Today's devotion from 1 Kings 10.
When the queen of Sheba heard the outrageous reports coming out of Israel, she had to make the journey to see if they could possibly be true. What she found, quite literally, left her breathless. When she witnessed the opulence of his court, she said, "The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. But I didn’t believe the reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half. Your wisdom and prosperity far exceed the report I heard." (vss.6-7)
What is interesting to me is the importance of perspective. When she experienced his wealth, one of the things that amazed her was the joy of the people. She said, "How happy are your men. How happy are these servants of yours, who always stand in your presence hearing your wisdom." (vs. 8) Of course the people were happy. Look at the wealth and luxury that surrounded them. This whole chapter is one big list of excesses enjoyed by the people. Gold from here. Luxury woods from there. So much wealth that it is hammered and used as decoration. The world was at their feet.
However, looking from our perspective we see the danger that lurks just in the shadows. While chapter 10 begins with the admission that Solomon's fame was "concerning the name of the LORD," can we really be surprised when chapter 11 divulges that Solomon's heart turns from God? Again, remembering the prophetic words before the monarchy was established, we recall the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 17:16-18.
He was warned not to look to Egypt, yet he aligned himself by marriage and horses. Did you catch what verses 28 and 29 said? Just as no one considered silver, apparently no one thought much about the disobedient relationship with Egypt.
This one chapter reveals the slippery slope upon which Solomon was administering his kingdom. Again, think about perspective. We might read about the gold and horses, fame and opulence, and see indescribable blessing. Maybe what we should really see the foreshadowing of downfall. It's all in the perspective. Kind of makes you wonder about your perspective on your own life. Maybe what we think is good is actually bad for us?