‘And King Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty.’—I Kings X. 13.
ALL God’s goodness to us is humbling. The more He does for us, the more ready we are to say, ‘I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant.’1 The weight of a great answer to prayer seems almost too much for us.’ The grace of it is ‘ too wonderful ” for us. It throws up in such startling relief the disproportion between our little, poor, feeble cry, and the great shining response of God’s heart and hand, that we can only say: * Who am I, O Lord God, that Thou hast brought me hitherto? Is this the manner of man, O Lord God ? ‘* But it is more humbling still, when we stand face to face with great things which the Lord hath done for us and given us,5 which we never asked at all,8 never even thought of asking—royal bounty, with which not even a prayer had to do. It is so humbling
1 G«n. xxxti. 10. * Luke v. 8, 9. * Job xlii. 3.
* 2 Sam. vit. 18. * Fs. cxxvi. 3. • 1 Kings iii. 13.
to get a view of these, that Satan tries to set up a false humility to hinder us from standing still and considering how great things the Lord hath done for us ;x thus he also contrives to defraud our generous God of the glory due unto His name.8
For, of course, we do not praise for what we will not recognize.
Let us try to baffle this device to-day, and give thanks for the overwhelming mercies’ for which we never asked. ‘Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.’ * Just think of them deliberately (they are far too many to think of all in a flash); and how many did we actually ask for? Even that poor little claim was never brought to bear on thousands of them.
5 To begin at the beginning, we certainly did not ask Him to choose us in Christ Jesus before the world began,8 and to predestinate us to be conformed to the image of His Son.7 Was not that ‘royal bounty’ indeed?
Then, we certainly did not ask Him to call us by His grace ;8 for before that call, we could not have wished, much less asked, for it.” Then, who taught us to pray,10 and put into our entirely corrupt and sinful hearts11 any thought of asking Him for anything at all?” Was not all this ‘royal bounty?’
Look back at our early prayers. Has He not more than granted them? did we even know how much He could do for us? did He not answer prayer
1 I Sam. xii. 7, 24. 2 Ps.xxix. 2. s isa. Ixiii. 7.
4 Ps. Ixviii. 19 ; ib. ciii. 2. 62 Thess. ii. 13. « Eph. i. 4.
T Rom. viii. 29. 82 Tim. i. 9. 9 Rom. i. 6.
W Luke xi. i. ” Job xxxvii. 19. ” Rom. viii. 26.
by opening out new vistas of prayer before us, giving us grace to ask for more grace, faith to plead for more faith?1 Why, it is all ‘royal bounty’ from beginning to end! And this is going on now, and will go on forever, when He has brought us with gladness and rejoicing into His own palace.* Not till then shall we understand about those riches of glory in Christ Jesus,3 out of which He is even now pouring out the supply of all our need.
The marginal reading is very beautiful; it is, ‘that which he gave her according to the hand of King Solomon.’ We may link this with David’s grateful words: ‘According to Thine own heart hast Thou done all these great things; ‘* and again: ‘Thou hast dealt well with Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word.”‘ His hand, His heart, His word—what an immeasurable measure of His bounty! The great hand that holds the ocean in its hollow6is opened to satisfy our desire,7and to go beyond that exceeding abundantly,* giving us according to the heart that ‘so loved the world,” and according to the wordTM which is so deep and full that all the saints that ever drew their hope and joy from it cannot fathom its ever upspringing fountain.
Perhaps nobody knows the Bible well enough to know the full significance of saying, ‘Be it unto me according to Thy word;'” how much less can we imagine what shall be the yet unrevealed royal bounty according to His heart of infinite love and
* John i. 16 ; Rom. i. 17 ; Luke xvii. 5. 2 pg, xlv. 15.
8 Phil. iv. 19. * 2 Sam. vii. 21. ^ Ps. cxix. 65.
8 Isa. xl. 12. 7 Ps. cxlv. 16. 8 Eph. iii. 20,
‘ John iii. 16. ^0 John iv. 11, 14. ” Luke i. 38.
hand of infinite power !’ What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.’1 ‘And ye shall … be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you.”
When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in gloIy,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe!
IJohnxiii. 7. Joel ii. 26.