The Queen of the South, or the Earnest Enquirer
"The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”—Matthew xii. 42.
OUR Saviour, in this chapter, administered a rebuke to two sorts of people. He reproved those who hear the gospel, but who are not brought to humiliation and repentance; he rebuked them by the example of the Ninevites, who, having but one short and terrible warning from the prophet Jonah, clothed themselves in sackcloth, turned unto God in penitence, and so preserved their city. He then rebukes another class—those who have not curiosity enough to care to hear the gospel, or who, if they hear it, give it no attention, as though it; were not worthy of human thought. First, he rebukes those who near and despise the Word, and then those who are of so stolid a heart as to refuse to give it an honest and candid hearing; these are shamed by the example of this Queen of the South, who came from the uttermost most parts of the earth, enticed by fame to listen to the wisdom of 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 of judgment, condemn us, if we refuse to hear the voice of the Son of God, and are not moved to enquire concerning the heavenly wisdom which he reveals.
Will you kindly open your Bibles at the tenth chapter of the First of Kings, for I shall have constantly to refer to the historical narrative, in order to bring out in full relief the conduct of the ancient queen. O that the Spirit of God may convince some of you of sin, by the example of that wise-hearted woman!
The three points we shall consider this morning, with regard to the Queen of Sheba, are these: first, let us commend her for the possession of an enquiring spirit; then let us observe how she conducted her enquiry; and, in closing, let us remark the result 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 beneath her dignity to search into the wisdom of Solomon, nor a waste of valuable time to journey to his dominions. How many offer the vain excuse that they cannot give due attention to 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 listen to the royal sage. How much the rather ought men even to be willing, if it were absolutely necessary (and I believe it never is), even to neglect their business for a season, that they might find out the way of salvation for their souls. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” And, on the other hand, of what account would be his loss, though he should lose his all, if he did but find his soul, and were saved at the last? You cannot say, any of you, hence-forward, 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 gather to themselves a band of wise men, who found in their patronage both subsistence and honour. In the court of so great a lover of learning as was the Queen of Sheba, there would certainly be a little congress of magi and wise men, but yet she was not content with what she knew already, she was determined to search after this divine wisdom, of which she had heard the fame. In this she rebukes those of you who think you know enough; who suppose that 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, “These things 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 wisdom which God had given to Solomon, rebukes you. The wisdom of Jesus Christ as much surpasses all human knowledge as the sun outshines a candle. Comparison there can be none, contrast there is much. He who will not come to the fountain which brims with wisdom, but trusts to his own leaking cisterns, shall wake up too late to find himself self 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 would be in these times; and performed by the slow process of the camel-back, the journey must have occupied a very long season. Coming, as Matthew says, “from the uttermost parts of the earth,” there were doubtless mountains to be climbed, if not seas to be navigated, and deserts to be crossed; but of these difficulties could keep her back. She hears of wisdom, and wisdom she will have. So she boldly ventures upon the journey with her numerous train, no matter how far she may have to travel. Very many have the gospel brought to their doors, and yet will not leave their chimney-corners to listen to it. We have thousands in London who have but to walk across the street and hear the Word, and yet they lie about at home; and there are hundreds of others who when they do come, are inattentive under the ministry, or, if they listen, pay no more real attention to it than though it were some old worn-out story which it is a respectable custom to hear, but which could not possibly be of any service to them. The Queen of Sheba, toiling across the desert, of the weaker sex though she was, shall rise up in judgment against those who neglect the great salvation and treat the Saviour 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 had a religion already— probably one of the older forms of idolatry, perhaps the Sabean worship of the sun. Now, many persons argue in these times, “Would you have me change my religion?” It is supposed to be an impertinence 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 that which they have heard from their youth. “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, for a religion which does not renew a man's character and make him holy—which does not change his confidence, and make him rest upon Christ—a religion which does not make altogether a new man of him, from top to bottom, is a religion of no value, and the sooner he gives it up the better. Because my mother or my grandmother happened to be blind, why am I to be blind too, if there is sight to be had? Suppose they dragged a heavy chain behind them all their days, am I to drag the same, because, forsooth, I sprang of their loins? Hereditary godliness, if it be not personal godliness ness, is ever a thing of small value; but hereditary ungodliness is a most damnable heritage—get rid of it, I pray you. Remember to your own master, you stand or fall on your own account. Each soul enters through the gate of life alone; and through the iron gate of death it departs alone; every man should search in solitary earnestness, apart from all the rest of the world, to know what the truth is, and knowing it, it is his to come out alone on the Lord’s side. Yes, we would have you give attention to the things of God, 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 be 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 cost her very much expense. She came with a great train, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. She looked upon the treasures of her kingdom as only valuable, because they would admit her into the presence of the keeper of the storehouse of wisdom. Now, our Lord Jesus Christ asks nothing of men except their hearts. He doth not sell the truth to any of them, but gives it freely without money and without price. And what if men will not have it, if they refuse to lend their ears; and to give their thoughts to divine things, shall they not be utterly inexcusable when this heathen queen shall rise up and shall declare that she gave her rubies and her pearls, her spices and her camels to King Solomon, that she might learn his 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, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life and if he would give all that for his temporal life, oh! how much more costly is the spiritual life, and how cheap were the price if he could give a thousand martyrdoms to 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 that hath no money, let him come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” O my dear hearers, if you have refused the invitation of Christ's gospel, well may you tremble at the thought, that the Queen of Sheba shall rise up in judgment against you.
Note that this queen had received no invitation; King Solomon never bade her come; she came unsought for, unexpected. You have been bidden to come—hundreds of times in this house of prayer has the voice been heard crying, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come.” Even you who are strangers to this house, in every corner of the streets of this city, may hear the invitation of Christ. The Bible, which is God's written invitation, is in all your houses, and ye may search it if you will. Therefore, if you, followed with invitations, and urged with line upon line and precept upon precept, will not come when God’s providence brings the gospel to your very gates, if you will not seek King Jesus, then shall ye be condemned indeed, by this Queen of Sheba. Little had she ever heard of Solomon, remember that— nothing but a rumour of his fame. Some of his ships which went to Tarshish for gold, had probably been driven by stress of weather to the Abyssinian coast, or possibly that may have been the way from the head of the Red Sea round to the Indies, where probably Tarshish was situated, and so they made a common practice of calling at one of the ports of Southern Arabia or Abyssinia. From these sailors her subjects had heard strange stories of the mighty king. They had heard of his throne of gold and ivory, of the glory of his army, and the multitude of his chariots; above all, they had heard something concerning the temple and his God. She, influenced merely by rumour, comes that distance. Well, but we, we have a sure word of testimony brought to us by prophets and 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, our own consciences tell us that he is no deceiver; that his gospel is most true and precious. What fools are we, what fools twice told, if, with this certainty of gaining so much, we yet shrink from the glorious adventure, and will not go to him who will give us wisdom and eternal life.
One might continue thus to show the excellence of this woman's enquiring spirit, but we have only space to notice that the object which she journeyed after was vastly inferior to that which is proposed to our enquiry. We bid the careless soul bethink himself of the Son of God; she went that distance to 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 wise himself, but who had power to impart but a very small portion of his wisdom, whereas we invite the sinner to come to one who is made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; tell him that all Christ hath he is ready to bestow, that his abundance dance is only an abundance for others, and his fulness 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 ye of the royalty of Solomon?—we invite you to a greater king than he, who is Lord of heaven, and earth, and hell. Speak ye of his riches?—we tell you of one who hath unspeakable riches of grace and glory. True, she might gain by the journey, it was but a probability, but whosoever cometh 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. Ye that despise the gospel, who go in and out of the place of worship as those doors turn upon their hinges, take heed, lest this Queen of the South rise up in judgment against 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 depute an ambassador to go and search into the matter, but personally, and on her own account, she set out to see Solomon himself. Was it not the Duke of Wellington who, on one occasion rebuked one of his officers for railing against the Bible, by asking him if he had ever read it, and when 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 intelligent idea of the person of the Saviour, of the graciousness of his work, who ever could think or speak against him afterwards. Watts is correct when he says:—
"His worth, if all the nations knew,
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 him and 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 to teach, without receiving from him a gracious smile of encouragement. Whosoever ever will be converted let him become as a little child, and becoming as a little child, and sitting at the feet of Jesus, he shall get the treatment of all other little children, he shall hear the Master say, “Of such is the kingdom 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 learn the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, is to go to him. Some people want to begin at the doctrine of election, and so they stumble at the stumbling-stone stone. Some must learn first of all where predestination meets free will, and if they cannot see that, they turn aside with disgust. Others would remove the difficulties of the Pentateuch, or solve the problems of geology; but if they were wise, they would go at once to the Master himself. I find not that she enquired of the butlers, of Adoniram who was over the tribute, or even of the king's mighty men, the Cherethites and Pelethites, but she sought for Solomon; from his own lips, from him immediately and directly she will get the resolution of her knotty questions, and understand his wisdom. Go thou to God, poor soul, in Christ Jesus. Straightforward makes the best runner; there are things which will puzzle thee, there are depths too deep for thee, but go thou to God in Christ Jesus hanging upon yonder cross, reflect upon the mystery of his great atonement, and yield thy faith up to it and thou shalt then begin to understand the wisdom of our mighty Solomon. If you cannot comprehend all teaching, may the Spirit enable you to grasp his person, and it 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 the way to know the Lord; tell him all that is in your heart; your doubts, your fears, your hardness ness of heart and impenitence; confess the whole. That man is near to knowing Christ who begins to know himself; and he who will tell out as much as he knoweth of his own corruption and depravity, and sinfulness ness and necessities, and inabilities, shall soon have a gracious answer of peace. Tarry not because thy heart is vile, it is viler than thou thinkest it is, but go with it just as it is, and tell Jesus all. Art thou like the woman with the issue of blood? I pray thee tell him all the truth, and he will say, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” Why dost thou try to hide anything from omniscience. He knows the corners of thy heart, the deep places and the dark places thereof are in his hands. If thou shouldst tell him he will know no more, wherefore then dost thou hesitate? Tear off the veil from thy heart, and then thou shalt find mercy.
Moreover, she proposed to Solomon her hard questions. I do not know what they were, and I do not particularly care. The Jewish rabbis 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 to his wounded hands and feet, he will tell you of his great atonement, how by a substitution God is dreadful in his justice and boundless in his love. Then you will put 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 sinful soul is as acceptable before the Lord as though it had never offended. You will say to him, “Canst thou tell me, Jesus, how it is that a weak soul with no power, shall yet be able to fight with the devil and overcome the world, the flesh and the devil?” And Jesus will answer, “My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength shall be perfect in thy weakness;” and so, all the knotty questions will be answered. Nay, if you are puzzled about electing love, or aught else in Scripture, if you will tell him all that is in your heart, and be willing to learn from him, there is no hard 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 told her 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 tell you all his merit ; if you will tell him your weakness, he will tell you all his strength; if you will tell him your distance from God, he will tell you his nearness to 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 not afraid, only make a clear revelation to him 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 connexion with Solomon. The Queen of Sheba saw “the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built" She did not notice the house first, you see, she went to Solomon first. A seeking soul goes to Christ first, tells him her heart, learns the love of Jesus, and then afterwards sets to work to learn everything else about Jesus. Now, it is very pleasant to a seeking soul to find out the house which Christ has built—his glorious Church built of costly stones purchased by his own blood; built of great stones—great sinners made into great trophies of his love; made of hewn stones, stones hewn out of the quarry of sin, cut and shaped by his own grace to lie in our predestined niche for ever. It is a glorious thing to understand Christ's Church, to know the foundations of it, laid in the covenant of grace; the pinnacles of it towering to the highest heaven; the great Master who reigns in it, Jesus Christ, who is head over all things to his Church—her glorious windows letting in light through the ordinances and the preaching of the Word—her doors that admit in the saints—her gates of brass and bars of steel shutting out the devils of hell and all the thieves and robbers that would break in. There is enough to occupy a soul for years in understanding the house which Jesus hath built.
Then she observed “the meat of his table" “For my fiesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” Oh! how ravishing to a poor soul to discover that Christ, who is our life, is also the staff of life: “I am that living bread. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead; he that cateth of the bread that I shall give him, shall never hunger and shall never thirst.” Oh, the meat of his table; what luxuries! 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—what constant 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 birds, King Solomon had to put upon his table every day; but my Lord and Master places the infinite treasures of his own person upon his table every day, and sends out the summons to his children—“All things are ready; my oxen and fatlings are killed; come ye to the supper.” Happy soul, that knows concerning the meat of his table!
She looked next to “the sitting of his servants.” All his saints are in thy hands—they sat down at thy feet? See how we sit to learn at the feet of Jesus—how we sit to commune at the feet of Jesus, as Mary did—nay, how some of the servants to-day y are setting up yonder in glory—nay, all of them are there—for he hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Oh, if the soul ever comes to know what “sitting in heavenly places” means—what being in heaven means, while we are on earth, then the sitting of the servants will be a marvel.
And the next was “his ministers.” Well, and Christ hath ministers everywhere. Storms and tempests are his servants—clouds and darkness are his slaves. “Remember that omnipotence hath servants everywhere.” Think of his ministers that are in heaven—“He maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flame of fire.” And then there are his ministers here on earth, who may be called his cupbearers. There are those whom he has called out from among men, and gifted to preach the Word, who take the cup of salvation in their hands, and bear it to fainting souls, and in the name of Jesus act as his butlers; for so it is in the margin; like good stewards bringing out of his treasury things new and old. There is a near connexion between faithful ministers and Christ; for when John saw Christ, he walked among the candlesticks—that is, in the Churches; but he had the stars in his right hand. So are his ministers ever there, and thus their being taught and owned of the Lord, is a subject worthy of 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 they walk, 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 wrought gold,” says the sweet psalmist, when he sings of the Church. “She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework.” Now such is the apparel of every child of God, and it is little wonder if an enquiring soul like the Queen of Sheba should be made to marvel at it.
There remained one thing more—the most wonderful of all—it was “his ascent to the house of the Lord,” the gigantic viaduct from 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 such mountains as those, so wide apart, could be brought so close together.” As she saw the king and his royal train walk along the viaduct, her soul was utterly astonished. Methinks I see my King's ascent to the house of the Lord. There was the mountain of our fall and ruin, and yonder the great mountain of God's love and a valley of divine justice went between. Jesus Christ has built a noble viaduct; he first trod it himself, opening for us a new and living way of access between man and God; he himself ascends up on high, with trumpets’ joyful sound, and opens the 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 as he has overcome and has sat down with the Father upon his throne. Oh, glorious ascent to the house of the Lord! I think the Septuagint version reads it, “And his thank-offerings offerings in the house of the Lord.” Well, that is the same thing; because our Saviour's sacrifice is the living way by 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 matchless offering. He gave his body to be wrung with anguish, and his soul to be torn with grief; “who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich." The first-born sons of light desire in vain to know the depth of this love, they cannot reach 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 house of the Lord, much less with the ministers and butlers,—she began with the king himself. Sinner, begin with Jesus; let thy first enquiry be, “Is there balm in Gilead? is there a physician there?” Let your cry be that of the startled jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” Like him, obey the apostolic injunction, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” May the Holy Spirit bring you to this, and then afterwards he shall lead you into all truth; he shall take the keys, and open room after room, and cabinet after cabinet, and casket after casket, till he has shown you all the crown jewels, and revealed 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, to search; 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 HER ENQUIRY.
The first result was a confession of faith. “It was a true report that I heard in mine own land, of thy acts and of thy wisdom.” She did not hold her tongue and go slinking back to Abyssinia without a single word of confession, but having tested and being convinced, she could not refuse giving her testimony to the truth of the rumour. Soul, if thou shalt come to Jesus Christ, and try him when thou shalt have joy and peace in believing, thou wilt say it was a true report. Why, I have seen hundreds and thousands who have given their hearts to Jesus, but I never did see one that said he was disappointed in it, never met with one who said Jesus Christ was less than he was declared to be. I remember when first these eyes beheld him, when the burden slipped from off my heavy-laden shoulders, and I was free, why, I thought this, that all the preachers I had ever heard had not half preached, they had not half told the beauty of my Lord and Master. So good! so generous! so gracious! so willing to forgive! It seemed to me as if they had almost slandered him; they painted his likeness doubtless as well as they could, but it was a mere smudge compared with the matchless beauties of 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 preach ray Master even as I myself know him, and what I know of him is so little compared with the matchlessness of his grace. Would that I knew him more, and that I could tell it out better. Instead of thinking that your trust in Christ has been an unprofitable speculation, yon 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; be not 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 mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.” “I did not believe it,” said she, “until I came and saw.” It is the way with you. We have to cry, “Who hath believed our report?” Men will not readily believe upon 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 will never forgive yourselves. You will say, methinks, even in heaven, “How could I have been so foolish as to doubt the message which came to me from the Most High.” Does not faith always lead to a sense of unbelief, and when most of all we have learned not to stagger, is it not then we discover more and more how vile a thing 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 next she spoke a kind word for his servants—“Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.” Why she thought that every little page in Solomon's court was more honoured than she was. She was a queen, but then she was a queen of a distant land, and so she seems to have drank in the spirit of David when he said, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” She seemed almost willing to give up Sheba, and all its spices and its gold, if she might but be a maid of honour in 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 if you 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 of the house. Love Christ and you will soon love all that love him. Do you not, dear friends, esteem the people of God to be the excellent of the earth? Are they not all your delight? Time was, if they dropped into your house, you looked at the clock for fear they should talk too long upon religious subjects; but now, if they will but talk of your Master, they may stop all night if they like. Now you feel it so pleasant to speak of his name, that if you meet a Christian you feel a love to him; and if he is despised and his character is slandered, you feel you must stand up for him. 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 whenever the door is opened, who wish there were seven Sundays in the week, that they could always sit and hear the name of Jesus and see his minister, and rejoice that sometimes the cupbearer bringeth forth the spiced wine of the Lord's pomegranate and bids his children drink of it even to the full.
This good woman next blessed Solomon's God in these beautiful Words—“Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighteth in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king to do judgment and justice.” She blessed his God. So we are drawn to a sweet union of heart to God through a knowledge of Christ, and as our love flows downward ward from Christ to his people, so it 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 anything about Abyssinia— she is thinking about Israel, about the chosen. She sees distinguishing, discriminating, electing love, and she perceives the everlastingness of this love—“Because he loved Israel for ever, therefore he has made thee king.” O brethren and sisters, may we so grow in grace that we may love the Father because he hath made Christ to be the anointed for this reason, because he loved his Church and gave his Son for it, that he might 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 king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.” And so souls that know the beauty of Christ give him all they have. There are no such spices as those which come from newly-converted souls. Nothing gives Christ greater delight than the love of his people. We think our love to 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 looks upon 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 bringing him 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 ye have—your silent, earnest prayers, your holy, consistent life, the words you sometimes speak for Christ, the training up of your children, the feeding of his poor, the clothing of the naked, the visitation of the sick, the comforting of his mourners, the winning of his wanderers, the restoring of his backsliders, the saving of his blood-bought souls—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 Solomon gave her quite as much again, for I will be bound to say King Solomon would not be outdone in generosity, such a noble-hearted prince as he, and so rich. I tell you Jesus Christ 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; we give him years of labour and he gives us an eternity of rest; we give him days of patient endurance and he gives us ages of joyous honour; we give him a little suffering 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 in us.” Besides what he gives us in the covenant of grace, you note, he does for us what Solomon did for her, he gives us all that is in our heart, all that we can desire. What a King is our Saviour, who will not let his people have one ungratified wish, if that wish is a good one! Knock and the gate shall open. “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it,” saith the Lord. “According to your faith so be it done unto you.” “Whatsoever ye ask in prayer believe that ye have it, and ye shall have it.” What precious promises, and all these are given to those who come with a humble enquiry, willing to get Christ first and then to get the rest afterwards.
Well, beloved, we are told that this Queen went home to her nation, and tradition says, that she was the means of proselytizing the Abyssinian people. I do not know whether that was true or not. It is remarkable that in the apostles' days, there should have been an eunuch, a man of great authority under Candace, Queen of Ethiopia—it looks as if there may have lingered something of the divine light in this woman's dominions right on to the day of the Saviour, so that there was found another queen there at that time, and another noble personage who would come all that distance to Jerusalem for to worship. Well, whether she did so 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 fame and others will come. Talk of him when thou stayest in thine house and when thou goest by the way, when thou sittest down and when thou risest up; count no place to be an unfit place to talk of Jesus; bear him in thy bosom in thy business; carry him in thy heart in thy pleasures; wear his name as a frontlet between thine eyes, and write it on the door-posts of thy house, for he is worthy for whom thou shalt do this. His name shall be remembered as long as the sun, and men shall be blessed in him—yea, all men shall call him blessed, all kings shall fall down before him; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts, the whole earth shall be filled with his glory. Amen and amen. The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, were ended; and so shall ours be, too, when that consummation shall have really taken place.