The Queen of the South and the Men of Nineveh

“The Queen of the South will rise up in judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.  The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for the repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.”  (Luke 11:31, 32).

1.  The Effort of the Queen…

  Many scholars inform us that Sheba was more than 1000 miles away from Jerusalem.  It must have been a great distance, because Luke 11:31 says that she came from the “ends of the earth”.  She travelled that great distance to hear the wisdom of Solomon.  Yet, how many in this generation fail to even lift the Bible off the coffee table to feed daily from the wisdom of God?  How many in this generation use the excuse, “It’s just too much trouble to go to worship services today?”

2.  The Test of the Queen…

She had heard of Solomon’s wisdom as his fame spread (1 Kings 10:1-3 cf. 1 Kings 9:25-28; 10:22-25).  But she did not blindly accept what others told her.  She tested him, “with hard questions” (1 Kings 10:1).  She came away impressed, saying, “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.  However, I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes: and indeed the half was not told me.  Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard” (1 Kings 10:6-7).  Yet, how many of this generation are happy to accept what another says concerning a religious matter without investigation?  The Bible says, “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  It warns, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).  We should be as those Bereans who, “received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these thing were so” (Acts 17:11).

3.  The Change of the People of Nineveh…

They repented (Luke 11:31).  It should be understood that repentance produces a change of behavior.  Consider what it says occurred in Nineveh, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.  Then the word came to the King of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.  And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, ‘let neither man nor beast, heard or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water.  But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands'”(Jonah 3:5-8).  Then, we’re told, “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that he said he would bring upon them and did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).  Luke’s account calls this repentance!

4.  The Reception of the Message Despite the Messenger…

They “repented at (eis – literally ‘into’) the preaching of Jonah.”  (Luke 11:32).  The meaning is that they conformed themselves to what Jonah preached.  Now get this, Jonah hated them.  He did not want to preach to them (Jonah 1:1-3).  He did not want them to be saved (Jonah 4:1-3).  Even so, they were honest enough – that when they heard the truth, they were ready to accept it as truth, without regard to who said it.  Yet, how many of this generation allow some perceived ‘ungodly’ or ‘unkind’  preacher to cause them to reject God’s truth?   Alas, some reject the message due to the messenger.  How many have said, “I’ll never come back because the preacher did not shake my hand?”  Such likely was an oversight.  This article is not to excuse rude behavior or bad attitudes… but the excuses of some!  The good and honest heart will accept the truth regardless of who the messenger happens to be (Even if he be Jonah).

These two examples should serve to remind us of the love we should have for the truth (Romans 15:4). Remember,  It is the truth and only the truth that will make us free (John 8:32).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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