WELCOME and happy Sabbath. Today, we will hear a story from the Bible. Take a moment to clear your mind, to listen imaginatively, and to let yourself enter into and experience the story. I must admit, the more stories I tell, the luckier I get. Sometimes, stories work when I don’t work it. That’s called grace. I’ve needed more grace in my life than the bad stories I’ve turned around.
CAFE QUESTIONS: When did you need to see someone or something to believe? What single issue would you want to gain the greatest wisdom? You have been assigned to write a message in a bottle to a sea pirate. What would your message say? How far would you go to deliver your message? Where do you spend your money? How many people do you invite into your home in one month? What is driving you to do anything that you do?
HYMNS & WORSHIP: Those hymns, “Be Thou My Vision,” “What Wondrous Love,” & “Morning Trumpet.” That song, “like an avalanche.”
PSALMS: “Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem for the king, for my pen is like the pen of a skillful poet. You are the most handsome of all. Gracious words stream from your lips. God himself has blessed you forever. Put on your sword, O mighty warrior! You are so glorious, so majestic. In your majesty, ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice. Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds! Your arrows are sharp. piercing your enemies’ hearts. The nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than anyone else. Myrrh, aloes, and cassia perfume your robes. In ivory palaces the music of strings entertains you. Kings’ daughters are among your noble women. At your right side stands the queen, wearing jewelry of finest gold from Ophir! (Psalms 45:1-9, NLT.)
PAINTING: Project above image on the wall, “€L JAL€0”, by John Singer Sargent, 1882.
SCRIPTURE: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. (Revelation 22:16, 17, NLT.)
King Solomon had dominion over all the region on this side of the river. Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea, and they dwelt safely, having peace on all sides around them. Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen. God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore. He was wiser than all men, and his fame was in all nations round about. He had authority to welcome or deny visitors.
Solomon built the house of Yahweh and Solomon’s palace. And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard while it was in building. And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord into its’ place, into the oracle of the house to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord and spoke, “The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness, that thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward this place of which thou has said, ‘My name shall be there.'” At the dedication of the temple, Solomon prayed for strangers to come out of far countries and that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is none else (I Kings 1-9, NLT.)
This is where today’s story begins. NARRATE, I Kings 10:1-13, NLT, twice.
Let us spend some time to WONDER and DIALOGUE about this story, and bring any questions or observations we have to the table, including any historical elements, cultural customs, symbolic objects, or key word references, by using the Bible to interpret the Bible. Questions may not necessarily be answered, but will be voiced and will raise interest. For example: Exactly how did the queen hear about King Solomon? Did the queen feel she needed to pay for the gospel? Did she spend her money on things that were satisfying? Did the king bow before the queen? Did the king love the queen? Note: True prosperity is a gift of God. The dominant word that seems to encompass the broadest meaning of the term is shalom, or flourishing well-being in all dimensions. NOTE: presented here is a brief dimensional bible study of the sanctuary and how it is read flat (build me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them); how it relates to us (we are a living temple); how it relates to the church (we are living stones); how it relates to Jesus (the chief cornerstone); and how it relates to heaven (there is a heavenly sanctuary). There is also a sanctuary service and the burnt offering that may be helpful for this story
Let us get into the CHARACTERS of the story. What do we know about the Queen of Sheba? The queen traveled over a 1,000 miles for a visit with the king! What was she thinking? What heart questions might she have asked? How would it feel to eat at the king’s table and stay at the king’s palace? How would it feel to have a one on one visit with the king? What was her heart response to the sanctuary and it’s service? What do we know about King Solomon? Just about everything.
What did we learn about GOD in this story? God meets us where we are. God equips us and gives us all we need. Courts maintain the law, but God maintains justice. God is a free gift. God awakens us every morning. God endures forever and ever.
What aspects of this story or character, foreshadow the GOOD NEWS, especially in relation to what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and through his resurrection. Look for negative things being lifted and positive things being given. Then merge the two ideas into one thought when possible.
• A greater than Solomon is here (Luke 11:31), casting new visions like The Sermon on the Mount.
• The King commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, hewed stones to lay the foundation of the house. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
• The queen’s visit with Solomon is compared to a metaphorical marriage of the church to Christ where Solomon is the anointed one and Sheba represents a Gentile population submitting to the messiah.
Our goal is to seriously apply this story to our life. Our challenge is to write a prayer, a poem, a song, a short story, or create something that EXPRESSes our response and share.
SHORT STORY: in progress