Wednesday after the Tenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Kings 9:1-9; 10:1-13 (NKJV)
9:1 And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished building the house of the LORD and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he wanted to do, 2 that the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 4 Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, 5 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’ 6 But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 8 And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ 9 Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the LORD has brought all this calamity on them.'”
10:1 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. 2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. 3 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. 6 Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. 7 However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. 8 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” 10 Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon. 11 Also, the ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almug wood and precious stones from Ophir. 12 And the king made steps of the almug wood for the house of the LORD and for the king’s house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers. There never again came such almug wood, nor has the like been seen to this day. 13 Now King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, besides what Solomon had given her according to the royal generosity. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
God renewed His promise to Solomon to put His Name in the Temple and to have mercy there. But He also threatened to abandon the Temple if Solomon and his sons should turn away after other gods. For a time, Solomon took comfort in God’s promise and heeded His warning. His wisdom and his riches became famous throughout the world, and the Temple of the LORD became a beacon to the nations, so that the queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and to visit this glorious Temple.
God did eventually abandon Solomon’s Temple when Solomon and his sons went astray. But it had to happen that way, because only one Son of David could build a perfect House for God. Only one Son of David, Jesus Christ, could truly love the Lord His God with all His heart and serve as a permanent King over God’s people. His wisdom surpasses that of Solomon, and His glory is infinitely greater.
But the glory of Christ, unlike the glory of Solomon’s Temple, is still hidden from the eyes. And many, as Jesus lamented in Matthew 12:42, reject His wisdom—the righteousness of faith—and stand condemned for that rejection. But we need not cross the earth to find Jesus like the queen of Sheba did to find Solomon. Jesus is as near to us as His Word and Sacraments, and it is the very promise of His grace and mercy by which the Holy Spirit convinces us that Jesus is Who He says He is, the Son of God, the great King, and our Savior from sin.