountability, and they will incur greater judgment for their unbelief and their rejection of Christ.

And then, Jesus says in this verse, there will be witnesses from across the ages who will stand in that courtroom at that final judgment—people who had far less opportunity than you and I have had.

They didn’t have churches, Bibles, ministries available—such as the Queen of Sheba—but who nonetheless earnestly sought out the wisdom of God. Among those witnesses will be the Queen of Sheba. She’ll stand up. She’ll be in the resurrection, and she will stand up and express judgment and condemnation toward those who refuse to believe.

She’ll be a witness. She came from afar to hear Solomon. We wouldn’t go across the street. We wouldn’t receive the Christ whose gospel we’ve heard again and again and again. I’m thinking of some people who listen to Christian radio day in and day out; they listen to their favorite podcast. Maybe you’ve heard me teach for years. You’ve listened; you’ve taken it all in.

Maybe you’ve sat in the session and taken notes—but you’ve never said “yes” to Christ. You’ve never trusted Him, you’ve never put your faith in Him. You’ve had every opportunity, and you’ve just said, “Maybe some other day.” Maybe you say, “I’m too young; I want to do this when I’m older. I don’t really want my life to change right now.”

“I don’t want to give up this or that.” And, whatever the excuses have been, you haven’t made Christ yours. The Scripture says that there will be these witnesses—including the Queen of Sheba—who will stand up and say, “You have no excuse!”

Our generation—particularly in the West—has had an enormous opportunity to have the Word of God, to see the works of God. We will be without excuse when we stand before God if we have not believed and worshiped the One who is greater than Solomon—the Greater Son of David!

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will be right back to lead us in prayer. She’s been teaching us so many important, practical truths from the biblical story of the Queen of Sheba. If you missed any of this series, you can hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com.

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Our world right now is marked by racial strife. But in the body of Christ, shouldn’t it be different? Tomorrow Nancy will talk about racism, healing, and the body of Christ with Dr. Venessa Ellen. Please be back for some wise and helpful words tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts. Now, let’s pray with Nancy.

Nancy: So Lord, we do worship You. Thank you that You have made it possible for us to come into Your presence—to tell You all that’s on our heart, to ask You hard questions, but mostly to believe in You and be saved.

And Lord, I pray that not a person within the sound of my voice would refuse to believe the gospel and to repent and to trust Christ, our Great Solomon—One greater than Solomon—in whose name we bless You, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you know your Bible better. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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