Sermon 533. The Queen Of The South, Or The Earnest Enquirer
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, OCTOBER 4, 1863, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermostparts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here." Matthew 12:42.
OUR Savior, in this chapter, administered a rebuke to two sorts of people. He reproved those who hear the Gospel, but whoare not brought to humiliation and repentance. He rebuked them by the example of the Ninevites, who, having but one shortand terrible warning from the Prophet Jonah, clothedthemselves in sackcloth, turned unto God in penitence and so preserved their city. He then rebukes another class-those whohave not curiosity enough to care to hear the Gospel, or who, if they hear it, give it no attention, as though it were notworthy of human thought.
First, He rebukes those who hear and despise the Word and then those who are of so stolid a heart as to refuse to give itan honest and candid hearing. These are shamed by the example of this Queen of the South, who came from the uttermost partsof the earth, enticed by fame to listen to the wisdomof King Solomon. He declares that her hallowed curiosity which led her to journey so far to profit by the wisdom of a man,will, in the day ofjudgment, condemn us, if we refuse to hear the voice of the Son of God, and are not moved to enquire concerningthe heavenly wisdom which Hereveals.
Will you kindly open your Bibles at the tenth chapter of the First of Kings, for I shall have to constantly refer to the historicalnarrative in order to bring out in full relief the conduct of the ancient queen. O that the Spirit of God may convince someof you of sin, by the example of thatwise-hearted woman!
The three points we shall consider this morning, with regard to the Queen of Sheba, are these-first, let us commend her forthe possession of an enquiring spirit. Then let us observe how she conducted her enquiry. And, in closing, let us remark theresult of an enquiry so well conducted.
I. First LET US COMMEND HER FOR HER ENQUIRING SPIRIT. In this point she will rise up in judgment against many here present.She was a queen. Queens have many cares, multitudes of occupations and engagements, but she neither considered it beneathher dignity to search into the wisdom of Solomon, nora waste of valuable time to journey to his dominions. How many offer the vain excuse that they cannot give due attentionto the religion of Jesus Christ for want of time? They have a large family, or a very difficult business to manage.
This woman rebukes such, for she left her kingdom and threw off the cares of State to take a long journey that she might listento the royal sage. How much rather ought men to be willing, if it were absolutely necessary, (and I believe it never is),to neglect their business for a season, that theymight find out the way of salvation for their souls? "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose hisown soul?" And, on the other hand, of what account would be his loss, though he should lose his all, if he did but find hissoul and were saved at the last? Youcannot say, any of you, that you have an excuse in the shortness of your time, or in the difficulties of your position.If the Queen of the South can come to Solomon, you also can consider the teaching of Christ.
Her royal court was, doubtless, already stored with wisdom. The princes of the eastern realms were always careful to gatherto themselves a band of wise men who found in their patronage both subsistence and honor. In the court of so great a loverof learning as was the Queen of Sheba, there wouldcertainly be a little congress of magi and wise men-and yet she was not content with what she knew already-she was determinedto search after this Divine wisdom, of which she had heard the fame. In this she rebukes those of you who think you know enough-whosupposethat your own home-spun intelligence will suffice, without sitting at the feet of Jesus.
If you dream that human wisdom can be a sufficient light without receiving the brighter beams of Revelation. If you say, "Thesethings are for the unintelligent and for the poor, we will not listen to them," this queen, whose court was full of wisdom,and yet who leaves it all to find the wisdomwhich God had given to Solomon, rebukes you. The wisdom of Jesus Christ as much surpasses all human knowledge as the sunoutshines a candle. Comparison there can be none, contrast there is much. He who will not come to the Fountain which brimswith wisdom, but trusts to his ownleaking cisterns, shall wake up too late to find himself a fool.
Consider, too, that the queen came from a very great distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon. The journey from Arabia Felix,or from Abyssinia, whichever the country may have been, was a long and dangerous one-a much more serious matter than it wouldbe in these times. And performed by theslow process of traveling by camel, the journey must have occupied a very long season. Coming, as Matthew says, "from theuttermost parts of the earth," there were doubtless mountains to be climbed, if not seas to be navigated and deserts to becrossed.
But none of these difficulties could keep her back. She hears of wisdom and wisdom she will have. So she boldly ventures uponthe journey with her numerous train, no matter how far she may have to travel. Very many have the Gospel brought to theirdoors and yet will not leave their chimney cornersto listen to it. We have thousands in London who have but to walk across the street and hear the Word and yet they lie aboutat home. And there are hundreds of others who when they do come, are inattentive under the ministry, or, if they listen, payno more real attention to it thanthough it were some old worn-out story which it is a respectable custom to hear, but which could not possibly be of anyservice to them.
The Queen of Sheba, toiling across the desert, of the weaker sex though she was, shall rise up in judgment against those whoneglect the great salvation and treat the Savior as though it were nothing to them that Jesus should die.
Do not forget, too, that this woman was a foreigner to Solomon and that she already had a religion-probably one of the olderforms of idolatry-perhaps the Sabean worship of the sun. Now, many persons argue in these times, "Would you have me changemy religion?" It is supposed to be animpertinence to imagine that a Roman Catholic could give any considerations to the claims of the religion of Free Grace.Or that men belonging to another Church should listen with anything like candid attention to a doctrine at variance with thatwhich they have heard from theiryouth. "Would you have me change my religion?"
Yes, that I would, if your religion is false. If your religion has not changed you, I would that you would change your religion-fora religion which does not renew a man's character and make him holy-which does not change his confidence and make him restupon Christ-a religionwhich does not make altogether a new man of him, from top to bottom, is a religion of no value and the sooner he gives itup the better. Because my mother or my grandmother happened to be blind, am I to be blind, too, if there is sight to be had?Suppose they dragged a heavy chainbehind them all their days, am I to drag the same, because, indeed, I sprang of their loins?
Hereditary godliness, if it is not personal godliness, is a thing of small value. But hereditary ungodliness is a most damnableheritage-get rid of it, I pray you. Remember, to your own master you stand or fall on your own account. Each soul enters throughthe gate of life alone. And throughthe iron gate of death it departs alone. Every man should search in solitary earnestness, apart from all the rest of theworld, to know what the Truth of God is, and knowing it, it is his to come out alone on the Lord's side. Yes, we would haveyou give attention to the things ofGod, even though you should have been brought up in other customs and should have honestly espoused another form of religion.Prove the spirits whether they are of God. If your soul has been deceived, there is yet time to be set right. God help you,that you may find out the Truth.
It is worthy of observation that this woman coming from afar, made a journey which was very expensive. She came with a greattrain of camels bearing spices and very much good and precious stones. She looked upon the treasures of her kingdom as onlyvaluable because they would admit her into thepresence of the keeper of the storehouse of wisdom. Now, our Lord Jesus Christ asks nothing of men except their hearts.He does not sell the Truth to any of them, but gives it freely without money and without price. And what if men will not haveit, if they refuse to lend their earsand to give their thoughts to Divine things, shall they not be utterly inexcusable when this heathen queen shall rise upand shall declare that she gave her rubies and her pearls, her spices and her camels to King Solomon, that she might learnhis human wisdom?
O Sirs, should we lose the light of our eyes and the use of our limbs, yet were it better to enter into life blind and lame,than having those eyes and limbs to be cast into Hell fire. "Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life."And if he would give all that for his temporallife, oh, how much more costly is the spiritual life and how cheap were the price if he could give a thousand martyrdomsto redeem his soul? But nothing of this kind is asked-the Gospel presents freely to every needy soul just that which he requires.It cries-"He thathas no money, let him come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." O my dear Hearers, if you have refused theinvitation of Christ's Gospel, well may you tremble at the thought that the Queen of Sheba shall rise up in judgment againstyou!
Note that this queen had received no invitation. King Solomon never bade her come. She came unsought for, unexpected. Youhave been bid to come-hundreds of times in this House of Prayer has the voice been heard crying, "The Spirit and the Bridesay, Come." Even you who are strangers to thisHouse, in every corner of the streets of this city you may hear the invitation of Christ. The Bible, which is God's writteninvitation, is in all your houses and you may search it if you will. Therefore, if you, followed with invitations and urgedwith line upon line and preceptupon precept, will not come when God's Providence brings the Gospel to your very gates, if you will not seek King Jesus,then shall you be condemned indeed, by this Queen of Sheba.
Little had she ever heard of Solomon, remember that-nothing but a rumor of his fame. Some of his ships which went to Tarshishfor gold had probably been driven by stress of weather to the Abyssinian coast, or possibly they may have gone the way fromthe head of the Red Sea round to theIndies, where probably Tarshish was situated. And so they made a common practice of calling at one of the ports of SouthernArabia or Abyssinia. From these sailors her subjects had heard strange stories of the mighty king. They had heard of his throneof gold and ivory, of the gloryof his army and the multitude of his chariots. Above all, they had heard something concerning the temple and his God.
She, influenced merely by rumor, comes that distance. Well, but we have a sure word of testimony brought to us by Prophetsand priests innumerable. We have it here in this Book, written by the Divine finger and stamped with the eternal seal. We,ourselves, know that there is wisdom in Christ, ourown consciences tell us that He is no deceiver-that His Gospel is most true and precious. What fools are we, what foolstwice told, if, with this certainty of gaining so much, we yet shrink from the glorious adventure and will not go to Him whowill give us wisdom and eternallife!
One might continue thus to show the excellence of this woman's enquiring spirit, but we have only space to notice that theobject which she journeyed after was vastly inferior to that which is proposed to our enquiry. We bid the careless soul thinkhimself of the Son of God. She went that distanceto see a son of man, a mere man, who, with all his wisdom was a fool. She journeyed all that way to see one who was wisehimself, but who had power to impart but a very small portion of his wisdom. Whereas we invite the sinner to come to one whois made of God unto us wisdom,righteousness, sanctifi-cation and redemption. We tell him that all Christ has He is ready to bestow, that His abundanceis only an abundance for others, and His fullness is that out of which all of us have received.
She went to hear a man who had wisdom-we bid you come to one who is Wisdom-Wisdom itself consolidated. Talk you of the royaltyof Solomon? We invite you to a greater king than he, who is Lord of Heaven and earth, and Hell. Speak you of his riches?-wetell you of One who hasunspeakable riches of Divine Grace and glory. True, she might gain by the journey, it was but a probability-but whoevercomes to Christ becomes rich to all the intents of bliss. No soul ever trafficked with our Solomon without being at once enriched.If he came empty-handed,poor, feeble, naked and sinful to accept from our Jesus His great salvation, he was never sent away empty. You that despisethe Gospel, who go in and out of the place of worship as those doors turn upon their hinges, take heed, lest this Queen ofthe South rise up in judgmentagainst you to condemn you.
II. Let us observe to this queen's worthy commendation, HOW SHE CONDUCTED THE ENQUIRY. Observe that she did it in person.She did not send an ambassador to go and search into the matter, but personally and on her own account, she set out to seeSolomon himself. Was it not the Duke of Wellingtonwho, on one occasion rebuked one of his officers for railing against the Bible, by asking him if he had ever read it andwhen the other frankly confessed he had not, showed him how base it was to find fault with that which he did not understand?
Most persons who object to the religion of Christ have never investigated it. This I am sure of, no man has ever had an intelligentidea of the Person of the Savior, of the graciousness of His work, who ever could think or speak against Him afterward. Wattsis correct when he says-
"His worth, if all the nations Anew, Sure the whole world would love Him, too."
To know, to comprehend the Character and office and work of Jesus Christ is the road to obtaining an earnest faith in Himand love towards Him.
Nor can I think that any man did ever honestly enquire at the hand of Christ what that gracious mystery is that He came toteach, without receiving from Him a gracious smile of encouragement. Whosoever will be converted let him become as a littlechild. And becoming as a little child and sitting atthe feet of Jesus, he shall get the treatment of all other little children-he shall hear the Master say, "Of such is thekingdom of Heaven." The honest seeker after the Lord Jesus, who personally draws near in earnest prayer and humble entreaty,shall find peace and good.
Remark, in the next place, that the queen went first of all to Solomon. She went and she went to Solomon. The way to learnthe faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to go to Him. Some people want to begin at the doctrine of election and so they stumbleat the stumbling stone. Some must learn, first ofall, where predestination meets free will-and if they cannot see that, they turn aside with disgust. Others would removethe difficulties of the Pentateuch, or solve the problems of geology. But if they were wise, they would go at once to theMaster Himself. I find not thatshe enquired of the butlers, of Adoniram who was over the tribute, or even of the king's mighty men, the Cherethites andPelethites, but she sought Solomon.
From his own lips, from him immediately and directly she will get the resolution of her knotty questions and understand hiswisdom. Go to God, poor Soul, in Christ Jesus. Straightforward makes the best runner. There are things which will puzzle you,there are depths too deep for you, but go to Godin Christ Jesus hanging upon yonder Cross. Reflect upon the mystery of His great Atonement and yield your faith up to it-andyou shall then begin to understand the wisdom of our mighty Solomon. If you cannot comprehend all teaching, may the Spiritenable you to grasp HisPerson and that is enough.
When she had obtained an audience of the king, observe what she did-"She told him all that was in her heart." This is theway to know the Lord-tell Him all that is in your heart. Your doubts, your fears, your hardness of heart and impenitence-confessthe whole. That man is near toknowing Christ who begins to know himself. And he who will confess as much as he knows of his own corruption, depravity,sinfulness, necessities and inabilities, shall soon have a gracious answer of peace.
Tarry not because your heart is vile, it is viler than you think it is-but go with it just as it is and tell Jesus all. Areyou like the woman with the issue of blood? I pray you tell Him all the truth and He will say, "Your faith has made you whole."Why do you try to hide anything fromOmniscience? He knows the corners of your heart, the deep places and the dark places there are in His hands. If you shouldtell Him He will know no more! Why then do you hesitate? Tear off the veil from your heart and then you shall find mercy.
Moreover, she proposed to Solomon her hard questions. I do not know what they were, and I do not particularly care. The Jewishrabbis have invented a few very stupid ones, which they say were her hard questions. But I know if you come to our Solomon,to Christ, these will be your hard questions,"My Lord, how can mercy and justice kiss each other? How can God forgive sin and yet punish it?" Jesus will point you toHis wounded hands and feet, He will tell you of His great Atonement, how by a substitution God is dreadful in His justiceand boundless in His love. Then you willput to Him the question, "How can a sinful creature be accepted in the sight of a holy God?"
He will tell you of His righteousness and you will see how, covered with the imputed righteousness of the Redeemer, a sinfulsoul is as acceptable before the Lord as though it had never offended. You will say to Him, "Can you tell me, Jesus, how itis that a weak soul with no power shall yet beable to fight with the devil and overcome the world, the flesh and Satan?" And Jesus will answer, "My Grace is sufficientfor you. My strength shall be perfect in your weakness," and so, all the knotty questions will be answered. No, if you arepuzzled about electing love, oranything else in Scripture, if you will tell Him all that is in your heart and be willing to learn from Him, there is nohard question which your soul can suggest, but Jesus Christ will answer it.
This good woman, in pursuing her enquiry, listened carefully to what Solomon told her. It is said he answered all her questions.Oh, there is a blessed communion between Christ and a trembling soul. If you will tell Him all your failings, He will tellyou all His merit. If you will tell Him yourweakness, He will tell you all His strength. If you will tell Him your distance from God, He will tell you His nearnessto God. If you will show Him how hard your heart is, He will tell you how His heart was broken that you might live. Be notafraid, only make a clear revelation toHim and trust in Him and He will make a sweet Revelation to you.
When she had gone thus far, she went on to notice everything in connection with Solomon. The Queen of Sheba saw "the wisdomof Solomon. And the house that he had built." She did not notice the house first, you see, she went to Solomon first. A seekingsoul goes to Christ first, tells Him her heart,learns the love of Jesus, and then afterward sets to work to learn everything else about Jesus. Now, it is very pleasantto a seeking soul to find out the house which Christ has built-His glorious Church built of costly stones purchased by Hisown blood. It is built of greatstones-great sinners made into great trophies of His love-made of hewn stones, stones hewn out of the quarry of sin, cutand shaped by His own Grace to lie in our predestined niche forever.
It is a glorious thing to understand Christ's Church-to know the foundations of it-laid in the Covenant of Grace. The pinnaclesof it towering to the highest Heaven. The great Master who reigns in it, Jesus Christ, who is Head over all things to HisChurch-her glorious windowsletting in light through the ordinances and the preaching of the Word- her doors that admit in the saints-her gates of brassand bars of steel shutting out the devils of Hell and all the thieves and robbers that would break in. There is enough tooccupy a soul for yearsin understanding the house which Jesus has built.
Then she observed "the meat of his table." "For My flesh is meat, indeed, and My blood is drink, indeed." Oh, how ravishingto a poor soul to discover that Christ, who is our life, is also the staff of life-"I am that living bread. Your fathers dideat manna in the wilderness and are dead. Hethat eats of the bread that I shall give him, shall never hunger and shall never thirst." Oh, the meat of His table! Whatluxuries! Men, indeed, did eat angels' food, but-
"Never did angels taste above, Redeeming Grace and dying love." What sweet food-what satisfying food-what abundant food-whatconstant provisions-what rare provisions, too!
In the same book of Kings you will find how many fallow deer and roebucks and bushels of fine corn and fat oxen and birdsKing Solomon had to put upon his table every day. But my Lord and Master places the infinite treasures of His own Person uponHis table every day and sends out the summons toHis children-"All things are ready. My oxen and fat-lings are killed. Come you to the supper." Happy soul that knows concerningthe meat of His table!
She looked next to "the sitting of his servants." See how we sit to learn at the feet of Jesus-how we sit to commune at thefeet of Jesus, as Mary did-no, how some of the servants today are sitting up yonder in glory-no, all of them are there-forHe has raised us up togetherand made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Oh, if the soul ever comes to know what "sitting in heavenlyplaces" means-what being in Heaven means while we are on earth-then the sitting of the servants will be a marvel!
And the next were "his ministers." Well, and Christ has ministers everywhere. Streams and tempests are His servants-cloudsand darkness are His slaves. "Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere." Think of His ministers that are in Heaven-"Hemakes His angels spirits, Hisministers a flame of fire." And then there are His ministers here on earth, who may be called His cupbearers. There arethose whom He has called out from among men and gifted to preach the Word, who take the cup of salvation in their hands andbear it to fainting souls, and in thename of Jesus act as His butlers. For so it is in the margin-like good stewards bringing out of His treasury things newand old.
There is a near connection between faithful ministers and Christ. For when John saw Christ, He walked among the candlesticks-thatis, in the Churches. But He had the stars in His right hand. So are His ministers ever there, and thus their being taughtand owned of the Lord is a subject worthyof wonder. Happy soul that has learned to see the beauty of Christ in His ministers and cupbearers. And their apparel-ah,here is a subject! Why, this is the apparel of all His saints-the white linen of the righteousness of Christ.
And then those priestly garments with which He girds His people, so that they, as the high priest of old, make music as theywalk, while the sweet bells of faith and the pomegranates of good works sweetly smite together and give forth golden notes."Her clothing shall be of worked gold," says thesweet Psalmist, when he sings of the Church. "She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework." Now such isthe apparel of every child of God, and it is little wonder if an enquiring soul like the Queen of Sheba should be made tomarvel at it.
There remained one thing more-the most wonderful of all-it was "his ascent to the house of the Lord," the gigantic viaductfrom the palace to the temple. She looked at that. "Why," she said, "I never thought that such a valley could be bridged,I never dreamed that ever two suchmountains as those, so wide apart, could be brought so close together." As she saw the king and his royal train walk alongthe viaduct, her soul was utterly astonished. Methinks I see my King's ascent to the House of the Lord. There was the mountainof our Fall and ruin, and yonderthe great mountain of God's love and a valley of Divine justice went between. Jesus Christ has built a noble viaduct. Hefirst trod it Himself, opening for us a new and living way of access between man and God. He Himself ascends up on high, withtrumpets' joyful sounds, and opensthe gate of Heaven to all Believers, by thus making an ascent to the House of the Lord.
You and I may ascend unto His holy hill, may climb to the seventh Heaven and sit down with Christ upon His Throne, even asHe has overcome and has sat down with the Father upon His Throne. Oh, glorious ascent to the House of the Lord! I think theSeptuagint version reads it, "And histhank-offerings in the House of the Lord." Well, that is the same thing, because our Savior's sacrifice is the living wayby which we ascend into the holy hill of the Lord. If nothing else can fill one with wonder, we must be amazed even in eternity,to think of His matchlessoffering. He gave His body to be wrung with anguish and His soul to be torn with grief-"who, though He was rich, for oursakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich." The first-born sons of light desire in vain to know thedepth of this love, they cannotreach the mystery, the length and height of this glorious ascent to the House of the Lord.
Do note that she did not begin with all this. You see she began with Solomon. She did not begin with the ascent to the Houseof the Lord, much less with the ministers and butlers-she began with the king himself. Sinner, begin with Jesus. Let yourfirst enquiry be, "Is there balm in Gilead? Isthere a physician there?" Let your cry be that of the startled jailer, "What must I do to be saved?" Like he, obey the Apostolicinjunction, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved."
May the Holy Spirit bring you to this, and then afterward He shall lead you into all the Truth of God. He shall take the keysand open room after room and cabinet after cabinet, and casket after casket, till He has shown you all the crown jewels andrevealed to you the regalia of the King of kings,and let you into the secret of the heart of God in Christ Jesus your Lord. Only be willing, like the Queen of Sheba, tosearch. For, if not, her wisdom in her enquiry shall rise up in judgment against you to condemn you.
III. And now, thirdly, let us note THE RESULT OF OUR ENQUIRY. The first result was a confession of faith. "It was a true reportthat I heard in my own land, of your acts and of your wisdom." She did not hold her tongue and go slinking back to Abyssiniawithout a single word of confession-buthaving tested and being convicted-she could not refuse giving her testimony to the truth of the rumor.
Soul, if you shall come to Jesus Christ and try Him, when you shall have joy and peace in believing, you will say it was atrue report. Why, I have seen hundreds and thousands who have given their hearts to Jesus, but I never did see one that saidhe was disappointed in it, never met with one whosaid Jesus Christ was less than He was declared to be. I remember when first these eyes beheld Him, when the burden slippedfrom off my heavy-laden shoulders, and I was free. Why, I thought this, that all the preachers I had ever heard had not halfpreached, they had not half toldthe beauty of my Lord and Master. So good! So generous! So gracious! So willing to forgive! It seemed to me as if they hadalmost slandered Him.
They painted His likeness, doubtless, as well as they could, but it was a mere smudge compared with the matchless beautiesof His face. You that have ever seen Him will say the same. I go back many a time to my home, mourning that I cannot preachmy Master even as I, myself, know Him-and whatI know of Him is so little compared with the match-lessness of His Grace. Would that I knew Him more and that I could explainit better! Instead of thinking that your trust in Christ has been an unprofitable speculation, you will exclaim with joy,"The half has not been told me."She expressed, then, her faith in Solomon. And oh, if you have any faith and have found Him to be true, out with it! Benot secret Believers, but stand forward for your Lord and Master.
Next she made a confession of her unbelief. "Howbeit I believed not the words until I came and my eyes had seen it: and, behold,the half was not told me: your wisdom and prosperity exceeds the fame which I heard." "I did not believe it," said she, "untilI came and saw." It is the way with you. Wehave to cry, "Who has believed our report?" Men will not readily believe our report, but when you once come and try it,you will think, "How could I have doubted, how could I ever have been unbelieving?" God forgives your unbelief, but you willnever forgive yourselves. You willsay, me-thinks, even in Heaven, "How could I have been so foolish as to doubt the message which came to me from the MostHigh." Does not faith always lead to a sense of unbelief? And when most of all we have learned not to stagger, is it not thenwe discover more and more how vile athing it is to doubt the Word of the Most High?
Having done this, she declared that her anticipations were exceeded. Upon that we will say no more and only add that nextshe spoke a kind word for his servants-"Happy are your men, happy are these, your servants, which stand continually beforeyou and that hear your wisdom." Why she thoughtthat every little page in Solomon's court was more honored than she was! She was a queen, but then she was a queen of adistant land and so she seems to have drunk in the spirit of David when he said, "I had rather be a doorkeeper in the houseof my God than dwell in the tents ofwickedness." She seemed almost willing to give up Sheba and all its spices and its gold, if she might but be a maid of honorin the court of king Solomon!
I am sure that is the way with any of us who have ever been to Jesus. How we love His people! You are no lover of Christ ifyou do not love His children. As soon as ever the heart is given to the Master of the house, it is given to the children ofthe house. Love Christ and you will soon love allthat love Him. Do you not, dear Friends, esteem the people of God to be the excellent of the earth? Are they not all yourdelight? Time was, if they dropped into your house, you looked at the clock for fear they should talk too long upon religioussubjects. But now, if they will buttalk of your Master, they may stop all night if they like. Now you feel it so pleasant to speak of His name, that if youmeet a Christian you feel a love to him-and if he is despised and his character is slandered, you feel you must stand up forhim.
I know some of you wish you could always be in God's House. There are some children of God in this place who are here wheneverthe door is opened. They wish there were seven Sundays in the week that they could always sit and hear the name of Jesus.They delight to see His minister and rejoice thatsometimes the cupbearer brings forth the spiced wine of the Lord's pomegranate and bids His children drink of it even tothe full.
This good woman next blessed Solomon's God in these beautiful words-"Blessed be the Lord your God, which delights in you,to set you on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore made He you king to do judgment and justice."She blessed his God. So we are drawn toa sweet union of heart to God through a knowledge of Christ, and as our love flows downward from Christ to His people, soit goes upward from Christ to His Father.
You will notice that she avowed her love to Him because of His everlasting love to His people. Notice she does not say anythingabout Abyssinia-she is thinking about Israel, about the chosen. She sees distinguishing, discriminating, electing love-andshe perceives the everlastingness ofthis love-"Because He loved Israel forever, therefore He has made you king." O Brothers and Sisters, may we so grow in DivineGrace that we may love the Father because He has made Christ to be the Anointed-because He loved His Church and gave His Sonfor it, that Hemight cleanse it from all sin by His own precious blood!
Once more, she then did what was the best proof of her truthfulness, she gave to Solomon of her treasures-"She gave the kinga hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store and precious stones there came no more such abundanceof spices as these which the Queen of Shebagave to King Solomon." And so souls that know the beauty of Christ give Him all they have. There are no such spices as thosewhich come from newly-converted souls. Nothing gives Christ greater delight than the love of His people. We think our loveto be a very poor and common thing,but He does not think so-He has set such a store by us that He gave His heart's blood to redeem us.
And now He looks upon us as being worth the price He paid. He never will think that He had a bad bargain of it and so He looksupon every grain of our love as being even choicer spices than archangels before the Throne can render to Him in their songs.What are we doing for Christ? Are we bringingHim our talents of gold? Perhaps you have not one hundred and twenty, but if you have one, bring that.
You have not very much spices, but bring what you have-your silent, earnest prayers, your holy, consistent life, the wordsyou sometimes speak for Christ, the training up of your children, the feeding of His poor, the clothing of the naked, thevisitation of the sick and those in prison, thecomforting of His mourners, the winning of His wanderers, the restoring of His backsliders, the saving of His blood-boughtsouls-all these shall be like camels laden with spices-an acceptable gift to the Most High.
When she had done this, Solomon made her a present of his royal bounty. She lost nothing. She gave all she had and then Solomongave her quite as much again, for I will be bound to say King Solomon would not be outdone in generosity, such a noble-heartedprince as he and so rich. I tell you, JesusChrist will never be in your debt. Oh, it is a great gain to give to Christ. We give Him pence and He gives us pounds. Wegive Him years of labor and He gives us an eternity of rest. We give Him days of patient endurance and He gives us ages ofjoyous honor. We give Him a littlesuffering and He gives us great rewards.
"I reckon that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed inus." Besides what He gives us in the Covenant of Grace, you note, He does for us what Solomon did for her, He gives us allthat is in our heart, all that we can desire. What aKing is our Savior who will not let His people have one ungrati-fied wish, if that wish is a good one! Knock and the gateshall open. "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it," says the Lord. "According to your faith so be it done unto you." "Whatsoeveryou ask in prayer believethat you have it and you shall have it." What precious promises! And all these are given to those who come with a humbleenquiry, willing to get Christ first and then to get the rest afterward.
Well, Beloved, we are told that this Queen went home to her nation and tradition says that she was the means ofproselytizingthe Abyssinian people. I do not know whether that was true or not. It is remarkable that in the Apostles' days, there shouldhave been an eunuch, a man of great authorityunder Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. It looks as if there may have lingered something of the Divine light in this woman's dominionsright on to the day of the Savior, so that there was found another queen there at that time and another noble personage whowould come all that distanceto Jerusalem to worship.
Well, whether she did or not, I know what you ought to do. If you have come to King Solomon and searched and found for yourselves,go and spread the fame of it. Talk about Him everywhere. It was the fame of Him that first brought you-increase that fameand others will come. Talk of Him whenyou stay in your house and when you go by the way, when you sit down and when you rise up. Count no place to be an unfitplace to talk of Jesus. Bear Him in your bosom in your business. Carry Him in your heart in your pleasures. Wear His nameas a frontlet between your eyes andwrite it on the doorposts of your house-for He is worthy for Whom you shall do this.
His name shall be remembered as long as the sun, and men shall be blessed in Him-yes, all men shall call Him blessed, allkings shall fall down before Him. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts, the whole earth shall be filled with Hisglory. Amen and amen! The prayers of David, theson of Jesse, were ended. And so shall ours be, too, when that consummation shall have really taken place.