Archive for April, 2008

Royal Bounty

Well hello everyone! Boy did I take a long sabbatical from some of the most exciting chapters in scripture. I hope to go back and catch up on the chapters missed from 2 Samuel and 1 King, but for now I think I’ll pick up where the 3-Year Reading Plan of St. Philip’s is presently.

That means we are looking at 1 Kings 10 today.

Many thoughts came to mind today regarding the trip to Israel by the queen from modern-day Yemen, but the most prevalent was the memory of reading a little devotion by Francis Ridley Havergal on chapter 10:13 entitled Royal Bounty.

And King Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty.

All God’s goodness to us is humbling. The more He does for us, the more ready we are to say, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shown unto Thy servant.”

The weight of a great answer to prayer seems almost too much for us. The grace of it is “too wonderful” for us. It throws up in such startling relief the disproportion between our little, poor, feeble cry, and the great shining response of God’s heart and hand, that we can only say: “Who am I, O Lord God, that Thou hast brought me hitherto? Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?”

But it is more humbling still, when we stand face to face with great things which the Lord hath done for us and given us, which we never asked at all, never even thought of asking – royal bounty, with which not even a prayer had to do.

It is so humbling to get a view of these, that Satan tries to set up a false humility to hinder us from standing still and considering how great things the Lord hath done for us; thus he also contrives to defraud our generous God of the glory due unto His name.

For, of course, we do not praise for what we will not recognize!

Let us try to baffle this device today, and give thanks for the overwhelming mercies for which we never asked. “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.” Just think of them deliberately (they are far too many to think of all in a flash); and how many did we actually ask for? Even that poor little claim was never brought to bear on thousand of them.

Some thoughts regarding the rest of the verses are:
To serve Jesus is to be a happy occupation. If joy be missing from my attempts to do as the Lord says,

  • perhaps I do not understand aright Who it is I am serving, or
  • Who it is that is to empower me to accomplish the tasks.

As the Queen of Sheba says of Solomon, even more it can be said of Jesus, “happy are these Your servants, who stand continually before You and hear Your wisdom!”

In Matthew 12:42 the Queen is highly praised for her seeking. Jesus commended her for:

  • She came from a great distance
  • She came with gifts to offer
  • She came to question and to learn
  • She came and saw the riches of the king
  • She came for an extended period
  • She came telling all that was on her heart

How much more should I respond to the opportunity to hook up and meet with Jesus Christ Himself?

666 talents of gold is assessed at $281,318,400 today! (btw: Solomon is the only person in the Bible associated with the number 666, other than the antichrist! [Rev. 13:18])

The 500 shields of gold were strictly for beautifully displaying in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. They were of no use in battle, too soft and too heavy! This shows Solomon with the image of a warrior king, but without the substance! He invested $33 million for his image.

At the end of this great description of Solomon’s wealth and splendor, there sounds a dark note:

Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh

This was in direct disobedience to Deuteronomy 17:16, which said to the Kings of Israel:

But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, “You shall not return that way again.”

And the very last phrase of the chapter compels me to think we have Solomon’s rationalization as to how he could involve himself in “multiplying horses” for himself and break such an obvious commandment:

Thus, through their agents, they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.

Perhaps the importation of horses from Egypt began as trading as an agent on behalf of other kings. From this, perhaps Solomon could say, “I’m importing horses from Egypt but I am not doing it for myself. I’m not breaking God’s command.” Many times in my own life, gross disobedience begin as clever rationalizations.

O Thou Greater-than-Solomon, thank You for Your Royal Bounty, and how You open it up so generously to all of us. I pray You would make me a woman of substance in the battles of life and keep me from my own manipulative rationalizations. I want to revel in Your wisdom and riches more than the Queen of Sheba did in Solomon’s. You alone are worthy!

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