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It’s a Match!

Key References: 1 Kings 10:1-13; Prophets and Kings, chap. 4, pp. 66-69; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 4, pp. 155-158; Our Beliefs nos. 11, 22, 12

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“ ‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me’ ” (Isaiah 43:10).

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We serve best when our words and actions match.

Have you heard the saying “If you talk the talk, you’d better walk the walk”? Our story this week looks at the life of King Solomon. Did his talk match his walk?

The ceaseless swaying of the camel and the warmth of the day had lulled the queen into a state of semisleep. The journey from Sheba at the southern tip of Arabia had been long. Suddenly awakened by shouting, she sat up to see what was happening. Pulling back the curtain enclosing her traveling compartment, she could see the palace of King Solomon on the skyline.

At last we have arrived at the wise man’s home, the queen thought. I wonder if it will be all that I’ve heard it is.

Monarchs passing through her country had brought news of the king of Israel and his legendary wisdom. But she knew men were given to exaggeration. Some had even claimed that Solomon was the wisest man on earth. Deciding that she needed to see for herself, the queen had made preparations to travel to Israel. At each stop the caravan made on the journey, the queen had heard more about King Solomon. Soon she would be in his presence.

They reached the outskirts of Jerusalem. Her musicians assembled and began a fanfare announcing her arrival. Solomon’s ceremonial guard came to greet the caravan and escort the queen into Solomon’s city.

The caravan swept into Jerusalem and halted in front of the palace. The queen’s attendants helped her down. After exchanging pleasantries with the prime minister of Israel, the royal party was led to the guest wing of the palace. The king’s personal staff served refreshments and helped them get comfortable.

A few hours later the group assembled to meet King Solomon. The queen gazed at her surroundings. Even this waiting room is elegant, she thought.

“Her royal highness, the queen of Sheba!” the courtier announced, as the queen walked through the doors of an immense banquet hall. Everything was more beautiful than she had imagined. The curtains looked like spun gold. The furniture was made of the finest wood and embellished with gold. The aroma of fresh flowers and perfectly cooked delicacies wafted through the room as she walked toward King Solomon.

He came forward smiling. “Welcome,” he said. “I hope you had a pleasant journey. Please come and enjoy the feast my staff has prepared for us.”

For months before leaving her country the queen had prepared difficult questions and riddles for Solomon. There was no limit on the difficulty of questions from science, literature, history, music, philosophy, and religion. During the meal the queen casually asked Solomon the questions. She was amazed at the king’s ability to answer even the most difficult problems, and her respect for him grew.

During the following days she spent hours quizzing Solomon. As she toured the palace and the city, she observed him interacting with his staff and court officials. She watched the sacrifices in the magnificent Temple he had built. As she continued asking questions, Solomon introduced her to the Creator-God.

During their final meeting the queen asked to speak to the king alone. He dismissed his staff.

The queen said to Solomon: “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness” (1 Kings 10:6-9).

As she rode away from the palace, the queen of Sheba reviewed all that she had seen and heard. Like a perfectly woven tapestry, it all matched.