The word “quest” is not a word we use very often. A quest is a search for something noble and important. We may think of a knight’s quest to save the damsel in distress; or the quest to find the cure of cancer. In 1 Kings 10:1-9, we read of the quest of the queen of Sheba to discover the wisdom of king Solomon. She had heard tales of his wisdom and desired to find out if the tales were true. As we follow the queen on her quest, we will find some important learning points about wisdom.
The Purpose of Wisdom
It is interesting and important to note that when the queen heard of Solomon’s fame, it was a fame “concerning the name of the Lord” (v.1). It was obvious to all that the wisdom that Solomon had was not just any worldly wisdom; it was not about knowing many scientific facts and theories. This was a wisdom that relates to God, and a wisdom that came from God Himself. There is a difference between worldly wisdom and godly wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18-20). The wisdom that we ought to seek after is godly wisdom, because that is the wisdom that is ultimately superior, and it is the wisdom that can give us purity, peace, and the fruit of righteousness (James 3:13-18).
Why do we want to have such a wisdom? It is not to show off to others how knowledgeable we are. The wisdom of Solomon was not for his own glory, but for the glory of God, and it was evident to all that Solomon’s wisdom came from God. The true purpose of wisdom is for God’s glory, and we are reminded that as we preach the gospel, we are not preaching ourselves, but God (2 Corinthians 4:5).
The Proving of Wisdom
After hearing the tales of Solomon’s wisdom, the queen came to prove him with hard questions (v.1). We can only imagine what questions the queen had asked king Solomon. Perhaps about the meaning of life? Life after death? Ethics? Today, there may be those who will test us with difficult questions also. Some will ask foolish and insincere questions: these we ought to avoid (2 Timothy 2:23). But some will ask genuine questions about our faith. Will we be prepared as Solomon was?
The answers to life’s difficult questions can only be found in God: “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). To obtain this wisdom from God, it begins with a fear and reverence for God (Proverbs 1:7). When we have set God apart in our hearts, then we can be ready when others test us with hard questions, and God expects us to be ready to give an answer and a defence of our faith when others ask us (1 Peter 3:15).
The Price of Wisdom
When the queen went to Jerusalem to prove king Solomon, she brought with her a great train of valuable items, including spices, gold, and precious stones (v.2). Why did she bring all these? She obviously regarded the wisdom of Solomon to be something of great value. She was willing to spend all these to hear of his wisdom. In this world, we appreciate and respect those who are well educated, and have obtained degrees and PhDs. We put a high value on education. Do we value spiritual education?
The wisdom of God is the one wisdom that can give us happiness, life and grace, and our greatest desire (Proverbs 3:13-24). The wisdom of God is the only wisdom that can give us salvation for our souls (2 Timothy 3:15). The apostles forsook everything to learn the words of Jesus (John 6:68). If we value God’s wisdom, we need to ask God for it (James 1:5-8). We need to desire and continually meditate on God’s word so that we can grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2).
The Propagation of Wisdom
After the queen had tested and seen the wisdom of Solomon, what was her response? She had initially not believed the tales, but when she saw it for herself, she realized that “the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard” (v.7). Likewise, others may have heard of us, but they may not have an accurate or full picture of who we are unless we show them.
This is a reminder that wisdom is meant to be heard. The Proverbs writer personified wisdom as a lady who is calling out to everyone to embrace her (Proverbs 8:1-4). Wisdom is not something that we keep to ourselves, but we are meant to share it. Of course there will be those who will not be interested to hear. However, there will be those, who like the queen of Sheba, will pay a high price to hear it. God has given Christians the responsibility to go out and spread the gospel, and impart God’s wisdom to the whole world, that all can hear and be saved (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Queen of Sheba was on a quest to find out the wisdom of God. She came sceptical and unbelieving, but she left happy and fully satisfied. Will you follow on the same quest to obtain God’s wisdom? It is more valuable than anything else on this earth: it can save you, and give you access to great Heavenly riches. Let us not neglect to continue our daily quest to grow in God’s wisdom, to ask God in prayer, to meditate on His word, and to share it with others.