A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, October 4, 1863, by Pastor 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 uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. (Mt 12:42)
1. Our Saviour, in this chapter, administered a rebuke to two kinds 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 only one short and terrible warning from the prophet Jonah, clothed themselves in sackcloth, turned to God in penitence, and so preserved their city. He then rebukes another class — those who do not have curiosity enough to care to hear the gospel, or who, if they hear it, pay no attention to it, as though it was not worthy 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 it an honest and candid hearing; these are shamed by the example of this Queen of the South, who came from the uttermost 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.
2. Will you kindly open your Bibles at the tenth chapter of the First of Kings, for I shall be constantly referring to the historical narrative in order to bring out in full relief the conduct of the ancient queen. Oh that the Spirit of God may convict some of you of sin, by the example of that wise hearted woman!
3. 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 note the result of an enquiry so well conducted.
Her Enquiring Spirit
4. I. First, LET US COMMEND HER FOR HER ENQUIRING SPIRIT. In this point she will rise up in judgment against many here present.
5. 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 lack 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, so 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 time, so that they might find out the way of salvation for their souls. “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” And, on the other hand, of what account would be his loss, although he would lose his all, if he only found his soul, and were saved at the last? None of you can say after this, 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.
6. 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 homespun 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. There can be no comparison but there is much contrast. He who will not come to the fountain which brims with wisdom, but trusts in his own leaking cisterns, shall wake up too late to find himself a fool.
7. Consider, too, that the queen came from a very great distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon. The journey from Arabia Felix, or from Ethiopia, 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 by camel, the journey must have taken a very long time. 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 none of these difficulties could keep her back. She hears about 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 only to walk across the street and hear the Word, and yet they lie around 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 as if it was some old worn out story which it is a respectable custom to hear, but which could not possibly be of any use to them. The Queen of Sheba, toiling across the desert, though she was of the weaker sex, shall rise up in judgment against those who neglect the great salvation and treat the Saviour as though it was nothing to them that Jesus should die.
8. 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 people 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 what 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 wish 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 a new man of him altogether, 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, truly, I sprang from their loins? Hereditary godliness, if it is not personal godliness, is always a thing of small value; but hereditary ungodliness is a most damnable heritage — get rid of it, I implore 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 are of God. If your soul has been deceived, there is still time to set it right. God help you, so that you may find out the truth.
9. 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 from 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 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, so that she might learn his human wisdom? Oh sirs, if we should lose the sight of our eyes and the use of our limbs, then it would be 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 he will 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 would the price be if he could give a thousand martyrdoms to redeem his soul. But nothing of this kind is asked for; the gospel presents freely to every needy soul just what he requires. It cries — “He who has no money, let him come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Oh 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.
10. Notice that this queen had received no invitation; King Solomon never asked her to come; she came unsought for and unexpected. You have been invited 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 you may search it if you wish. 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 you shall be condemned indeed, by this Queen of Sheba. She had heard very little about Solomon, remember that — nothing except 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 Ethiopian coast, or possibly that may have been the way from the head of the Red Sea around 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 Ethiopia. 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 innumerable prophets and priests, 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 we are, what fools twice told, if, with this certainty of gaining so much, we still shrink from the glorious adventure, and will not go to him who will give us wisdom and eternal life.
11. One might continue thus to show the excellence of this woman’s enquiring spirit, but we have only time to notice that the object which she journeyed after was vastly inferior to what is proposed for our enquiry. We invite the careless soul to remember 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 only a very small portion of his wisdom, whereas we invite the sinner to come to one who is made by God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; we tell him that all Christ has he is ready to bestow, that his abundance is only an abundance for others, and all of us have received from his fulness. She went to hear a man who had wisdom: we ask you come to one who is wisdom, wisdom itself consolidated. Talk about the royalty of Solomon? — we invite you to a greater king than he, who is Lord of heaven, and earth, and hell. Speak of his riches? — we tell you about one who has unspeakable riches of grace and glory. Truly, she might gain by the journey, it was only a probability, but whoever comes to Christ, becomes rich to all the intents of bliss. No soul ever did business 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 who 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 rises up in judgment against you to condemn you.
How She Conducted the Enquiry
12. II. Let us observe to this queen’s worthy commendation, HOW SHE CONDUCTED THE ENQUIRY.
13. Observe that she did it in person. She did not dispatch 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 what he did not understand? Most people who object to the religion of Christ have never investigated it. This I am sure of, no man has ever had an intelligent idea concerning the person of the Saviour and 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 ever did 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. Whoever will be converted let him become like a little child, and becoming like a little child, and sitting at the feet of Jesus, he shall receive 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.
14. Notice, 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. 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 do not find that she enquired from the butlers, from Adoniram who was over the tribute, or even from 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 to God, poor soul, in Christ Jesus. Straight forward makes the best runner; there are things which will puzzle you, there are depths too deep for you, but go to God in Christ Jesus hanging upon that cross, reflect upon the mystery of his great atonement, and yield your faith up to it and you shall 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.
15. When she had obtained an audience with 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 of heart and impenitence; confess it all. That man is near to knowing Christ who begins to know himself; and he who will relate as much as he knows of his own corruption and depravity, and sinfulness and necessities, and inabilities, shall soon have a gracious answer of peace. Do not hesitate 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. Are you like the woman with the issue of blood? I urge you tell him all the truth, and he will say, “Your faith has made you whole.” Why do you try to hide anything from omniscience? He knows the corners of your heart, its deep and dark places are in his hands. If you should tell him he will know no more, why then do you hesitate? Tear off the veil from your heart, and then you shall find mercy.
16. 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 about his great atonement, how by a substitution God is dreadful in his justice and boundless in his love. Then you will ask him the question, “How can a sinful creature be accepted in the sight of a holy God?” He will tell you about 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, “Can you tell me, Jesus, how it is that a weak soul with no power, shall still 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 you; my strength shall be perfect in your weakness”; and so, all the knotty questions will be answered. Indeed, if you are puzzled about electing love, or anything 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.
17. This good woman, in pursuing her enquiry, listened carefully to what Solomon told her. It is said, he answered 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 so that you might live. Do not be afraid, only make a clear revelation to him and trust in him, and he will make a sweet revelation to you.
18. When she had gone thus far, she went on to notice everything in connection 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 his 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 its foundations, laid in the covenant of grace; its pinnacles 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 demons of hell and all the thieves and robbers who would break in. There is enough to occupy a soul for years in understanding the house which Jesus has built.
19. Then she observed “the food of his table.” “For my flesh is food 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 ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead; he who eats the bread that I shall give him, shall never hunger and shall never thirst.” Oh, the food of his table; what luxuries! Men, indeed, ate 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 grain, 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 to the supper.” Happy soul, that knows concerning the food of his table!
20. She looked next to “the sitting of his servants.” All his saints are in your hands — they sat down at your 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 — indeed, how some of the servants today are sitting up there in glory — indeed, all of them are there — for he has 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.
21. And the next was “his ministers.” Well, and Christ has ministers everywhere. Storms and tempests are his servants — clouds and darkness are his slaves. “Remember that omnipotence has servants everywhere.” Think of his ministers that are in heaven — “He makes 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 connection between faithful ministers and Christ; for when John saw Christ, he walked among the lampstands — that is, in the Churches; but he had the stars in his right hand. So his ministers are always there, and thus their being taught and honoured by the Lord, is a subject worthy of wonder. It is a happy soul that has learned to see the beauty of Christ in his ministers and cupbearers.
22. 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 strike together and give out golden notes. “Her clothing shall be of wrought gold,” says the sweet psalmist, when he sings about the Church. “She shall be brought to 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.
23. There remained one more thing — 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 two such mountains as those, so far 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. I think I see my King’s ascent to the house of the Lord. There was the mountain of our fall and ruin, and that great mountain of God’s love and a valley of divine justice lay 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 to 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 renders it, “And his thank 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, although he was rich, for our sakes became poor, so that we through his poverty might be made rich.” The firstborn 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.
24. Please 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 your first enquiry be, “Is there balm in Gilead? Is there a physician there?” Let your cry be the same as the startled jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” Like him, obey the apostolic injunction, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall 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 chest after chest, until 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.
The Result of Our Enquiry
25. III. And now, thirdly, let us note THE RESULT OF OUR ENQUIRY.
26. The first result was a confession of faith. “It was a true report that I heard in my own land, of your acts and of your wisdom.” She did not hold her tongue and go slinking back to Ethiopia 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 you shall come to Jesus Christ, and try him when you shall have joy and peace in believing, you will 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 these eyes first 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 who have ever seen him will say the same. I go back many a time to my home, mourning that I cannot preach my Master even as I myself know him, and what I know of him is so little compared with the matchlessness of his grace. Oh that I knew him more, and that I could preach it 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 to me.” She expressed then her faith in Solomon; and oh, if you have any faith and have found him to be true, speak up; do not be secret believers, but stand up for your Lord and Master.
27. Next she made a confession of her unbelief. “However I did not believe the words, until I came, and my eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told to me: your wisdom and prosperity exceeds the fame which I heard.” “I did not believe it,” she said, “until I came and saw.” It is the same with you. We have to cry, “Who has believed our report?” Men will not readily believe based on just a 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, I think, 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?
28. 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 your men, happy are your servants who stand continually before you, and who hear your 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 only 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 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 who 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? There was a time, if they dropped into your home, you looked at the clock for fear they should talk too long upon religious subjects; but now, if they will only talk of your Master, they may stay all night if they like. Now you feel it to be so pleasant to speak of his name, that if you meet a Christian you feel a love for 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, so that they could always sit and hear the name of Jesus and see his minister, and rejoice that sometimes the cupbearer brings forth the spiced wine of the Lord’s pomegranate and bids his children drink of it even to the full.
29. This good woman next blessed Solomon’s God in these beautiful words — “Blessed be the Lord your God, who delights in you, to set you on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore he made you 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 from Christ to his people, so it goes upward from Christ to his Father. You will notice that she affirmed her love for him because of his everlasting love to his people. Notice, she does not say anything about Ethiopia — 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 you king.” Oh brothers and sisters, may we so grow in grace that we may love the Father because he has made Christ to be the anointed for this reason, because he loved his Church and gave his Son for it, so that he might cleanse it from all sin by his own precious blood.
30. Once more, she then did what was the best proof of her truthfulness, she gave to Solomon from her treasures — “She gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and a very great amount of spices, 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 valued us so highly 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 do not have one hundred and twenty, but if you have one bring that; you do not have very much spices, but bring what you 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.
31. 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 consider 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 your mouth wide and I will fill it,” says the Lord. “According to your faith so be it done to you.” “Whatever you ask in prayer believe that you have it, and you 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 have the rest afterwards.
32. Well, beloved, we are told that this Queen went home to her nation, and tradition says, that she was the means of proselytizing the Ethiopian people. I do not know whether that was true or not. It is remarkable that in the apostles’ days, there should have been a 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 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 who first brought you: increase that fame and others will come. Talk about him when you stay in your house and when you go by the way, when you sit down and when you rise up; consider no place to be an unfit place to talk about Jesus; bear him in your bosom in your business; carry him in your heart in your pleasures; wear his name as a frontlet between your eyes, and write 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, 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.