Tag Archive | King Solomon

July 28 Transformation Garden

 

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Philippians 1: 6
K.J.V.

“God is on my side. He makes Himself responsible for my being. If I will only entrust myself to Him with the cordial return of trustful love, then all that He has ever breathed into my heart of human possibility He will realize and bring to perfection.”
Charles Gore

Today’s Study Text:

“When she (the Queen of Sheba) had come to Solomon, she communed with him about all that was in her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he failed to explain to her.”
1 Kings 10: 2, 3
Amplified Bible

EXPLORATION:

“Lessons Taught By the Lady From Sheba” Part 3

Lesson #3 – From the words of Jesus found in Matthew: “Are you listening to this? Really listening?…God’s kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.”
Matthew 13: 43,45
The Message Bible

“It is a great thing, this reading of the Scriptures! For it is not possible ever to exhaust the mind of the Scriptures. It is a well that has no bottom.”
John Chrysostom

If I had been in the Queen of Sheba’s “sandals,” what kind of questions and thoughts would I have had for Solomon?

Knowing that the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon to find out about the God he served, how do I imagine Solomon responded to her questions?

“The Bible is the greatest traveler in the world. It penetrates to every country, civilized and uncivilized. It is seen in the royal palace and in the humble cottage. It is the friend of emperors and beggars. It is read by the light of the dim candle amid Arctic snows. It is read under the glare of the equatorial sun. It is read in city and country, amid the crowds and in solitude. Wherever the message is received, it frees the mind from bondage and fills the heart with gladness.”
A.T. Pierson

INSPIRATION:

“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful…showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.”
II Timothy 3: 16
The Message Bible

An Arabian Queen with an inquisitive mind. Oh, how I would have loved to call the gracious lady from Sheba my BFF! And through the study of God’s Word, the Bible, God’s daughters and sons around the world can come to receive a much sharper image of this woman who came to visit Solomon, first and foremost, because she wanted to more clearly understand “his connection with the Name of God,” as The Message Bible tells us.

I like the way The Message Bible paraphrases our study text for today:

“She came to Solomon and talked about all the things that she cared about.”

At a time in history when “intellectual” pursuits were mainly left to the male gender, I find it notable that King Solomon not only answered the Queen of Sheba’s questions, but in no way did he try to dissuade her with demeaning words, questioning why a “woman” was so interested in the deeper things of God. Frankly, this exchange reminded me of a day in Bethany where the events were recorded by Dr. Luke, whom I believe, was an eye-witness to what transpired in the home of Martha.

Having stopped for some rest and refreshment in this welcoming abode, Jesus found time to share what was on His heart. The Bible tells us that another female trendsetter, Mary, chose to sit at Jesus’ feet, listening to all He said while her sister Martha was absorbed, or as the Amplified Bible notes, she was “distracted with much serving.”

Feeling frustrated by her sister’s lack of interest in what Martha deemed important, she took her complaint directly to Jesus, basically ordering Him to intercede on her behalf and tell her sister, Mary, to get into the kitchen — post haste!

It is at this juncture we find Jesus weighing in with these words, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. There is need of only one! Mary has chosen the good portion that which is to her advantage, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10: 38-42, Amplified Bible).

What a correlation there is between the Queen of Sheba in the Old Testament and Mary of Bethany in the New Testament. They were both women who longed to learn about spiritual things and they were both rewarded by those they sought to study with.

Both defied the tradition of society. In the words of Jesus, they chose to “learn of God!” And both were honored as they came away from their spiritual encounters feeling blessed and renewed.

But it wasn’t only to these two women that encouragement was given to learn of God and His kingdom. is kingdomIn the book of Matthew, we find that Jesus shared multiple parables with those who came to listen to His words. But in one particular story, He told about the quest of a gem specialist — a jewel dealer — who was on the hunt for pearls. When this man found the “One,” he came to the conclusion that this single “flawless” pearl was so valuable, that he must sell everything to purchase this unique and unparalleled discovery!

When I look at the great lengths the Queen of Sheba went to as she pursued the knowledge she wished to obtain about the God of heaven and earth, I find myself awed by the fact that an individual who appeared to be outside the “family circle” of God’s chosen people, the children of Israel, had such a longing and desire to know about the God, who had profoundly blessed King Solomon. There was no impediment which she allowed to block her way from making, what I imagine to be, a very grueling journey across a windswept desert perched atop a camel.

And this brings us to the third lesson we can learn from the “Lady From Sheba.” She teaches us to seek, with unfailing vigor, after the knowledge and understanding buried in God’s Word about His kingdom. Just as the one, precious pearl was buried treasure, waiting to be revealed to the person who would take the extra time to make its discovery, so God’s Word is to you and me a field full of gems, revealing truths that will guide our lives and prevent us from traveling outside the will of God. I love the way Thomas Watson highlighted this exact point when he wrote: “The Bible is a rock of diamonds, a chain of pearls, the sword of the Spirit, a chart by which the Christian sails to eternity; the map by which (she) daily walks; the sundial by which (she) sets (her) life; the balance in which (she) weighs (her) actions.”

What a lesson for us to take away from the life of the Queen of Sheba, whose  mission to find answers to her questions and to find out about King Solomon’s connection to the God of heaven and earth, left her with a vision of God’s infinite wisdom, knowledge.

“I believe that the Bible is the best gift that God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
Abraham Lincoln

AFFIRMATION:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119: 105
K.J.V.

“O Lord, You have given us Your Word for a light to shine upon our path; inspire us to meditate on that word and to follow its teaching, that we may find in it the light that shines more and more until the perfect day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Jerome
(347-420)

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.

My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian.  You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.

 

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July 26 Transformation Garden

“They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4: 13 K.J.V.

“O hearts of love!
O souls that turn like sunflowers
to the pure and best!
To you the truth is manifest;
For they the mind of Christ discern
Who lean like John upon His breast.”
John G. Whittier

Today’s Study Text:

“When the Queen of Sheba heard of the constant connection of the fame of Solomon with the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.”
1 Kings 10: 1
Amplified Bible

EXPLORATION:

“Lessons Taught By the Lady From Sheba” Part 1

Lesson #1 – From the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you use to deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.”
Matthew 7: 1, 2
Amplified Bible

’’By what measuring stick do I judge those around me who do not have the same point-of-view as I have?

How do I judge those whose religious beliefs are not the same as mine?

How do I put into practice each day the words of Jesus found in Matthew 7: 1, 2?

“Be quick to judge yourself and not to judge others.”
Author Unknown

INSPIRATION:

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Mother Teresa

Today, we begin a 10-day study on the “Lady from Sheba,” as I like to refer to this foreign queen who came to visit the legendary King Solomon. To say there’s a lot we can learn from this gracious woman would be an understatement.

As we begin to dig deeply into the lessons God has for us from the life of the Queen of Sheba, I want to lay out for you what I have uncovered as I’ve researched this unique woman.

Biblical scholars and historians provide some illumination on the geographical location which gave this lady her name.

Sheba is considered to be a country in southwest Arabia, which in our current day is a country called Yemen. The region where the country of Sheba lay was the mountainous and fertile part of Arabia. Genealogists of the Bible regarded “Sheba”, (most likely one, two or three different individuals had this name), as the source of the country’s name as well as the descendents’ name which was the Sabeans.

The country of Sheba was known for gaining its wealth by controlling the perfume and incense trade. And as we delve into the generosity displayed by the Queen of Sheba, we’ll recognize the fact that her country of origin was flush with gifts which underscore what history shares with us.

It was in the 10th century B.C., when the Queen of Sheba, propelled by a longing to find out about, not only the wisdom of Solomon, but the God of heaven and earth who had bestowed upon Solomon such wisdom and prosperity, came to Jerusalem bearing gold, precious stones and spices which she exchanged with King Solomon.

It is here, for today, that I wish to stop for a moment to reveal the first lesson we find taught to God’s daughters and sons around the world in the 21st century, by the “Lady from Sheba.”

Throughout David’s reign as King of Israel, despite his moral failing, there was no question that the one and only God of heaven and earth was the Lord God of David’s life. In fact, there was no greater longing in David’s heart than to build a house of worship where his heavenly Father’s presence would dwell. But having been a man of war, or as the Bible tells us, a man of blood, God gave the task of building a Temple to David’s son, Solomon. As we studied several weeks ago, this became, in the first half of Solomon’s time on the throne of Israel, his all-consuming passion. Building a house of worship to God was the singular purpose of Solomon’s life. Knowing that this was his goal, we find that rather than excluding other leaders in surrounding countries from helping him with this enormous undertaking, King Solomon chose to engage King Hiram and other leading figures outside of Israel to bring the best the then known world had to offer, in completing the Temple to honor Jehovah. I want to add, this was initially for one reason only — and that was to bring glory — exceptional and unique glory — to the name of God. And this is exactly what happened!

We are told in our study text for today that it wasn’t just the brilliance of Solomon that drew the Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem, but it was also Solomon’s connection with the “name of God.” How beautiful is that! After reading this fact I asked myself, “Would someone who is not a follower of the God of heaven and earth, be drawn to me because they had heard of my connection to my heavenly Father and of His special blessing on my life?” I ask you, “Could the same be said about your life — that you have a heavenly connection which others want to share in?”

King Solomon could have “shunned” the “Lady from Sheba.” She was from Arabia. She wasn’t an Israelite. She was a non-believer. A foreigner. A heathen, as some might call her. Yet, Solomon did not disregard this Queen. Instead, he welcomed her to the heart of Israel — Jerusalem — the city of David.

As I reflected on this gesture of kindness, my mind was carried to the words of Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, found in the book of Matthew in the New Testament. In a clarion call to suspend the harsh judgment we often apply toward others, Jesus asked His followers, especially, to “judge not.” I’ll add, there were no exclusions to this command. Jesus didn‘t say that you were off-the-hook if the people you disagreed with were not Christians or had some other behavior you deemed in-appropriate. He just stated, “Judge not!”

So often, I think that as Christians, we have somehow come to the conclusion that if we don’t “call-out” behavior we think does not follow the “guidelines” established by whatever religious banner we choose to fly over ourselves, that we are compromising our values. I’d like to turn this idea upside down and offer this perspective. If what I have to share with those around me, who may believe a different way than I do, doesn’t make them feel more loved, more included, and more accepted, then I‘ve completely missed the point of Jesus’ earthly ministry for His work was wrapping His arms tightly around those whom His’ society turned their backs on and tossed out like yesterday’s garbage.

Several months ago, here in Transformation Garden, a girl wrote me. She shared some very personal details about her life. And then she asked me this question, “Will you pray for a person like me?” I wanted to weep that she even felt she had to ask a question like this. But having been rejected by so many who wore the label of “Christian,” she evidently thought that perhaps I wouldn’t want to pray for her. Thankfully, I could tell her that here in the Garden, we pray for everyone — because the God of heaven and earth — your Father and mine — loves each of us as though there was only one of us. And when His Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth, He brought with Him His Father’s heavenly love that is big enough to embrace the worst of us!

Recently, I read a story that really hit home with me. I live in a town known for a great deal of New Age philosophy. In fact, over eleven years ago, when Jim and I moved here, a friend, rather mockingly asked, “Oh, are you New Agers now?” I told her, “No, we are Christians.” But then I went on to tell her about all the wonderful individuals God had led us to meet — and one of the women is a devout Buddhist.  Every time we go to lunch, inevitably, the conversation turns to things spiritual. But what took me by surprise was when I was asked, several years ago, to do a reading on Good Friday, at our local library from my book, When A Woman Meets Jesus. My friend showed up, unannounced. Furthermore, she was the last to leave, walking with me out to my car. And she shared that in her house, growing up as a child, there was no Bible. But she said to me, “You know, Dorothy, after hearing tonight about the way Jesus treated and loved women, if I had heard stories like that in my childhood, I would love Jesus like you do.”

As I told you, it was my experience with this friend that became the reason the following story struck such a cord in my heart:

“A mother living in Japan called the head mistress of a mission school.

‘Do you take only beautiful girls in your school?’ she inquired.

‘Why, no! We welcome all girls,’ was the reply.

‘But I have noticed that all your girls are beautiful,’ the woman exclaimed.

‘Well, we teach our girls to love our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and He gives them a look of holy beauty,’ replied the missionary.

‘I myself am a Buddhist,’ the mother noted, ‘I do not want my daughter to become a Christian. Yet, I should like her to attend your school to get that look on her face,’ was the reply.”

The first lesson we can take away from the “Lady of Sheba” is that when we choose not to judge another by our own standard, but instead, allow God’s heavenly love to radiate through us and around us, we will become an illuminating presence that draws others, as 1 Kings 10: 1 tells us, the Queen of Sheba was drawn to visit Solomon. Why? Because of his “connection with the Name of God” (The Message Bible).

“Do not be angry that you cannot make others as you would wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
Thomas á Kempis

AFFIRMATION:

“I want that adorning Divine
Thou only, my God, canst bestow;
I want in these beautiful garments to shine
Which mark out Thy household below.”
Charlotte Elliott

“Here is a plain strip of canvas. Before it stands the master painter. ‘Do you see the golden sunset?’ he asks. ‘Trust yourself to me and I will paint its glory in your face.’ And the canvas says, ‘I am coarse in texture. I am scant in size. I do not see how you can fill me with the glory of that sunset sky.’ And the master says, ‘Yield and you shall see.’”
Author Unknown

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.

My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian.  You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.