Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A World Full of Wonders

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Watch Nancy teach this series.

Leslie Basham: Are you going about your daily tasks with all your heart? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: To serve King Jesus is a happy calling. You want your children, you want the people in your home, you want the people in your workplace to say, “It’s a happy thing to serve Jesus.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 201, for Tuesday, August 20, 2019.

The world is full of wonders if you take time to slow down and look. Nancy will encourage you to do just that as she continues telling us about a historic meeting between two powerful world leaders. She’s in the series “The Queen of Sheba.”

Nancy: Well, we want to pick up where we left off yesterday in 1 Kings chapter 10. So if you can turn to that passage in your Bible, let me encourage you to do that. And my hope with Revive Our Hearts is that people don’t just let what I teach be enough food and satisfaction for their spiritual hunger, but that they get into the Word, and that the things we talk about just will drive you into the Word and to Christ, and to learn and to study more.

We’re doing a brief study, really, it is a brief study, this week of one of these somewhat minor characters in the Old Testament, the Queen of Sheba. But I hope that what we’re talking about will just spur you on to greater study and listening to the Lord.

Let me read the paragraph we talked about yesterday, and then we’ll pick up at verse 4. But now I’m reading beginning with verse 1:

Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem [about a 1500 mile journey] 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. 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).

So here’s a woman who comes with a lot of gifts and wealth, but she really comes with questions. She asks the questions, and then she listens to his answers. She listens to his words. She listens to his wisdom.

So we’ve seen her listening, but today we’re going to see her looking. She looks around and carefully observes everything around her. It’s as if she’s got to fill out a report to take back to her country, and they’re going to ask her questions. “What did you see? What was this like?” So she’s being extremely observant.

And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing . . .

She even noticed what the servants were wearing, like fashion for servants. Why was she interested in this? I don’t know. I just know she was. She saw their clothing. She saw . . . 

. . . his cupbearers, and [she saw] his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, [when she saw all this] there was no more breath in her.

Now, it’s clear that this was not a quick glance. The way some of us go through life, we’re not really noticing. We’ve got our eyes, our head down on our Smart Phone, and we’re not seeing what’s going on around us.

My husband and I have a little thing from early when we were dating. We were somewhere where there was a sunset—he’s more into sunrises, and I’m more into sunsets, let’s just say. But it was a sunset, and at that point, Robert had his head over a laptop, as I remember, and I just said, “You’ve got to look up.” I said, “You can’t not look at the sunset.”

And so whenever we see a sunset, and possibly can, we stop. We look. We wonder. And we thank the Lord. You say, “You’re crazy.” No, we’re just looking to see the wonders and the majesty of the Lord.

She took time to take it all in: the magnificent royal palace that had been built with such artistry and skill, the palace staff with all of their assigned roles, the royal banquets they prepared. She noticed all the details.

Some of those details are described in more detail in 1 Kings chapter 4. Let me just read to you a paragraph or two from that passage. It tells us more of the kinds of things she would have observed.

It says that “Solomon’s provisions for one day [for one day for the palace and the people who lived in it, his workers and his family, for one day, the provisions] were 150 bushels of fine flour and 300 bushels of meal, ten fattened cattle, twenty range cattle, and a hundred sheep and goats, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and pen-fed poultry” (1 Kings 4:22 CSB).

Wow! That’s one day’s provision. Janelle’s eyes are really big. I mean, imagine having put that through your pantry. Even the woman who had, what, eighteen children and counting, or whatever it was. I mean, she had a lot of food in her pantry, but this is a lot of food.

Verse 26: “Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. Each of those deputies for a month in turn provided food for King Solomon and for everyone who came to King Solomon’s table. [Including, in this later passage, 1 Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba and her entourage.] They neglected nothing.”

Verse 29: “God gave Solomon wisdom, very great insight, and understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.”

So the Queen of Sheba, fast forward now to 1 Kings 10, she’s taking all this in. She’s seeing all this magnificence. She’s seeing all this wealth, all this abundance, and she is overwhelmed.

She also saw the burnt offerings that he offered at the temple he had built for the Lord. And when she saw this, it introduced this pagan queen to the idea that a substitute had to die in order for sinners to have their sins atoned for. In order for sinners to be able to approach a holy God, an innocent animal had to die.

She’s observant. She’s asking questions. She’s listening. She’s telling him all that’s on her mind. She’s taking all this in. We don’t know how many theological discussions they had, but we know they talked about a lot. We know that she listened a lot. We know that she looked. She observed. She took it all in.

Now, this queen was no stranger herself to wealth, to splendor, to having servants, to having a kingdom. She was no stranger to religion. But what she witnessed firsthand in Jerusalem took her breath away. It left her speechless, awe-struck, overwhelmed. She was amazed.

I read a John Piper interview yesterday, it came out yesterday, about an issue that he says is “an epidemic among human beings in general,” and that is the tragic loss of wonder and amazement. He said,

We are so easily bored with glorious reality. We go to visit the magnificent Rockies, or Alps or Himalayas and, for a day or two, we’re breathless with amazement. But by the end of the week, we’re sitting in front of the television in our chalet on top of the mountain, watching pitiful, human, cinematic efforts to create amazement. It’s the great, tragic effect of the fall: superficiality in a world of wonder, easy boredom, loving something for two, three repetitions, and then after that, ho hum.

We need to reverse a superficial mind-set and replace it with a deeply joyful mind, ready to discover wonders and be amazed everywhere we look. We need to set ourselves on a conscious quest to cultivate a spiritual mind that is fully alert to the glories of God.

When I read that interview, I thought of the Queen of Sheba, who was fully alert to the glories of Solomon’s kingdom, to the wonder of it all. She had no breath left in her. She was speechless. She was overwhelmed. She was on this kind of intentional quest, this conscious quest, her mind fully alert to what she was seeing.

The psalmist had that same kind of mind-set.

Psalm 111, for example, verse 2, says: “Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of splendor and majesty is his work.” There’s a sense of wonder, a sense of awe.

I love those places in the Psalms. You see it some in Job. You see it in other places of Scripture where it talks about the wonders of the Lord, and then it mentions rain. I mean, how is rain one of the wonders of the Lord? But as you go and study what it takes for rain, how it develops, how it comes on the earth, and how it ties in with everything else in creation, it is wonderful. But we don’t stop and ponder and study and meditate on and delight in the works of the Lord so often because we’re moving too fast—and I’m preaching to myself here when I say this. It would take our breath away if we would stop to look at and ponder the amazing wisdom and works of God.

Well, verse 6, 1 Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba said to the king:

The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard.

So 1500 miles away, far away in the kingdom of Sheba, the queen had heard reports about Solomon’s wisdom, his fame, his wealth, his accomplishments—probably from merchants and traders coming through her kingdom. And initially, she was skeptical. The reports seemed too good to be true. They seemed exaggerated. So she determined to check it out for herself to see if this was all true.

Now, what the Queen of Sheba had heard about Solomon was true. It was true even before she believed it was true. It was true. But she didn’t fully believe it until she had experienced it firsthand, had seen it with her own eyes. Secondhand reports were not enough.

God’s Word is true, whether you believe it or not. The gospel is true. Jesus is the truth. But it’s not enough to just hear about it from others. We have to see it and experience it personally, which, by the way, is something that you ought to be praying for your children and your grandchildren. As they’re growing up, perhaps in a Christian home, you want to pray that their faith becomes their own, that it’s not a secondhand faith, that they don’t just hear about it from you, but that they see it and experience it firsthand, personally.

I’ve prayed this many times over the years for the children of my friends. I say, “Lord, let them have their own firsthand, life-changing, transforming encounters with Christ”—firsthand.

She said, “Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard.”

Now, a lot of times, it’s the other way around. You hear about or see someone from a distance. It might be someone you’re interested in dating, or someone you’re thinking about hiring. Maybe it’s someone you’re planning to vote for, or you’re thinking of joining a church that a certain man pastors.

You see these people from afar, and you think, They’re pretty amazing. But as you get closer, you realize they aren’t all that you thought that they were. You find out that there are inconsistencies and faults and flaws that you didn’t see from a distance.

But just the opposite was true as the Queen of Sheba got to know Solomon. The closer she got to Solomon, the more impressed she was. What she experienced far exceeded all that she had heard or imagined.

Now, we know that Solomon had his inconsistencies and his faults and flaws. Over time, the more wealth and wives he amassed, the more everyone around him was impressed with him, the more his weaknesses began to show up. So he was an imperfect, flawed human being.

But as we pursue Christ, we will never find Him to be less than the reports we’ve heard of Him. The reality of who we find Him to be once we meet Him and test Him with our hard questions will always surpass whatever reports we may have heard about Him. He is greater than anything we have heard or thought. His luster will never tarnish or fade. It only gets more beautiful. He will never disappoint.

When one day we see the King (capital “K”) face to face, we will be awestruck. We will say as the Queen of Sheba did in Solomon’s presence, “The half was not told us! We didn’t dream how wonderful You are. Your wisdom, Your beauty, Your glory surpasses any report that we have ever heard.”

Well, verse 8 of chapter 10, the Queen of Sheba continues, and she says,

Happy are your men! Happy are your servants. [She’d been watching them. She’d seen that they were happy people serving the King of Israel, King Solomon.] Happy are your servants who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 

His employees were happy. That word means blessed. They were happy.

When I read that verse, I thought of my brother who has a public relations business called The DeMoss Group. In 2003, his company was voted “One of the 40 best Christian places to work.” These were surveys that were filled out by the employees of this company, and they talked about the things that they liked.

I’ve been to visit Mark’s office, and people love working there. They love the environment. They love the kind of work they get to do. They feel like they’re doing something that matters. They love the opportunity for professional development, and they love the spirit of the team. They love the way my brother and his wife April value and treat their employees and invest in their team.

Solomon’s employees were happy. They were blessed. They would have said, “This is the greatest place ever to work.”

But not only were the employees happy, the general population was happy. 1 Kings 4, verse 20, says, “Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy.

This was a golden era for Solomon’s kingdom. The people were happy, and the Queen of Sheba noticed this. It must have been different from where she came from because she pointed it out as something unusual. It seems that she almost envied those who had the privilege of living or serving near this amazing king and hearing his wisdom day after day. They may have taken it for granted, but she didn’t. She wasn’t used to this. This was special to her. She was thrilled to hear this, and she recognized the blessing it was just to be near this king.

Those who recognize the greatness of our King, King Jesus, and His wisdom consider His servants to be in an enviable position. Great joy is the inevitable by-product of being one of the King’s servants, of being in His presence daily, of listening to His words and wisdom. That should make us happy. And it will make us happy.

Psalm 65, verse 4: “Blessed [same word—happy] is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!”

It’s sweet. It’s satisfying. It fills you up. It blesses you. If you’ve been a child of God any length of time, and you’ve known what it is to soak in His Word, to soak in His presence, to be with His people, you know that, even though at times there are tears, there are hard things, there are hard places—we talk a lot about that on Revive Our Hearts—but there’s also joy. There’s happiness to be in the presence of the Lord and with His people.

In Proverbs 8, verse 34, Wisdom speaks personified, and Wisdom says, “Blessed [happy] is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.”

Listen, ladies, to belong to Jesus, to serve King Jesus is a happy calling! I want people to look at me, as that Queen of Sheba looked at Solomon’s employees, and I want them to know this is a happy calling. I want my husband to know this is a happy calling.

Now, there are times, like leading up to a recording session when I feel like I am in heavy labor, and more of what you’re hearing is, “Push!” I mean, it feels hard; you’re putting out. But I don’t want people to think that the take-away of serving Jesus is that it’s hard. Of course there are some hard things about it. There’s work involved. There’s labor involved. But I want the take-away to be that this is a happy calling. This is a beautiful calling. This is a joyful calling.

Whatever your calling is to serve King Jesus, you want your children, you want the people in your home, you want the people in your work place to say, “It’s a happy thing to serve Jesus.”

Those who serve Him are the recipients of joys and blessings that cannot be experienced by outsiders. That perspective will give us fresh light on the concept of knowing and serving Jesus. To be His servants should not be considered a requirement or an obligation as much as it is a great, joyful, wonderful privilege.

Happy servants of Jesus make others think well of Him, and I’m not just talking about teaching the Word or the things that I do in the course of this ministry—writing books. I need to be a happy servant of Jesus as I do that, but you need to be a happy servant of Jesus doing whatever it is that God has called you to do day after day.

That’s what Paul says to the Colossians: “Do your work as doing it to the Lord, not for people”—not for your human employer, not for your kids and husband. Yes, you serve them. Yes, you serve in the work place. But ultimately you’re serving the Lord Christ. You want your children to know that as you’re serving them, you’re serving Jesus, and that that is a happy calling.

Well, verse 9, the queen says to Solomon:

Blessed 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, that you may execute justice and righteousness.

Now, the nations that surrounded Israel were generally polytheistic. They believed in many gods. Israel, on the other hand, was monotheistic. They believed in and worshiped the one true God, maker of heaven and earth, the sovereign ruler of the universe.

There’s no clear evidence in this passage that the Queen of Sheba was converted to faith in Jehovah. We don’t know for sure, but there’s no evidence. She didn’t offer sacrifices at His temple, which we think she might have done if she had come to faith. We don’t know. But we do know that she became convinced that the God of Israel existed and was at least on a level with other deities, and she credited Jehovah with Solomon’s wisdom and success.

All that she had experienced, the wonders that she had seen, the great wisdom and prosperity of Solomon pointed her to Solomon’s God. She realized that what she had seen was evidence of a God, and unseen God, who loved His people and delighted in them. She said, “Because God loved His people, He has made you king.”

John MacArthur says it this way: “The queen of Sheba came to see Solomon’s glory and in the process, she encountered the glory of Solomon’s God.”

I love that! So when people come to see your skills, what you can do, and your talents, and how you raise your kids, and how you serve in your home, or they come to see the work that you do in the work place, or they come to see a Bible study that you teach, or to have a conversation with you about spiritual matters, or anything else—they come to glean from you, to gain from you.

When a younger woman comes to you and says, “Will you mentor me? I want to learn from you?” (And I hope that’s happening as you become an older woman.) They may want to see your wisdom, your knowledge—“How would you handle this?” They want to see your glory initially, but in the process, your hope is that they will encounter the glory of your God, that what they see will point them to say, “Blessed be the Lord! Blessed be the Lord!”

She realizes that Solomon had been sovereignly placed on the throne by God, had been appointed to be God’s representative to serve on behalf of God’s people, to exercise God’s justice and righteousness among them.

Now, ultimately, Solomon failed to fulfill His divine calling. That’s the sad part of this story that follows the Queen of Sheba incident. But one day God would raise up another King (capital “K”), one greater than Solomon who would faithfully do all of God’s good pleasure. His name is Jesus.

We come to Him. We worship Him. We love Him. We bring Him gifts. We receive from Him. And all of our lives are to be offering up to Him ourselves with the goal that others will see, “These are happy worshippers! These are happy servants of Jesus! They really believe He’s real. They talk to Him. They know Him. They worship Him. They are delighted in Him, and He delights in them.” And they will come to worship the glory of our great God.

Isn’t that what you want? Yes! Amen!

Leslie: The Bible devotes just a short passage to the Queen of Sheba, but Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been illuminating how important her story is to us.

In many ways, the Queen of Sheba characterizes the kind of strength commended in Scripture. Mary Kassian has written about what it means to be a strong woman, and how God’s definition of strength differs from popular opinion. You can read more in her new book, The Right Kind of Strong. We’re offering it here on Revive Our Hearts as part of our month-long emphasis on developing the right kind of strength.

We’ll send you Mary’s book when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Just go to ReviveOurHearts.com, or give us a call at 1–800–569-5959 and ask for The Right Kind of Strong.

If you know Jesus, you are extremely wealthy. Tomorrow Nancy will show us why. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help awaken your wonder. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.