The Queen of Sheba: The Quest for Wisdom

“Who do you think you are, anyway? The queen of Sheba?”
Actually, yes.
And so are you.

2 Chronicles 9 tells the story of the ‘queen of the south’, or the ‘queen of Sheba’ (probably Egypt). She came to Jerusalem seeking wisdom — Solomon’s wisdom, given by God. She came to discover truth.

“Now when the queen of Sheba heard from of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions, having a very great retinue and camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered her questions. There was nothing hidden from Solomon that he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon… there was no more breath in her. And she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, half the greatness of your wisdom was not told me; you surpass the report that I heard.” (2 Chron. 9:1-6)

What is wisdom? Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 2:6: “For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” According to Webster’s Dictionary, wisdom “…in Scriptural theology… is true religion; godliness; piety; the knowledge and fear of God, and sincere and uniform obedience to His commands. This is the wisdom which is from above.”

These days we hear a lot about “intellectuals” and the “Intellectual Movement”. Science (as defined by our culture) has become the “key” to understanding the past, present and future. Christianity is viewed as old-fashioned; the Bible is out-of-date; and it is “contrary to human reason” to believe in a Triune God or in the deity of Jesus Christ. The wisdom of the world cannot — or rather, will not — accommodate the “myths” and “legends” of the Judeo-Christian faith. Webster defined worldly wisdom as “mere human erudition; or the carnal policy of men, their craft and artifices in promoting their temporal interests.” The “carnal policy of men” seems to fit nicely with the the foundational motivation of these secular intellectuals: their desire to be like God.

When Christians say they “want to be like God” there is fundamental difference between their definition of “like” and the intellectuals’. Christians usually mean they desire to reflect God’s character — His love, mercy, compassion, etc. The world’s desire to be “like” God would be better phrased as “a desire to be God”. This mentality is nothing new. In fact, we find it at the beginning of time:

“But the serpent said to the woman, “You will surely not die. For God knows that when you eat it [the fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the fruit was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that it was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit and ate. . .”
(Gen. 3:5-6)

Our culture today is in the process of removing God as Lawgiver and Lord to enthrone human reason in His place. Books such as Why Christianity Must Change or Die (Spong) and The God Delusion (Dawkins) illustrate this fact. They advertise “wisdom” and strive after “knowledge”, but they perpetuate is only an empty excuse for understanding.

“For the wisdom of the world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness” and again “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.””
(1 Cor. 3:19-20)

So in this world of confusion and deceit, Christians, like the queen of Sheba, are on a quest for wisdom. Not wisdom as society defines it — the denial of “ignorant” fundamental Christian values — but wisdom as God gives.

“…The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you…” (Eph. 1:17-18)

A spirit of wisdom, in the knowledge of Him. As we know Him (Jesus), He gives us this spirit. But what does that mean? How does this benefit us in our Christian walk?

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (Jas. 3:17)

Wisdom from God manifests itself in the above qualities, which are remarkably similar to those named in Galatians as the “fruit of the Spirit”. This being said, think of these as the “fruit of the spirit of wisdom“. These qualities are simply reflections of God’s holy character, and they can be ours, also, if we remain like the queen of Sheba in this world — seeking after godly understanding.

True wisdom is found in Christ Jesus:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.”
(Jn. 14:6)

Jesus is the ultimate source of our righteousness, peace, our joy — and our understanding. We need His wisdom just to live:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He wil l direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6)

Wisdom and Jesus Christ cannot be separated. When they are, the result is a relative, foundation-less standard of truth. One way to understand the vital link between godly wisdom and its Giver is to replace the words “wisdom”, “knowledge” and “understanding” in Proverbs Chapters 1-3 with Jesus’ name. This illustrates the connection between our relationship with God and the guidance He gives us.

“Blessed is the one who finds Jesus,
and the one who gets the Holy Spirit,
for the gain from Him is better than gain from silver
and His profit is better than gold.
He is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with Him. . .
His ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all His paths are peace.”
(Prov. 3:13-17)

The queen of Sheba traveled hundreds of miles to find wisdom. She understood its value. Yet we have God’s wisdom — which surpasses even Solomon’s — within prayer’s reach.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (Jas. 1:5)
Ask Him for it, and you can surely say with the queen of Sheba:
“And behold, half the greatness of your wisdom was not told me; you surpass the report that I heard.”

One Response

  1. Hey Phy! See what I mean? This blog allows anonymous comments, so that’s why I can comment. Nice thing here! I like the first 3 sentences at the very top. I hope you write some more on here soon!
    Autie =)

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