The Queen of Sheba, otherwise known as Makeda, makes her debut in the Bible in 1st Kings 10:1-13. The story of her visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem, from her ancient Ethiopian Kingdom, is then documented again in 2nd Chronicles 9:1-12. A highly successful monarch in her own right, there is much insight and wisdom to be gained from this great woman of the Bible regarding how to go about building positive relationships. Want to listen to this devotional rather than read it? No problem, simply press play on the audio below. Feel free to download also:
King Solomon was the second son born to King David and Bathsheba, after the death of their first (2nd Samuel 12:18 and 24). Once he was chosen by God to be anointed as king, he is most well-known for asking God for the wisdom needed to carry out this responsibility in excellence. As a result of God blessing him with such wisdom, Solomon was able to both judge and solve disputes amongst his people. His wisdom also enabled him to accumulate great wealth, the fame of which spread to other kingdoms. This included The Queen of Sheba’s kingdom in ancient Ethiopia and caused her to visit him in his Palace in Jerusalem (1st Kings 10:1).
The Bible goes into great detail about how the queen travelled and the gifts that she brought along with her for Solomon, making it very clear that she also had a very prosperous kingdom. The Bible also gives us insight into her character for, although she had heard about Solomon’s wisdom and the abundance of his wealth, she did not take him at face value. In fact, she reserved her judgement of him until she had seen his wealth and tested his wisdom for herself with hard questions or riddles. Only once she was satisfied that “it was a true report which [she] heard in [her] own land about [his] words and [his] wisdom…” did she actually gift him with the goods that she had brought and allow him to reciprocate (1st Kings 10: 4-13). Thus began a mutually beneficial relationship, the nature of which people still speculate about up till now.
There are many lessons to be gained from this event in The Queen of Sheba’s life. The first is the importance of “testing the spirit”. I once heard Cindy Trimm (prophetess, entrepreneur and prolific preacher) say that our lives rise and fall in line with the quality of our relationships. Makeda clearly understood this, which is why she sought to establish an alliance with Solomon in the first place. She also clearly had a standard regarding the type of person she would want to be associated with, hence her discussion and careful examination of him and his kingdom.
The second lesson to be taken from Makeda is the art of not taking people at face value, whether that be on the basis of their self-reports or the reputation that they have garnered from other people. Matthew 7:16 and 20 both highlight the fact that we will know people “by their fruits”. In other words, we are best able to know what a person stands for through watching their actions. However, we will never really be able to see a person’s fruits in this respect unless we do what our spiritual mother did and spend time with them, allowing us to observe them and ask the questions that are important to us. Only then can we get an accurate assessment of a person’s character or “fruit”.
The importance of testing the spirit and examining the fruit should be done in acknowledgement of the fact that God has made us stewards of the things that He has given us as gifts. This includes our talents, money and jobs (as we are traditionally taught) but also extends to things like our time, emotional energy, health and overall well-being (for how can we carry out our God-given purposes if these things are not also intact?). Therefore, Matthew 7:6 warns us not to “give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast [our] pearls before swine”. This is something that The Queen of Sheba demonstrated, as previously mentioned, given that she did not share any of her gifts with Solomon or attempt to strike a closer relationship with him until she was satisfied that he deserved them.
What about you, lovely? What are your standards when it comes to forming relationships? Are your relationships mutually beneficial like King Solomon and Queen Makeda’s was? If not, consider the following questions to help you form better relationships in future:
- Which of the three lessons detailed above do you already do well?
- Which ones need to be developed further?
- How will you go about improving these?
Remember, your life will rise and fall in line with the quality of your relationships. Choose wisely. Want to know how?