Saturday, May 18, 2019

Long before any of my contemporaries were born, there was a king who was known as the wisest man who ever lived.  His name was Solomon, and He lived in the hottest real-estate city in the universe, Jerusalem.  Unlike the pseudo-celebrities of today, who become overnight sensations by pushing the boundaries of decency through song, dress or conduct, Solomon had lasting star-power.  Even a cursory look at his resume reveals a man who changed the landscape of history by his accomplishments.  He built the temple of Jerusalem over a seven-year period, and over the next thirteen years he built the palace, the courthouse, and devised the building of pools that secured the city's water supply   His diplomatic craft enabled him to establish co-operations with the most well-known rulers of his time, thus establishing an era of unprecedented calm and affluence.  He amassed incredible wealth for him and for the people of Jerusalem. He established trade routes with other countries, imported horses from Egypt and made silver as plain as pebbles.  The Bible says that Solomon "surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom".  His wisdom, recorded in The Book of Proverbs among other writings, continues to nurture excellence in individuals, cultures and nations today.

One of the world-stage players who became obsessed with Solomon's fame was the queen of Sheba.  "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" (1 Kings 10:1).  Her pilgrimage was an incredibly challenging undertaking:  this was a journey of 1400 miles across the desserts of Arabia, on camels that could barely travel twenty miles a day.  The round trip would have taken her at least six months,  and could extend to several years.  Loaded with gifts and encumbered by great entourage, she arrived at Solomon's royal courts and unloaded the issues of her heart in the hearing of the great king.  The queen had an uninhibited audience with the king, where she could ask him the difficult matters of life, the questions of existence that erode at inner rest and nightly sleep.   "So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her" (1 Kings 10:5).   Yes, all she had heard was indeed true, and double the greatness that rumors told.  She saw all the splendor of Solomon's house, the excess of Solomon's feasts, the gold that dazzled his feasting tables, the glitter of the cloth the servants wore, and "there was no more spirit in her".

As great as Solomon was, there stands among us One who is greater.  He invites us to probe the riches of His wisdom, to ask the tough questions of life, to seek the meaning in the tales of our lives. We may need to travel long and difficult journeys from far countries where we have wasted our spiritual inheritance.  The road to the King may demand a sacrifice of time, a disturbing of our priorities, a surrender of preconceived notions.  The steps to the kingly courts will require a surrender of the intellectual garb that puts man as ultimate judge of good and evil, truth and falsehood.  The undisturbed audience with the King will require a sincere heart, a humble posture, a contrite spirit.  We come to Him knowing full well that He holds all wisdom, all knowledge, all truth-He is truth.  And as we behold Him in the mirror of His Word, we also testify that "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor.2:8).  

The King longs to speak to us in the cool of the day, as the dew falls on the grass and the sun crosses the threshold of day. He yearns to impart  to us the mysteries of His Word, to direct our steps, to give us the daily manna that sustains our joy.  He desires to pour in the cup of our hearts, strength to battle the day's Goliath,  hope to sustain our future.  He has hidden the answers in the pages of His Word, and "has revealed them to us through His Spirit".  Ablaze with the life of the Spirit, the Bible becomes alive, "sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb.4:12).  As we gaze intently at Him in the Word and in prayer,we are changed and we become world changers:  "but we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor 3:18).  

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