The Queen of Sheba went with a force to test the king—said to be the wisest person who ever lived—Solomon. She’d heard so many potentially inflated reports. And she decided to test these reports for herself, personally—but not without a fearsome army of her own. Solomon did what was clearly unprecedented—he answered all her “hard questions”—“there was nothing hidden from Solomon that he could not explain to her.” –2 Chronicles 9:2 (NRSV).
Digging deeper into the ancient text, using the Greek Septuagint, this is what literally happened: “Solomon told her all of her words; and there passed not a word from Solomon which he told her not.” Truth, stark truth! Total declaration and then some. Both inwardly and outwardly, Solomon displayed congruence of character.
And what was it that was attributed to Solomon from the Queen out of this plain, redoubtable authenticity? Wisdom—she saw the wisdom of Solomon (verse 3).
Let’s make some further connections. The Queen saw in Solomon a man committed to plain truth; this she found immediately endearing and worth her admiration. She could hardly believe that not only did Solomon meet her expectations—he exceeded them in verse 6. She found in herself a welling up of sheer respect for this ruler and what he had achieved through faithfulness to his God, the LORD. Respect begets trust and vice versa. Trust was issued bilaterally in the transaction between these two royals.
And the foreign Queen saw how Solomon was the mightiest of rulers because of how he ruled; and this became reason for her to praise his God, the LORD (verse 8a).
The Queen saw how Solomon had ruled and how he had seen to it that Israel (for that time) was blessed. “Because your God loved Israel and would establish them forever, he has made you king over them, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” (Verse 8b)
And for us, what’s the relevance? It’s this.
When we’re fervently truthful, working hard in our diligence and being prudent about how we operate (how we deal respectfully with people), we gain the inimitable trust and respect of all our likeminded peers. People love it to be able to relax around us.
They see in us a warmth of rapport that issues reminisces of the Lord God, not that we’re God, but that we can be God-in-skin for others. We’re the real deal, truthful at the core. We’re wholly available.
When our standards of humility are actually delivered in real life—we are what we say, and even more—it strikes the populace as odd. This is not how life normally is. People normally disappoint us, they don’t usually inspire us more and more.
When we’re quick to reject the opportunities to self-promote we engender trust and respect. And this is the test of truth and wisdom that stands for time-in-memoriam. Our deeds become historical and inspirational fact—resplendent wisdom no less.
And like Solomon, we’ll find ourselves in places of responsibility. And this is our lot, not that we’d want to shirk it. It won’t be an easy life but what is? Justice and righteousness executed through a dedication to truth and an on-flowing wisdom... a fitting circumstance. A circumstance that sees the best equity possible for all.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.