1 KINGS 10-12
In Matthew 12:42, Jesus said, “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.”
In this passage of scripture, Jesus was referring to the queen of Sheba who came to Solomon because she had heard of his fame regarding the name of the Lord. She wanted to test the wisdom of Solomon with hard questions.
But, 1 Kings 10:3-4 says, “And Solomon answered all hear questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to hear. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.” Solomon took the breath away from the queen of Sheba because of his wisdom. The queen saw Solomon’s wisdom, the house he had built, etc.
But, Jesus says a greater than Solomon is here in reference to himself. If Jesus is greater than Solomon, then what is the wisdom, the house that he built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings in reference to Jesus?
THE QUEEN OF SHEBA
There are actually two words for the name sheba in Hebrew. The one used here for the queen of Sheba means man. So, in 1 Kings 10, we see the queen as representative of man and Solomon as representative of Jesus.
Man hears about Jesus and his fame. So, man comes to Jesus with all of his hard questions to test him. We certainly see this in the gospels, as pharisees, scribes, elders, and lawyers were always trying to trick Jesus with their questions. And, man still does this today with Jesus, trying to use our natural intelligence to stump Jesus.
But, just like Solomon, Jesus is able to answer all of questions. Hebrews 4:13 says that no creature, nothing created, and everything was created by Jesus, is hidden from the sight of Jesus. Everything is exposed before him. Jesus knows and can explain everything.
A GREATER WISDOM
The queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon. But, Jesus said that one wiser than Solomon is here. Jesus was referring to himself.
Solomon was the wisest man to ever live, but he was still just a man. 1 Kings 4:29-30 says, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sane on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.”
But, Jesus had even greater wisdom than Solomon. In 1 Corinthians 1:25, Paul said that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” Even God’s foolishness is wiser than Solomon. So, in 1 Corinthians 1:24, when Paul said that Christ is “the wisdom of God,” then we know that Jesus’ wisdom is far greater than Solomon’s. Not, only is Jesus the wisdom of God, but Jesus “became to us the wisdom from God,” according to 1 Corinthians 1:30.
In Colossians 2:2-3, Paul said that he struggled so that we would “reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Solomon may have been wise, but Jesus is greater because he was God’s mystery that contained all the treasures of wisdom, which only began to be revealed after his crucifixion.
A GREATER HOUSE THAT HE HAD BUILT
Solomon built a temple for the Lord. But, Jesus is building an even greater house for God than Solomon built.
Hebrews 3:6 says, “Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house.”
And, 1 Peter 2:5 says, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house.” As God’s house, we are his temple. Therefore, 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” Jesus is building the greater house, the greater temple, that is the church.
But, what is one of the purposes of the church?
The greater house that Jesus is building is to make known the one greater than Solomon, Jesus, who has greater wisdom than Solomon.
Ephesians 3:8-11 says, “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, we are the greater house that Jesus is building to make known the manifold wisdom of God, Jesus.
A GREATER FOOD OF HIS TABLE
Bread was the food that was on the table in Solomon’s table. But, Jesus is the bread of life.
John 6:48-50 says, “I am the bread of life. your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Jesus’ body, his flesh, is the bread that was broken when he laid down his life for us on the cross. This is how we know love. But, in John 14:12, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these he will do, because I am going to the Father.” The great works that we do encompass loving as Jesus loved. Therefore, 1 John 4:10-11 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” So, by loving as Jesus loved, laying down our lives, we can do greater works and become the food on his table.
However, in Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Christ spoke the words of God from his mouth. And, we are to preach Christ so that others can hear and come to faith. Further, Colossians 1:28 says, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” And, Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.”
So, we are the greater food on Jesus’ table when we love as he loved and proclaim him who is the wisdom of God.
A GREATER SEATING OF HIS OFFICIALS
Solomon arranged the seating of his officials in a way that showed his wisdom to the queen of Sheba. But, Jesus has an even greater seating of his servants.
In 1 Kings 10:5, the Hebrew word for officials is translated servants almost 90 percent of the time. And, the next most likely translation is slaves.
1 Peter 2:16 says, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” We are to be servants of Jesus. Also, Paul says in Romans 6:18, 19 that we have become slaves of righteousness and in Romans 6:22 that we have become slaves of God.
So, as servants and slaves of Jesus and God, where is our greater seating?
Ephesians 2:6 says that God “seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 3:1-2 says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.”
Remember, Christ is the wisdom of God. We are seated with wisdom, and we set our minds on Christ, the wisdom from above. Therefore, James 3:13, 17 says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom…But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
So, as the greater seating of his servants, we are in the wisdom from above, Jesus, to show our works in the meekness of wisdom.
A GREATER ATTENDANCE OF HIS SERVANTS
This greater than is very similar to the previous one as it is still talking about the servants of Jesus. We saw above that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places. But, Ephesians 2:22, “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
So, it’s from this place that we walk in the Spirit. Colossians 4:5 says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”
Therefore, we are the greater attendance of his servants that walk wisdom toward outsiders.
We can continue to see that we are the greater clothing, bearing the righteousness of Christ, the greater cupbearers, sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings exemplified by his drinking from the cup in the garden, and the greater burnt offerings, offerings our bodies as a living sacrifice to show what is the good, perfect, and acceptable will of God.
As the queen of Sheba had her breath taken away, in other words her questions stopped, by Solomon’s wisdom that she saw in all these things, so to do men and women stop their questions when the Jesus, the wisdom of God, the greater than Solomon, is displayed in us who a greater than all the things that displayed Solomon’s wisdom.