On verses 1-12: These verses describe Solomon’s interactions with the Queen of Sheba when she came to visit Solomon in Jerusalem. While the Queen of Sheba had heard great things about Solomon’s wisdom, when she visits Solomon she is blown away (verse 4 says “overwhelmed”) by his wisdom, the palace he built, the kind of food served at Solomon’s table, the way is officials, servants and cupbearers served, and the sacrifices given at the temple. In fact a running theme in this chapter is that in Solomon’s kingdom people experienced things they had never seen before. For example:
The Queen of Sheba is blown away by Solomon’s wisdom and the administration of his kingdom
The Queen of Sheba brings an overwhelmingly large number of gifts, including spices that the people of Jerusalem had never seen before (v9)
The use of algumwood from King Hiram to make steps for the temple and the royal palace and to make musical instruments for the temple, such that “nothing like them had ever been seen in Judah” (v11).
Like Solomon’s kingdom as described in 2 Chronicles 9:1-12, I believe the church was meant to have a “blow away” factor, where people who have never been to church before come to church and are blown away by the love they feel, the excellence they see, the wisdom they hear, the joy they sense in the people and by the presence of God. Everything from how visitors are welcomed, to the way the facilities are set up, to the quality of artistry and the depth of passion we bring when we worship God, to the relevance and insight of the sermons, to the excellence of our on stage and on screen presentations, to how proactive and thoughtful every serving team in the church is, to the generosity of the people in giving – that in every detail there is a wow factor. The goal is that people would walk away from our church service thinking, “I never knew church could be like this”. Or, as Jacob would say, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God! This is the gate of heaven!” (Genesis 28:17) Or, as the Queen of Sheba experienced, that people would walk away from a church service having given their very best and yet receiving even more (v12) and praising God (v8).
That is what I believe church is meant to be, a taste of heaven on earth. At THRIVE Church we make it our goal to bring this kind of excellence every week with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your vision of a truly excellent church, where like Solomon’s kingdom, everything we do is done with excellence and thoughtfulness. I pray that everyone reading this GAME sharing would have that same vision whenever they serve at church in whatever capacity they serve in: that each time we serve we are working with the Holy Spirit to build an amazing house of God, where people like the Queen of Sheba who were not born into Your kingdom are blown away by what they experience and praise God as a result. Use us to build an excellent church for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!