I have forgotten to give my background in many stories. The many times that I am re-reading through the Bible, I have had exposure to these stories several times over in my lifetime. My grandmother was a preacher’s wife. So many of these stories that I am reading in the Bible I have experienced through word, song, and text hundreds of times. I forget that sometimes this may be the first time many of the readers have access to the stories.
The passages that we have today actually complement each other so well. The stories in the passage that we recount today are the one with Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, in both Kings and the Chronicles, and Paul’s letter to Timothy.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
Yesterday, after church, I was sitting with my children and recalling “The Big Idea”. It is really interesting how they are able to understand and receive understanding about the Bible and about the different miracles that are happening in the Bible. But one question I asked was “do you know who King Solomon and King David were?“ And to my surprise, they did not know.
In Kings and the Chronicles, we are given a glimpse into the power and the magnitude of King Solomon and his wealth. We are also given a glimpse into how others can influence us or be detrimental to us. In the first part of both of these passages King Solomon is introduced to the Queen of Sheba. The Queen of Sheba is a well-known and very influential person in the historical biblical setting. She is also very wise, similar to that of king Solomon. In both of these accounts, she gives praise to God for the wisdom He has given to Solomon, and for the bounty and the abundance that Solomon has been given. Then the Queen of Sheba returns to her home and kingdom.
For many years that I have read this, I assumed that Solomon and Sheba were married, but they were just great friends, and held each other up to a higher standard. These are the people that we need to have in our lives. Ones who are there to acknowledge what we have done, but also to give us support to grow stronger in our faith and in our life.
In each of these passages in Kings and Chronicles, after the Queen of Sheba leaves, Solomon does not find contentment in what he has.
“Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land.”
To put this in perspective, a talent of gold was roughly 75lbs, so approximately 4,950 lbs of gold per year, not including other gold that he received. This is calculated at $112,988,904 per year. Solomon reigned for 40 years, which would have been equivalent wealth minimum of $4,519,000,000. This can easily be calculated to be more than any person before or after accounting for the conversion factors.
But even with all of the wealth and wisdom of God, Solomon allows others to influence him and to change his heart. His relationship with God decreases as he gives his heart to other gods. How many times have we given our thoughts and energy to other gods(health, goods, status, fame, and time)?
Being content is not about having things, but having a relationship with God who provides the things that we are in need and some of the desire of our hearts. Contentment is about the relationship with God. King David understood this… “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
God wants us to be content. God wants us to have the desires of the heart. But he also wants our relationship with him. Where we continually work on our relationship with him, we will find our contentment. There’s no amount of wealth of wisdom that can replace God’s connection and God‘s relationship with us. We have to renew our relationship with Him daily. It’s not a one and done. It’s a continual commitment even through the highs and lows that we connect with God. When we do that we are truly content.