«Sermon #3351 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1 THE QUEEN OF SHEBA NO. 3351 A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 1913, DELIVERED BY C. H. ...»
Sermon #3351 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 1
THE QUEEN OF SHEBA
PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 1913,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON,ON LORD’S-DAY EVENING, DECEMBER 8, 1867.
“The Queen of the South shall rise up in 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, a greater than Solomon is here.” Matthew 12:42.
OUR LORD, on this occasion, was addressing a number of captious critics who, instead of listening to what He said and giving it the attention due to its own weight, said, “Show us a sign.” Our Lord replies to them that He will give them no sign except the two signs of Jonah and of the Queen of the South. The first was very much to the point. Jonah, a lone man, working no miracle, went to Nineveh, a great city, where he was completely unknown. There he commenced to preach. The whole subject of his testimony was, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Through the broad streets of that gigantic city and through its lanes and alleys, in its public squares the voice was heard, sharp and shrill, of that lone man—“Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” No rod was turned into a serpent.
No mountains were made to smoke. None were struck dead by the sudden hand of God. No paralytics and sick folk were healed. No signs were given to the men of Nineveh, but the declaration of that one man sent of God was sufficient to denounce and discover their sin! They felt that they had been guilty of sins that deserved to be denounced. He pronounced their punishment and they also felt that the punishment was well deserved and, therefore, from the king on the throne to the meanest of the citizens, all the inhabitants of that great city humbled themselves and Jonah’s work was done! And God forgave the city. And the Lord Jesus seemed to say, “I also speak to you and tell you truths of God which ought to have as much power upon your consciences as Jonah’s testimony had upon the men of Nineveh, but you turn away, albeit that I speak truth which you cannot answer, and tell you things which you cannot meet nor deny. Yet you say, ‘Show us a sign,’ fools that you are! There shall no sign be given you except the sign of Jonah, the prophet.” The second sign was also quite as much to the point. It was the case of the Queen of Sheba. She had heard, by report, that Solomon was the wisest of men. She knew that men flocked to his court to be instructed from his lips. Under many disadvantages and at much expense, she set out upon a long journey that she might listen to the wise man’s teaching. She found it to her benefit and returned with joy. “But”—Christ seems to say, “I am as wise as Solomon. I am able to instruct you as well as that monarch instructed those who came to his court and yet you show no eager desire to know what it is I teach! You are not willing to open your ears to receive, nor your minds to give a candid judgment upon what I utter, but you cry out at once, ‘Show us a sign.’ You would open your eyes and stare in vacant wonder at a miracle, but the mightiest wisdom that I can deliver to you, you tread under foot as swine tread under feet the choicest pearls.” So Christ would give them no sign. He felt that they needed it not and, indeed, it would be wasted upon them. If they had possessed the same naive mind that was found in the Queen of the South, they would have listened to Him. And if they had been of the same honest spirit with the men of Nineveh, they would have repented upon His testimony, even as they did of old, who heard the prophetic voice of Jonah!
Ah, my dear hearers, this very night the same spirit broods over thousands! They do not, when they go to hear a sermon, think of the matter of what they hear, but they must have it delivered with cleverness, with refined speech, with polished periods. Ah, if men were wise, they would care but little how these truths of God were given to them, but they would weigh the truths themselves! We do not Volume 59 www.spurgeongems.org 1 2 The Queen of Sheba Sermon #3351 claim that you should believe all that we say—if we speak anything contrary to God’s Word, we charge you to reject what we say, but we do ask you to judge it, to weigh it and to let the important truths which we are charged by God to deliver to you, have a place in your attention—let them exercise your judgment, let them move your heart and will—let them influence your lives!
Coming now, however, at once to the text, we shall notice, in the first place, that Jesus is “greater than Solomon”; in the second place, that Jesus “is here”; and in the third place, that if we do not listen to Him and obey Him, the Queen of the South may well rise up to condemn us.
These things, I think, are very evidently in the text. In the first place, then, in the text—
I. OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST CLAIMS TO BE “GREATER THAN SOLOMON.”You all know the history of Solomon. Solomon was great in several particulars and we shall point out to you that in each of these, Christ is greater than he.
In the first place, Solomon was very great as a ruler. His father, David, had, by much perseverance, valor and industry, very much enlarged the boundaries of his once small dominion. He was a man of war and he left to Solomon a heritage, indeed—a well-filled treasury and an army of veterans. Solomon ruled over the whole of Israel. There seems to have been no disloyal rebellion, no revolt throughout the whole of his reign. In David’s reign there were many rivals and the people were a restless, discontented, turbulent people. No people, perhaps, were more difficult to govern than the Jewish people in the days of David! But Solomon was so judicious, noble and just a ruler, that he left the whole nation at peace with itself.
He was a monarch whom all respected and Solomon, too, in his time, enlarged the boundaries of his territory until it reached to the borders of Egypt and to the river Euphrates on the other side. They that dwelt in the wilderness “bowed before him and his enemies licked the dust.” Many nations paid him tribute and all the strangers who remained in the land, whom the children of Israel did not destroy, did him service. He had dominion from sea to sea and, to use an Oriental extravagance of expression, “from the river even unto the end of the earth.” Solomon had a kingdom from his father and with it a special divine blessing—the gift of wisdom which enabled him to rule well. His army was one of the largest of the various armies of the Oriental kings. He ruled with wonderful state. The throne which he had built for himself is said to have had none like it in the whole of the then known world. His treasury was filled so full that as for silver, it was accounted for nothing. He made gold to be as silver, and silver as stones in Jerusalem! He was the greatest monarch that Israel had ever seen!
And yet, dear friends, what a petty, little king he was, and when we compare him for a single moment with our Lord Jesus Christ, what a contrast there is! All the power of Solomon is gone and not a speck of it is left. He had dominion in his day over vast numbers of humankind, but he has no dominion now. But the throne of the man who was crucified on Calvary has power over tens of thousands of human hearts at this present moment. Lo, these 1,800 years Christ has reigned over multitudes who have been all too glad to kiss His feet and have rejoiced in the light of His countenance! His kingdom, instead of waning, has continually increased and the day shall come when all kings shall yield their scepters to Him and He shall gather sheaves of them beneath His arm when all monarchs shall doff their diadems and He, alone, shall reign King of kings and Lord of lords—the universal head of the great monarchy— the stone cut out of the mountain without hands which shall yet fill all the earth! The power of the Lord Jesus Christ over His church is like the power of Solomon over Israel. He keeps it at one, and together!
Apart from Christ, the church is a broken thing, divided into sects and parties, but in Christ Jesus, the Savior’s prayer is answered, “That they all may be one.” Bring any one of us to the cross and you shall not know this from that, for there we all agree to trust Him, to worship Him, to count His authority to be paramount and His example to be our pattern! Yes, Lord Jesus Christ, all Your children praise You! All those that are of Your household put the crown upon Your head. You rule in the household and You rule well, You “first-born among many brethren.” Moreover, our Lord’s dominion extends beyond His church. He rules even to the river of Egypt. Know you not that Christ is Lord paramount over providence? Nothing occurs without Jehovah-Jesus’ purpose, decree, or permission! The very hairs of your head are all numbered— “He overrules all mortal things, 2 www.spurgeongems.org Volume 59 Sermon #3351 The Queen of Sheba 3 And manages our mean affairs.” Nor is this all. The Lord Jesus has the government upon His shoulders—and that government extends not only to earth, but to heaven and hell— “Lo! In His hands, the sovereign keys Of heaven, and death, and hell.” The power of Christ is felt beneath hell’s most profound wave and His glory is sung on heaven’s most starry heights! He has put all things under His feet. He is exalted far above all principalities and powers, and every name that is named, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things that are under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, has a dominion which, for duration and for extent, is infinitely superior to anything of which Solomon ever conceived! And as for majesty and glory—talk not of the peacock—throne of the Great Mogul, all set with many colors and with gems and precious stones that shine resplendent like a rainbow in the glittering sun! There is no throne like unto the throne of Jesus, the emperor of all worlds! See before Him the sea of glass mingled with fire.
Around Him stand His seraphic courtiers. There stand the elders with their “vials full of sweet odors.” And as you listen you can hear their “harps of sweeter sound.” And mark you not the countless hosts who all cast their crowns before Him and, with one soul and voice, cry, “You are worthy to take the book and to loose the seals thereof, for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood”?
Oh, cannot your ears hear this very moment the mighty booms of that great sea of music which rolls up to the throne of Jesus? Can you not catch some stray notes from the harps of angels and archangels, as unceasingly they sing, “You are worthy! You are worthy to take the book and to loose the seals thereof”? Beloved, we cannot think of comparing Christ with Solomon, but we must contrast them, for a “greater than Solomon is here, as a ruler.” Let us learn from this the obvious lesson of practical value and wisdom. If, from the far-off South, the Queen of Sheba came to see Solomon, how wise will it be for us to come to see Jesus! Oh, that we would do so and make Him our King! Let us enlist in His warrior bands. None ever served so great a master! Let us be members of His household, for happy are they that stand continually in His presence.
Let us give over our enmity and cast down the weapons of our rebellion! And let us say by grace — “Oh, King of grace, my heart subdue— I would be led in triumph, too, A willing captive to my Lord, To sing the triumphs of His Word,” Solomon was great as a builder. For this, perhaps, he is best known among us. ‘Twas a mighty deed to bring the towering cedars of Lebanon, all fashioned and prepared, to Jerusalem to make a house for the Lord—to hew from the quarries in the mountains, great stones and goodly ones, all squared, and each one fitted and made ready for its place so that there might be no sound of hammer, nor lifting up of chisel in the building of the house. Happy were the eyes that looked upon the temple of Solomon! Even at this very day, when the explorers come upon what they suppose to be the temple, they are astounded at the masses of stone which they find there! Our Lord said that one stone should not be left upon another, but that all should be cast down—but even as they lie in the places where they were cast down—they are amazing! Even modern engineers have marveled how they could ever have been brought and put into their places—they are of such enormous size and yet so well squared and prepared for the building! Besides this, Solomon built a house of the forest of Lebanon, of which we have a descriptive account in the pages of inspiration and which also seems to have been a marvelous work. In addition to that, he was great in the erection of works for the carrying of water. He made pools in Zion— the upper and the nether pools. He seems to have carried aqueducts where they were never heard of before his time, and it is possible that many of the great discoveries of modern days were well known to Solomon, even all those years ago. He seems to have built an ascent to the house of the Lord, which particularly struck the Queen of Sheba as being a most wonderful piece of masonry. Besides this, he was the builder of treasure cities. He also built Gezer, Bethhoron, Baalath, Tadmor in the wilderness, and so Volume 59 www.spurgeongems.org 3 4 The Queen of Sheba Sermon #3351 on. Solomon was a great master builder—none could excel him as a piler of huge stones, one upon another.