Foreign Relations

by Carolyn Hope

When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, which brought honor to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. … When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind. Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. … Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. … King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for, besides all the customary gifts he had so generously given. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land. (1 Kings 10:1-3, 10, 13)

Solomon’s reputation and renown were worldwide. The queen of Sheba heard of his greatness, and I imagine she was skeptical. She came to test him, to see if what was spoken of Solomon was really true. He was able to answer every question and meet every issue she proposed.

What I’d like to focus on in this encounter is the peaceful generosity of both parties. There are many examples of wars and hostility among the nations, both in Scripture and in history. Here we find an interaction that was peaceful and kind. The queen of Sheba gave to Solomon; Solomon gave to her; and back and forth they went. Both powers left the exchange satisfied and blessed. They were better off than when they started, for they were both generous and willing to share not only riches but knowledge and experiences as well.

This is a great picture for us in how we should interact internationally. When encountering people radically different than yourself, choose to be kind. Choose to be generous. Share yourself with them, be gracious to them, and give. Be open and receptive to their questions and queries. Listen to others’ honesty without being offended. As we learn to be mutually kind and open ourselves up to each other, we’ll find a wealth greater than anything we’ve ever known. There’s a beauty in sharing our lives with others and a joy in hearing of theirs. Don’t be afraid to give yourself away; you won’t leave empty or dissatisfied.

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Extras: Shepherds

by Carolyn Hope

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people …” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:8-10, 16-18)

An ordinary night became an encounter.

The shepherds were caring for their sheep, like any other night. They had no idea that it was the fated night of the Savior’s birth. Then in one moment, everything changed. Normal became extraordinary, and what was a typical work night became an unforgettable evening that the world would marvel about for ages to come.

It’s so very sweet of our King to share the good news of Jesus’ coming first with shepherds. They were common, unimpressive, dirty, and looked down upon. God, in His incredible way, took the outcasts and the lowliest of society and made them the heralds to announce the coming of a new king!

I want to encourage you to be expectant. You might have woken up today like any other day, but today could be a day of life-changing encounter. Every day is full of beautiful potential and is tingling with destiny. Today could be the day where the miracle comes. Today could be the day when God calls you to something new. Today could be the day when revelation washes over your heart. Today could be the day …

No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what others think of you, God has a plan and purpose for you. His dream for your life is far greater than you can understand, and it will blow your mind to see where He takes you. Do not discount yourself because of your background, your status, or your past. Jesus loves you immeasurably, and He wants to do amazing exploits in the earth through you.

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