(this is a re-post of a previous entry)
I am by no means a theologian and if you asked me to explain to you the difference between typology and allegory I could not. I want to take a few minutes to consider the story of the Queen of Sheba, whether or not this story is typological or allegorical I think is somewhat irrelevant. The lessons it contains are important ones. It is found in 1Kings 10 and 2 Chronicles 9 they are almost the same word for word but there is one phrase that is different in Chronicles that I think is important so that is the version I like to use.
I think that possibly the most important lesson as it pertains to our saving relationship with Christ is found in the very first sentence of the first verse of chapter 9, it says, that when she heard she came. This is the heart of the Gospel coming to the King. But I think it is important to consider how she came. Transportation was a little slower than it is now so in order for her to come to the king it meant she had to leave her kingdom and travel 6 months across the desert one way so that means that all told she would spend a year just traveling to and from Jerusalem not including her time in Jerusalem so all told she was gone possible 2 years. She left the comfort of the world she knew, her palaces and her luxury and went to see if this King had something better for her. I think this is where we often go wrong in our experience with Jesus we act like He should come to us. But He said “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me.” And in Jeremiah 29:13, 14 it says that “you seek for me and find me when you search for me with all of your heart. I will be found by you declares the Lord.” You see we have to go to God and it cannot be a half hearted effort that means it may be a little difficult at times but the promise is that we will find what we are looking for. Do you think it was hard for the Queen to decide to leave her kingdom and sit on a camel in the hot desert for 6 months to be a stranger for another 6-12 months then to get back on her camel for another 6 months? In her palace she had all the worldly comfort she could ever want, why then should she subject herself to this hardship? For most of us we have a pretty cush life even if we are not rich we can eat whatever we want we have all the clothes we want , we can go where we want, do what we want, whenever we want. And when that doesn’t get us where we want to be our natural inclination when we feel the drawing of the Holy Spirit is to expect God to come to us and make us happy where we are at. But this is not the way it works. If the way things were was good enough then why are you looking for a change in the first place? It takes some sacrifice to find what you are looking for when you come to see the king. That sacrifice is different for everyone there were many people who did not have to make the same sacrifice as the Queen to come see the King.
In an effort to make Christianity seem more appealing I think that some well meaning ministers have tried to make it appear that you don’t have to sacrifice to come to Christ. They point to the sayings of Jesus and Paul and John as evidence that Jesus wants your life to continue on with little interruption when you come to him and in some cases they say that He will only make you comfortable. And it is true there are many promises of the blessings of Christ found in the New Testament and some would argue that these promises of peace and rest and comfort are temporal worldly blessings that we should expect here on earth. But consider the lives of the men who made these statements. What worldly advantage did Jesus have was he rich? No. Did He have Peace in this world? No, He had peace in his heart. Did he have rest in His day to day life? No, His was a life of sacrifice for others, putting their needs before His own. And think of Paul before Christ he had power and wealth and status but after the Damascus road he forsook it all and his live was a life lived in privation and in want of worldly comfort. And John’s story is much the same. Now of all the Christians who have ever lived Paul and John would have to be considered the cream of the crop, if their lives were one’s of sacrifice who are we to think that we deserve better then they? I wrestle with this thought a lot but lets move on to the promise that concludes this story.
When the Queen came she brought with her gifts for the King. As she dwelt with the king she saw that the life that He had and the life of His servants was a life that she desired. As she left the King He gave her gifts to take with her. In verse 12 it says that the King gave her much more then she brought to Him. Now I find it interesting that the queen brought gold and jewels and spices, but it doesn’t say that those are the type of things that the King gave to her. It says that He gave her all that she desired and much more. What did she come desiring? Knowledge, but she received much more then knowledge. Could it be that she received love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness? Could it be that she left echoing the words of Paul when he said “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…”
I know that this is a struggle for me and it is my prayer that my life might represent my faith in the promise of Christ, that He came that I might have life and have it more abundantly and that I will be satisfied with his definition of abundant life.